Commercial and residential refrigerators need freon to run. This substance runs through pipes in the fridge, and it absorbs heat and releases cold so that your refrigeration system runs properly. The freon exists in a closed loop, and in optimal running conditions, it never needs to be topped up or replaced. Sometimes, however, leaks can occur.
Freon can be toxic to inhale, and without adequate levels of freon, your refrigerator may not run properly. Worried about a leak? Here are four signs you may have an issue:
1. Odours Coming From Your Refrigeration System
Normally, your refrigerator shouldn't emit any odours. In some cases, you may notice odours from rotting food or spilled debris in your refrigerator. Clean your fridge thoroughly to eliminate those sources of odours, and consider using an open box of soda bicarbonate to absorb other unwanted odours.
However, if you still smell an off odour after cleaning everything, you may have a freon leak. Unfortunately, you can't do a do-it-yourself (DIY) repair on a commercial refrigeration system, and you need to contact a commercial refrigeration repair specialist.
2. Oily Residue on the Floor
Sometimes, you may see the freon leaking onto the floor. Typically, it appears as a clear and oily spot. If you smell an odour and want to investigate further, you may want to pull out your fridge and look underneath it. Keep in mind that the freon may not be directly under the pipes that carry the freon. Instead, it may snake through other areas of the system and leak out in unexpected spaces.
3. Continuously Running Motor
When a commercial refrigerator doesn't have enough freon, it will struggle to get cool. As a result, the thermostat will sense that the fridge is too warm, and in an effort to cool down the area, the fridge's motor will start to run constantly. Although a constantly running motor can signal other issues in addition to a freon leak, you should contact a repair specialist to help you narrow down the culprit.
4. Visible Punctures in the Piping
If you see a puncture in one of the pipes running through your refrigeration system, that is also a sign that you may have a freon leak. Don't try to handle the piping directly. Freon is a propellant and a solvent, and it may hurt your hands. Typically, these punctures occur when you use scrapers while defrosting your fridge, so you need to be very careful about that.