There’s a new form of drug abuse making its way across the nation. It’s called refrigerant huffing, and it can endanger your A/C system as well as the health of the drug abusers doing the huffing. People break into the refrigerant valve of an outside air conditioning unit and inhale the refrigerant inside. It leads to feelings of giddiness, loss of balance, and sometimes unconsciousness. It’s also highly dangerous. The low temperature of common refrigerant formulas means that refrigerant huffing can freeze your lungs. Other health hazards include:
- Throat swelling and inflammation
- Heart damage
- Brain damage
Drug abusers who are huffing refrigerant often break into A/C units around the neighborhood to steal and inhale the refrigerant inside them. Opening the valve causes refrigerant to leak out rapidly, and the common refrigerant formula in air conditioners older than two or three years, Freon R-22 is increasingly expensive to replace. If the refrigerant levels in your A/C are too low, it can lead to increased energy bills as well as permanent damage to your air conditioning unit.
The solution is to get a locking cap for your refrigerant valve. Your HVAC technician can install one that opens only with a key. You can open the valve when it’s necessary, but without the key, the cap will simply spin around in place, and no one else can access it. You should also have your HVAC technician perform regular inspections to make sure you have the proper refrigerant charge, and that your unit isn’t leaking refrigerant accidentally. Between the locking cap and the inspections, you can make sure your air conditioner stays safe, and do your part to make sure your neighborhood stays safe, too.
For more information on A/C refrigerant, as well as general air conditioning issues, contact our experts at Overland Park Heating & Cooling, Inc. The greater Kansas City area has trusted us with its HVAC needs for nearly 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Image courtesy of Shutterstock