Can I Use Automotive r134a in a Refrigerator | An Expert Guide


Articles, products, and services offered on this site are for informational purposes only. We are part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. is compensated for sales resulting from links on our website.

Please review our disclaimer before acting based on anything you read or see.

You may have heard that using a specific refrigerant in your car or vice versa is not advisable. However, if you take everything at face value, you will not be able to use the right refrigerant in any application. The only way to know for sure is by researching the properties of different types of refrigerants and their suitability for various applications. In this article, we will explain why you cannot use automotive R134a in a refrigerator and vice versa.

It has nothing to do with any danger posed by the refrigerant. It’s just a matter of matching the correct refrigerant to its operating conditions. Read on for more information about using automotive r134a in a refrigerator and vice versa.

In short, NO! R 134A is designed for the high demands of an automobile AC and cannot be used on refrigerators due to pressure differences. Refrigerators generally utilize R22, R32, or 410A-based coolants as their cooling agent.

We will also discuss what the leak detection of this refrigerant is and elaborate on various types of it and the latest development in this refrigerant.

Can I Use Automotive r134a in a Refrigerator?

The simple answer to this question is no because you cannot use a car or AC refrigerant in a refrigerator compressor due to the difference in pressure. The refrigerant that the refrigerator uses is R12, R22, R32, and R410.

But, that answer is not a proper solution to your complication. Some ways or an authentic researched guide from EPA guidelines makes it possible for us to use this r134a refrigerant in an automobile usually, the temperature outdoors increases from 32.5 to 37.5 degrees. You can use r134a refrigerant in this condition in the refrigerator.

The only thing that you will have to bother with is the label and packaging of the gas. If there is written on the label that there is nothing added in r134a, it is suitable for the refrigerator. The reason behind this is that the refrigerant mixed with something can damage the compressor of the fridge. So, just using r134a will be favorable. Still using this refrigerant in the refrigerator is possible if the following two issues are solved;

  • The r134a refrigerant in AC and automobiles contains a tap that fits on the Can. The issue that needs a solution is that the following tap does not work on the refrigerator’s compressor. You will need the desired adapter to meet the need.
  • The pressure difference is yet another reason why you should avoid using r134a in the refrigerator. The charge pressor that is suitable for the compressor is 4.25OHZ to 6.25OHZ. Anything above or below will damage the compressor. So, the refrigerant must be according to the charge. But, r134a is not according to the circumstances. Its pressure can increase or decrease accordingly. 

What is Refrigerant

The cooling systems of refrigerators, walk-in freezers, and air conditioners all contain refrigerants, which are chemical compounds. Most refrigeration units remove heat through chemical reactions involving refrigerant gas. Many different gases perform as coolants.

A significant number of early refrigerants contained highly hazardous chemicals. However, many of the newer gases that have replaced them are still environmentally hazardous.

Flash gas is a gaseous refrigerant companies produce naturally when a condensed liquid boils. When flash gas enters the liquid lines, the efficiency of the cycle reduces. It can also cause issues with multiple expansion systems and increase evaporator superheating.

Due to the separation between the system volume and the pressures and temperatures at which the refrigerant can be a liquid, this is typically an undesirable effect.

What is Automotive R134a?

R134a can easily go between liquid and vapor states as with other refrigerants. The air conditioning system in your car uses a combination of evaporation and condensation to cool the interior.

R-134a entirely dominated the automotive market by 1994. If your vehicle is after 1994, you could use R-134a in its air conditioning system. The R1234YF hydro fluoro olefin refrigerant is significantly eco-friendlier than its predecessors, freons R12 and R22. Compared to R134a freon, which has a GWP of 1,430, R1234YF freon has a GWP of approximately 3.

Companies use this refrigerant in the climate control systems of all automobiles produced in the United States after 2021 and Europe after 2016. Nonetheless, many producers made the change before it was necessary. R1234YF freon could perform in automobiles beginning with the 2014 model year.

Thankfully, modern vehicles rarely need to have their freon levels topped off. Due to its closed system, freon does not deplete over time like engine oil. You will only need to replace your canister if your vehicle’s air conditioning or heating system leaks, typically after an accident or a long drive.

Why you shouldn’t use Automotive R134a in a Refrigerator

You cannot use car refrigerant in a refrigerator because the difference in pressure renders the compressor ineffective.

