Why Do AC Refrigerant Leaks Occur And What Are The Health Risks For Your Family?

Discover why AC leaks occur and their potential health risks. Learn how Sandium can help resolve HVAC unit leaking water and leaking air conditioner issues in no time!

Updated on Oct 22, 2023
5 min read
Why Do AC Refrigerant Leaks Occur And What Are The Health Risks For Your Family?

Refrigerant leak is an issue that can not only affect the efficiency of your air conditioner, but also pose a risk to your health and wellbeing in your Bay Area home or business. Refrigerant leaks can happen at any point during the cooling process and can be caused by a number of reasons. In this blog, we will take a look at the common causes of refrigerant leaks and the health risks it can pose to you and your family.

Common Causes of AC Refrigerant Leaks


Your air conditioner has several metal components, which can corrode over time due to the buildup of formaldehyde, which can turn into formic acid and eat away at the metal. It can cause cracks and holes to form in the copper tube walls and result in a refrigerant leak.

Improper Installation

If the components in your air conditioner are not fitted properly, it can cause the refrigerant to escape during the cooling process.

Wear and Tear

Over time, the components in your air conditioner can wear out and break down, which can cause the refrigerant to leak.


If the rubber in any of the components breaks down, it can lead to a moisture buildup within the system. The mixture of moisture and refrigerant can cause the components in your AC to break down, which in turn can result in a refrigerant leak.

Physical Damage

Physical damage to your AC can cause one or more of the components to break down, which can increase the risk of refrigerant leaks significantly.

Defective Parts

If one or more of the components in your AC are defective or damaged, the chances of a refrigerant leak are extremely high.

Health Risks Associated with AC Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerants contain a combination of different chemicals including chlorine, fluoride, carbon, hydrogen, bromine, and chloroflourocarbons. Exposure to these chemicals can affect your health significantly in the long term. Refrigerant exposure can be broadly classified into two types – acute and chronic. Acute exposure happens when you are suddenly exposed to a large amount of refrigerant in high concentrations. Chronic exposure, on the other hand, happens over a period of time, during which you might be exposure to small amounts of refrigerant on a regular basis. Depending on the toxicity of the compounds you are exposed to and their concentration, you might exhibit a number of symptoms including:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin irritation and rashes
  • Fainting
  • Burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Swelling in the sinuses and throat
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the vomit or stool

Constant exposure to refrigerants can weaken your immune system, affect your internal organs (your kidneys in particular), and lead to genetic damage and birth defects in the long term. It should be noted that some of the chemicals in refrigerants are flammable. If the leaking refrigerant comes into contact with a heat source, it can ignite and cause a serious explosion.

AC Refrigerant Leak – An Issue You Cannot Afford to Overlook

Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous and pose a serious risk to your health and safety if left unchecked. The best way to prevent refrigerant leaks is to have your AC inspected regularly by a trained HVAC technician.

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