Refrigerators are common kitchen appliances you may find in every household today. We instantly get reminded of its importance to our daily life when there are power failures and putting our food’s safety in jeopardy.
Refrigerators are a blessing to every single household. They not only keep your food items fresh and cold but also prevents the growth of bacteria.

Refrigeration is a food storage technique in developed countries. But have you ever wondered how is Refrigerator cold and chilled all the time? Do you have any idea how is the refrigerator keeping every single thing preserved?

Different Types of Refrigerators like Mini Fridge, Double Door refrigerators, Single doors, Side By Side Refrigerators are available these days, but every refrigerator’s working is quite similar.

Refrigerant Gas is one of the everyday things which is responsible for the 24×7 Cooling of the refrigerator. It seems to be Rocket science for you to understand these things But before you get confused with so many terms, let’s Understand the Terms one by one to help you select the ideal gas for your Best Refrigerator.

What is a Refrigerant gas?

Refrigerant gases are chemical products that we use in refrigerators. These gases have low evaporation points and are condensed under pressure to chill the surrounding air. If you were a science student, you must know that gases release heat when compressed to high pressure. In a Refrigerator, the Compression of gas is done by a Compressor component, which is called the heart of the refrigerator.

Therefore, Refrigerants are the reasons why any freezing technology exists. There are different gases used in refrigerants based on the needs.

gas used in refrigerator

Traditionally, back in the 20th-century, fluorocarbons, particularly chlorofluorocarbons, were the gases commonly used in refrigerators. Still, some were toxic, and some were the reason for ozone layer depletion, which leads to innovation, and scientists discovered some new refrigerants which are environment friendly.
Nowadays, most of the gases that are used in refrigerators are environment friendly. These gases do not disturb the health as well as the environment as such.

Quick History of Refrigerant Gases

which gas is used in the refrigerator.

In the early 1800s, only toxic gases were used in refrigerators. These gases were a mixture of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon, which were known as Chlorofluorocarbon. Later in 1970, Scientists discovered that these gases were dangerous to the atmosphere. When these gases leak into the atmosphere, they mix with the UV rays and cause the greenhouse effect and ozone layer depletion, causing harmful effects to the environment.

Therefore, Researchers found the solution to this problem by finding some other refrigerant gases that can replace CFC. The Solution was HCFC( a mixture of Hydrogen, Chlorine, Fluorine, Carbon) and HFC( a mix of Hydrogen, Fluorine, Carbon). As HCFC doesn’t stay for a much longer time in the atmosphere due to its short life span properties, it makes them a perfect replacement for CFCs and a little more environmentally friendly.

As The HFC doesn’t contain chlorine, it doesn’t significantly affect the environment. After that, Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons and Hydrofluorocarbons are the most trending and popular refrigerants used in modern-day refrigerators around the world.

A Quick Look at Different Gases used in Refrigerators

There were a lot of gases used in the refrigerators. But the use of specific refrigerants depends on several types. These gases are:-

R-22 Chlorofluorocarbons

This gas was common in older refrigerators,As we discussed above, Chlorofluorocarbons are mixture of Chlorine, fluorine and Carbon hence this gas has a very adverse effect on the environment.Even This gas was one of the major reasons of Ozone Layer Depletion which is responsible to save us from the infrared radiations of sun. Thatswhy Its not been much used in Modern Day Refrigerators.

R134A Tetrafluoroethane

This gas is much used in modern day refrigerators due to its easily availability and effective condensation power. This gas doesnt create ozone depletion but the major reason of greenhouse effect.

So It will be depleted from the market very soon but is the most common refrigerant used in Indian refrigerators.

R438A Freon

Researchers finally discovered the replacement for R22 refrigerant which have the similar properties like R22 but is non ozone depleting gas. Its one of the most used gas in refrigerator. You may even find this gas to be used in old refrigeators while repairing which were earlier running on R22 CFC.

R600A Iso Butane

R600A Iso Butane is a refrigerant used in small fridge since 1993 due to its negligible ozone depletion potential and a very low global warming potent.