You can use R-134a in either system as long as it is produced within the required tolerances. Cylinder or drum connections may vary between manufacturers, but adapters are widely available.

R134a used in sealed systems with an electric compressor, such as refrigerators, is lower quality than automotive R134a. Additionally, people used another oil. The R134a used in automobiles differs from that used in refrigerators because it is rated for higher temperatures.

Due to pressure differences, R 134A is unsuitable for use in freezers despite being designed to meet the stringent requirements of automobile air conditioning. It is efficient, but automobile air conditioners and refrigerator compressors have different pressure and temperature requirements.

As a result, the sizes of the charging and pressure hose connections differ. Both of these coolants work in particular ways.

Use pure refrigerant in your home refrigerator; never sell the oil/refrigerant mixture in stores. If your refrigerator requires refrigerant, it is likely due to a leak that allows moisture to enter. It is difficult and expensive to clean up.

What Refrigerant goes in a Refrigerator?

R-134a, a refrigerant utilized in automobiles and refrigerators, is widely available in auto parts stores. Since R-12 and R134a are incompatible refrigerants, mixing them will result in a locked compressor.

FreonTM R-134a refrigerant has largely replaced the previously popular R-12 refrigerant in residential and apartment refrigerators. You can use it in various home refrigeration and freezing configurations, from compact under-counter refrigerators to large multi-door freezers.

Multiple organizations have linked R134A to global warming. Before 1994, the R12 performed to cool the interiors of vehicles built in 1994. R134A replaced R12 in vehicles produced after 1994.

Follow these steps to determine if your vehicle needs additional refrigerant and how to add it. You can add a can of 134a if there are no significant issues, such as a high temperature in the vent or a broken compressor.

Leak Detection Methods

As the r134a is a refrigerant in gas, there are possibilities of the gas getting leaked so, how to detect an r134a leakage and the best methods to detect the leakage. The following techniques will help you detect leakage of r134 in case it is leaking from the air conditioner.

  • The soup solution is best to detect gas leakage. Just apply soup resin mix with water on the pipe, and the part where there is a gas leakage will itself pop up in bubbles, and you will identify the leakage.
  • The fluorescent dyes are also preferred to detect the r134a leakage.
  • Many types of Electronic Leak detectors are available on the market. You can use any of them.
  • There are selective detectors like the halogen selective detector to detect gas leakage.
  • The most authentic way to detect gas leakage is by using ultrasonic leak detectors.

Performance Character of Air Conditions Using R134a/R123yf

The experimental analysis shows the outdoor air temperature and the compressor’s speed using r134a and r134a/r123yf. In the outdoor temperature, it lies between 32.5 and 37.5 degrees. The overall exergy destruction rate of the refrigeration that uses Mix30 almost decreases up to 5.19% and 25.1% on averagely compared to that system using r134a. The exergy efficiency of the system was 21.8% better than that of using the r134a system.

As the rotating speed of the compressor increases from 1000 to 2000rpm, the cooling also increases. As a result, the exergy destruction rate of the refrigeration system using Mix30 usually decreases up to 4.82% and 19.8% compared to the system using r134a.

What Should the Gauges read on 134a?

What Should the Gauges read on 134a?

If your staff cannot read the dials, they will be unable to repair the air conditioner. This primer applies to most automobiles but is not exhaustive and should not be used. Before testing, the car must be retrieved, vacuumed, and charged.

Keep the following fundamentals in mind when interpreting your gauges:

  • The climatic conditions
  • Compressor Classification

The climatic conditions

The system must be recovered, evacuated for at least 20 minutes, and charged. The outside temperature will cause the gauges’ readings to fluctuate. The pressure will be low when it is cold outside and high when it is hot outside if the air conditioner is not on.

If the opposite occurs, the pressure will decrease as the temperature rises.

Compressor Classification 

We will focus on only two types of air conditioning for brevity and clarity: manual air conditioning and automatic climate control.

Cold air is controlled by hand. 

The air conditioner compressor has only two settings: full and off (the familiar clicking sound as the compressor engages). A temperature sensor controls this; the compressor turns off when the system is sufficiently cool. So, the temperature rises, and it turns on.

When the pump goes on and off, the meter readings will reflect the conditions described.

Control of climate change automatically. 

