Do Modern Fridges use Freon? - Kitchens Bible
do fridges use freon

Do Modern Fridges use Freon?

Refrigerators have become a significant part of every home today. A house without a fridge seems to be incomplete because of the functionalities of this household appliance. A refrigerator helps to preserve foods, vegetables, beverages, etc., and keep them fresh.

Refrigerators in the 20th century used Freon, which happened to be harmful to the ozone layer, having a global warming potential. If you are wondering, “do modern fridges use Freon?” No, they don’t. They now use HCF-134A.

One day, I tried to observe how an old refrigerator works compared to a modern refrigerator; I realized that a modern refrigerator runs better than the old counterpart. An expert technician helped me understand that a different kind of refrigerant was responsible for the capacity of the modern refrigerator.

I know you may be curiously asking, “Do fridges use Freon?”

This article unveils modern fridges and their refrigerant, whether they use Freon or some other refrigerant.


A refrigerator is a household appliance consisting of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump responsible for transferring heat from inside the fridge to its external environment to cool the inside to a temperature below the average room temperature.

The refrigerator’s low temperature prevents bacterias from reproduction, thereby ensuring that items placed inside the fridge are preserved from spoilage. The optimum temperature level for ensuring perishable food safety or preservation is 3 to 5 Degrees Celsius (37 to 41 Degrees Fahrenheit) 

Types of Modern Refrigerator

There are different types of refrigerators according to the needs of a buyer. Much newer modern fridges are available on the market. Some famous kinds of refrigerators are as follows:

  • Side-by-side refrigerator
  • French door refrigerator
  • Counter-depth refrigerator
  • Top-freezer refrigerator
  • Bottom-freezer refrigerator
  • Mini fridge

What is Refrigerator Freon?

Freon is responsible for sucking heat from the internal compartment of a refrigerator to the outside. So those items in the fridge are kept at the optimum temperature. A simple Freon leak can alter this cooling function.

Freon gas flows through the coils inside and outside your fridge, referred to as evaporator and condenser coil, respectively.

What are Refrigerants?

A refrigerant is a working fluid or liquid contained in coils, having high latent heat, and is responsible for absorbing and transferring heat from the internal compartment of a refrigerator to the external environment, thereby cooling inside the fridge. Commonly known as “Cooling Agent.”

Types of Refrigerant used in Refrigeration System

The following are some common types of refrigerants I know to be used in refrigerators.

  1. R-22 Chlorofluorocarbons: “R-22” is common in old generation refrigerators; however, it had global warming potential.
  1. R-134A Tetrafluoroethane: Modern fridges use this refrigerant; however, it is a greenhouse gas and will soon be depleted.
  1. R-438A Freon: This gas is a replacement for R-22 gas, and it is non-ozone deficient. It is used as a replacement for the toxic Freon during refrigerator repair.
  1. R-600A Iso Butane: This gas is flammable, and it is common in small modern refrigerators.

In the 20th century, the most common refrigerant was Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), commonly called Freon. Freon was Dupont’s brand name for a refrigerant “R-12”. By the 1990s and 2000s, hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) replaced the CFCs, and “R-22” became the most common HCFC. 

HCFCs are only slightly better than CFCs because they contain chlorine, which is harmful to the environment. To eradicate chlorine from the refrigerant, another set of refrigerants known as Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) was created by manufacturers. Although they still possessed the potential for global warming, they are better than CFCs because they do not deplete the ozone layer. A common HFC used in modern refrigerators is a refrigerant called R-134a.

The table below depicts the data for the global warming potential of different refrigerants.

RefrigerantGlobal Warming PotentialOzone Depletion Potential

Between the early 1800s and 1920, refrigerators only used toxic gases, a mixture of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon (Freon is a derivative).

Freon was discovered around the 1970s. It is responsible for the greenhouse effect when they escape into the atmosphere due to leakage.

However, to overcome this problem, refrigerant gases such as HCFC, which is a mixture of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon) and HFC (which is a mixture of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon) emerged. When they are released into the atmosphere, HCFC gases are short-lived, thereby having minimal impact on the ozone layer. While HCF gases do not contain chlorine, they have no harmful effect on the ozone layer and the environment.

Modern fridges no longer use Freon because of chlorine content that adversely affects the environment. But they now use a refrigerant called HCF-134a, which lacks chlorine and does not harmfully affect the environment.

You May Also Ask,

Is Freon still used in Fridges?

No. Refrigerators manufactured after 1994 most likely do not use Freon. They now use a refrigerant called HFC-134a, which is said to be more environmentally friendly.

How long does Freon last in a refrigerator?

Ideally, Freon lasts forever through the lifespan of your refrigerator. But if there are impairments in the coils on your refrigerator, leakage can occur.

How do you drain Freon from a Refrigerator?

I recommend that you use the following steps to drain Freon from your refrigerator:

Step 1: Set up the recovery system.

Step 2: Vacuum the recovery cylinder.

Step 3: Equalize the pressure.

Step 4: Start the recovery process.

Step 5: Monitor the entire recovery process.

Step 6: End the recovery process.

Perform the above process of draining Freon from a refrigerator with technical consciousness; otherwise, contact a professional to carry out the operations.

Will a Refrigerator work without Freon?

No. A refrigerator that uses Freon or any other refrigerant will not work effectively without the refrigerant. If there is any form of Freon leakage in the refrigeration system, the refrigerator will not cool anymore.

Final Thoughts

Modern fridges don’t use freon anymore. There are efficient and environment-friendly alternatives to them.

Beware of refrigerators that still use old “R-22” Freon. They can be disastrous, especially in the long run. The chlorine content can produce harmful effects in your environment because of its negative impact on the ozone layer, resulting in global warming.

R-600A seems to be the most appropriate refrigerant that does not harm the ozone layer and does not possess a significant level of global warming potential. I recommend that you go for a modern refrigerator that has the R-600A.

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