But as a refrigerant, it has explosion risk due to its flammable properties.

Gases Used in Modern Day Refrigerators

With the advancements of Technologies, we have now created a balance between our needs and care for our environment. Earlier The gases which were used like CFC has the bad effect on the atmosphere, depleting the ozone layer and even some gases were the reason of green house effect.

But as the Humans evolve, We have understood the need of enviroment and same is seen in the field of refrigerant gases too.

Do you know which gases are used in refrigerators these days? Let’s Check.

Tetrafluoroethane

It is one of the most commonly used refrigerant gases you can find in modern-day refrigerators. This gas can cool down the surrounding of the machines effectively without causing any problems. The use of this gas started back in the 1900s, and you can find them in progress till today.

It is the most commonly available refrigerant gas and doesn’t cause the problem of ozone layer depletion makes it more environment friendly.

Tetrafluoroethane is a non-inflammable gas used as the primary refrigerant gas in refrigerators and automobiles air-conditioners.

Chlorofluorocarbons

Another gas that people use as refrigerants in the present day is Chlorofluorocarbon. We can use it as a pressurized liquid. The liquid expands as gas for absorbing the heat inside the refrigerator and cool the temperature in the fridge.

The use of chlorofluorocarbons began in the 1970s. Many brands still use chlorofluorocarbons in their refrigerators.

Polystyrene

This gas is less expensive, and it acts as an effective barrier between the heat surrounding and the refrigerator inside. It is a popular insulator.

Polystyrene is used as internal padding for keeping the heat out of the appliance. It results in enhancing the inside temperature of the machine and deliver effective cooling.

Acrylonitrile

Modern-day refrigerators use this gas as an effective insulator that acts as an ideal barrier between the surrounding heat and the appliance inside. The use of Acrylonitrile started in the 19th century and is still relevant today. 

Data of Global Warming & Ozone Depletion Potential of Refrigerants

RefrigerantGlobal Warming PotentialOzone Depletion Potential
R-221810Medium
R-410A2088Zero
R-32675Zero
R-134A1430Zero
R-2903Zero
R-600A3Zero
Source: linde-gas.com

FAQ’s About the Gas Used in Refrigerators

Why Freon gas is used in refrigerator?

Froen is a non-inflammable gas which can go through the evaporation process again and again and keep the temperature low which makes it a effective refrigerant. Freon is a Perfect replacement for R-22 Refrigerant gas which was commonly used in refrigerators and air-conditioners.

Which gas is safe for refrigerators?

Still, most Refrigerators are using HCFCs, but it contains chlorine which is harmful to the environment. If we talk about the safest refrigerants for AC and Refrigerator, then it is R-600A which is the most environmentally friendly option available as a refrigerant.

What happens when a fridge runs out of gas?

As your gas starts leaking from the refrigerator, The first symptom you will see in your fridge is that your food will start freezing, including tomatoes, Fruits, egg, and even milk kept in the refrigerator. Another sign which you will see is excess build of ice over the compressor and compressor pipes. But After some time, Your refrigerator will become dead as there will be no cooling and freezing. It means It’s out of gas.

Why is my fridge smelling of Gas?

If you feel like some smell coming out from your refrigerator, it might be due to the gas in the form of fluid leaking out to the atmosphere. Freon and other old chemicals have a very unpleasant smell, just like nail polish remover. Inhaling that gas may even cause breathing issues. So Handle it carefully.

What is the cost of filling gas in refrigerator?

If you want to get the gas refilled in your refrigerator in India, You may get it filled around INR 500-700 with basic Refrigerator Repair charges depends on the mechanic.

Final Verdict

Refrigerators are the most common appliances found in every household. You should always be aware of the components your fridge uses to keep your food items fresh and cool.

The perfect gas for the refrigerator is yet to be found. But with the advancement of technology and strict standards, we will see a better refrigerator shortly.

I hope this article provides you with relevant information on the gases used in refrigerators. Being aware of things can help you understand what is good for you and what is not. It will help you make an informed and correct choice while choosing the refrigerators best suited for you.