Once the system reaches the temperature you want, the compressor gradually reduces the amount of refrigerant pumped through the system (there is no clutch plate to click on or off, it is internally regulated). Sensors linked to the electronic control unit regulate this.

When this happens, the compressor will begin pumping less refrigerant throughout the system, resulting in the initial gauge readings described above. The pressure on the red gauge decreases as the amount of refrigerant pumped decreases.

Pros & Cons of Refrigerant

Utilizing air as a refrigerant makes use of an abundant and inexpensive resource.Compared to other systems, the amount of refrigerant used per ton of refrigeration is relatively high.
It is non-toxic, fire- and water-safe, and will not corrode metal.The system’s COP is extremely low. This is why it is so expensive to maintain.
There is no risk of fire or poisoning due to leaks.Because it does not affect the ozone layer, it was viewed as an excellent replacement for R-12, which was previously used but was banned due to its harmful effects.
This one has a lower weight per ton of refrigeration than other systems.There is a greater chance of frost forming on the expander valves due to the air’s humidity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is car Freon the same as refrigerator Freon?

No, the car Freon is not the same as the refrigerator Freon because some properties of the car Freon make it different from the refrigerator Freon. The car’s refrigerant cannot be used in the refrigerator as the pressure difference makes it difficult for the compressor to work.

What pressure does r134a run in a refrigerator?

The operating pressure in r134a is measured in pounds per square. However, at the lowest temperature, the coil running pressure is almost 22 pounds per square inch. But when the temperature is high, the pressure exceeds up to 57 pounds per square inch. So, that are two alternative pressure conditions and values.

Are all R134a refrigerants the same?

Yes, almost all the r134a refrigerants are the same. However, the properties of leak detection sometimes change in the refrigerant. So, you can use the leak detector. There is no problem with using the leak detector.

How do I add R134a to my refrigerator?

First of all, check whether your refrigerator is eligible for the r134a. Once you confirm it, then you can add Freon by yourself. However, Freon is toxic, so you need to be careful while adding. Most refrigerators also do not use Freon, so there are many consequences related to it. Inspect the coil of your freezer, and then spray in case to observe the leakage of the pipe. Then add the Freon to solve the problem.

Can you put a car refrigerant in a refrigerator?

No, you cannot put the car refrigerant in the car because the AC and Car use the refrigerant that differs in pressure from the refrigerators, so it isn’t easy to use the car refrigerant in the refrigerator. The refrigerant that the refrigerator uses typically is R12, R22, R32, and R410. So, try to pick any of them instead of car refrigerant. Some unique car refrigerants can be used but with a lot of conditions to keep in mind.

How can you tell if your refrigerator needs Freon?

To check the requirement of Freon, you need to unplug the refrigerator and turn the temperature controller off. Then bring your ear near to the side of the refrigerator. If you hear a hissing and normal gurgling sound, your refrigerator is full of the Freon.

How do you know if your refrigerator is overcharged?

The following symptoms will tell you that the refrigerator is overcharged;

  • The high discharge temperature.
  • High Sub-cooling
  • The high ratio of compression
  • The normal superheat.
  • Normal to high evaporator ratio.
  • The high splits of the condenser

What happens if you overcharge a refrigerator?

The overcharge refrigerator means high head pressure, which can cause a tendency of high to overfeed in the evaporation, which would decrease the superheat. In addition, the overcharge system of up to 10 percent can cause the liquid to enter the line of suction valves. Thus it can damage the compressor and cause failure.

Is there a difference between R134 and R134a?

R134 and R134a have the same chemical formula, and the atomic weight of both is also the same. But, the structural formula is different among both. For example, R134 has an NBP of -16degree; however, R134a has an NBP of -26degree.

Do all 134a refrigerants have oil in them?

Yes, almost all 134a refrigerants have oil in them. The oil is used to keep the compressor lubricated. In addition, it is utilized throughout the system. The oil is usually added when the system is charged.


These products’ primary drawbacks are their toxicity (NH3), flammability (HC), and high pressures (CO2).
After a period of transition and coexistence with fluorinated refrigerants that have a moderate impact on greenhouse gas emissions, natural refrigerants will soon meet the diverse needs of the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. There are currently numerous options available, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The reduction of system load is equally crucial to selecting the proper refrigerant in terms of safety and cost savings.

Comments are closed.