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Explained: What Is The Gas Used In Refrigerators?


Do you know how your refrigerators keep all your stuff preserved? If not, you are at the right place. In this article, we will explain the gas used in refrigerators.

- Updated: 22nd Aug 2022, 11:16 IST
  • 1
    What is a refrigerant gas?
  • 2
    History of the gas used in refrigerators
  • 3
    Step-by-step working process of a refrigerator  
  • 4
    Quick Overview Of Gases That Have Been Used In Refrigerators
    • R22 – Chlorofluorocarbons
    • R134A – Tetrafluoroethane
    • R438A – Freon
    • R600A – Iso Butane
  • 5
    Gases Used In Refrigerators In Modern-Day
    • HFC-134a – [1,1,1,2 – Tetrafluoroethane]
  • 6
    Alternative To Refrigerants – Insulators
    • Polystyrene
    • Acrylonitrile
  • 7
    Final Thoughts – Gas Used In Refrigerators

Have you ever thought about which gas used in refrigerators is responsible for keeping your stuff cool and fresh? Do you experience the cool air when you open your refrigerator door after a hot day? You grab the cold beverage and feel so convenient. All thanks to advancements in technology. Mini-refrigerator, single and double-door refrigerators, and freezers all use refrigerant gas which helps in maintaining the cool temperature within.

As a smart consumer, before investing in any home appliance, you must understand its real hero. In the case of refrigerators, the real hero is – the gas used in refrigerators that makes the air cool and chilled.

This blog will explain the gas used in refrigerators and the working process of the refrigerator in detail.

Also read: 5 Best Refrigerators in India August 2022

What is a refrigerant gas?

The refrigerant gas is a chemical gas that refrigerators use to keep the inside temperature cool. It has low evaporation points. And it gets condensed easily under pressure. This chills the surrounding air. The gas used in refrigerators undergoes a repetitive evaporation and condensation procedure. As a result, the gas will pull out the heat, and the temperature within the unit remains chill.

Also read: Inverter Technology In Refrigerators Explained

History of the gas used in refrigerators

From 1800 to 1920, only toxic gases were used in refrigerators. They were a mixture of fluorine, carbons, and chlorine. But, in 1970, people understood that such poisonous gases are dangerous to the atmosphere. When these toxic gases leak into the atmosphere, they undergo chemical change because of the harmful UV rays. It creates the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion.

After some time, a few refrigerant gases were invented that could solve this problem. It is when the HCFC and HFC refrigerant gases came into the picture.

Also read: Top 10 Refrigerator Maintenance Tips

HCFC gas is a mixture of fluorine, carbon, chlorine, and hydrogen with a shorter lifespan. Therefore, it causes negligible harm.

On the flip side, HFC gas, a mixture of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon, has no chlorine. Therefore, it will not cause any harmful effect on ozone depletion. That’s why modern-day refrigerators use HCFC and HFC gases as refrigerant gas.

Now, before we dive deep into the gas used in refrigerators, let us first understand the working process of a fridge.

Also read: 5 Best Small Refrigerators In India August 2022

Step-by-step working process of a refrigerator  

How does a refrigerator work
  1. The gas used in the refrigerator as a refringent gas is vaporized with the help of the evaporator.
  2. Once the gas is vaporized, it absorbs all heat within the refrigerator.
  3. A refrigerant gas will flow into the compressor, and that also with the heat it absorbed inside the refrigerator.
  4. Now, the compressor will compress the refrigerant gas and cool it down.
  5. The compressed refrigerant gas will flow into the condenser. It will release its heat and then transform back into liquid form.
  6. As the heat is not present in the refrigerator, it will slowly cool down to the set temperature.
  7. In the last step, the liquid refrigerant will flow back into the evaporator, and the cycle will begin again.  

Also read: 5 Best Refrigerators Under 10000 In India August 2022

Quick Overview Of Gases That Have Been Used In Refrigerators

R22 – Chlorofluorocarbons

R22 – Chlorofluorocarbons

This gas was used in the older fridges, but this gas was ozone-depleting; it was being phased out. Nowadays, manufacturers’ do not use this gas in modern refrigerators.

R134A – Tetrafluoroethane

R134A – Tetrafluoroethane

These days, this gas is popular because it is ozone-friendly. However, as this gas is a greenhouse gas, shortly, manufacturers will stop using it.

R438A – Freon

R438A – Freon

As a replacement for R22 gas, manufacturers use this gas because of its non-ozone depleting feature. You can find this gas in many refrigerators that were using R22 gas previously.

R600A – Iso Butane

R600A - Iso Butane

It is a halogen-free refrigerant that is quite popular nowadays due to its non-ozone depletion and low global warming feature. It is highly energy-efficient and flammable.

Also read: 5 Best 4 Star Refrigerators In India August 2022

Gases Used In Refrigerators In Modern-Day

The latest refrigerators use the below-discussed gases.

HFC-134a – [1,1,1,2 – Tetrafluoroethane]

HFC-134a – [1,1,1,2 – Tetrafluoroethane]

This refrigerant gas is very popular and widely used in modern-day’s refrigerators. It is condensed quite effectually. That’s why it can easily cool down the machine’s surroundings and not create the ozone-depletion problem.

Since 1990, refrigerator manufacturers have used it in the fridge, and it is still in use. The best thing about this gas is it is easily available and causes minimal ozone depletion.

Also read: 5 Best Double Door Refrigerators In India August 2022

Alternative To Refrigerants – Insulators



It is a popular insulator that refrigerators use for internal padding. It will keep the heat out from the fridge. Due to this, it costs less. In short, it can act as a barricade between the heat and the fridge inside. It improves the internal temperature of your machine and assists in providing adequate cooling.


It is an insulator that you can find in a few modern-day refrigerators. This insulator is easy-to-clean and handle. That’s why manufacturers use this insulator. Since the 19th century, it is still in use.

Also read: 5 Best Single Door Refrigerators In India August 2022

Final Thoughts – Gas Used In Refrigerators

From the above discussion, we have concluded that the refrigerator is quite an essential home appliance that uses a refrigerant gas to keep the food items preserved and cool. Therefore, before purchasing it, knowing about its working process and the gas used in refrigerators will help you understand the appliance better and make an informed decision.

Nowadays, modern-day refrigerators make use of harmless and environment-friendly refrigerants. In this field, researchers have done in-depth research. Due to it, the latest refrigerators available these days are energy-efficient and much safer than the ones used in the past.

Also read: 5 Best Mini Refrigerators In India August 2022

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Highlights of the Story

  • Gas is an essential component of a refrigerator’s working process.
  • There’s a history of toxic gases being used in refrigerators, especially in the early days.
  • This article lists the different refrigerant gases used in modern-day refrigerators.

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