A refrigerant is what keeps your refrigerator cold. Generally, the refrigerant is self-contained, and you should never have to refill it. Most people don't think of refrigerant loss when their refrigerator doesn't work properly. However, refrigerant loss does happen under certain circumstances. Read on to learn more about the signs and causes of refrigerant loss.

How Your Refrigerator Uses Refrigerant

Refrigerators use refrigerant in a way similar to air conditioners. Your refrigerator consists of a compressor, condenser, and evaporator. These components use pressure to condense the refrigerant from a gas to a liquid. In liquid form, the refrigerant flows through the evaporator, which exchanges the warm air in the refrigerant with cool air. During that process, it evaporates back into a gas and returns to the compressor.

Signs Your Refrigerator Has Refrigerant Loss

Since refrigerant is key to keeping your refrigerator cool, you will quickly notice if there's any problem within the system. Signs that your refrigerant may be low include the ones listed below. 

Your Refrigerator Cycles Continuously

You hear the refrigerator's motor starting and stopping over and over for most of the day.

Your Food is Warm

Your refrigerator seems to be running fine, but the food never gets cool.

You Smell a Strange Chemical Odor

You smell a strange odor on the outside of the refrigerator, most likely near the back or underneath.

Your Electrical Bill Seems Higher

You notice a change in your bill but haven't been using your appliances more than usual.

You or Your Family Members Are Ill

Some people may also feel like they have an illness, especially after prolonged exposure. They may have headaches or a general feeling of being sick.

These signs may also indicate other problems like a bad compressor or condenser. A professional can confirm their cause.

Reasons Why Your Refrigerator Needs More Refrigerant

Some common reasons why it would run out include:


Leaks are rare, but a puncture in a hose or coil could cause a loss of refrigerant.

Broken Parts

Worn or broken components like hoses and clamps could leak refrigerant. You would also notice other problems, like strange noises in this case.

Your refrigerator should go through most, if not all, of its life without a refrigerant refill. However, certain events can create a need for its replacement. Refrigerant is a hazardous material that needs careful handling. Therefore, if you suspect your refrigerator needs repair, call a professional repair person.

Contact a refrigerator repair company to learn more.