You may not think of your air conditioner as a public safety hazard, but it could be. Over the last few years, people, mainly teenagers, have started to huff A/C refrigerant to get high. Not only is this a dangerous practice for the inhaler, it’s also hard on your equipment and can result in a major system breakdown. The most effective way to protect your equipment from this practice is to install a locking air conditioner safety cap.
The condenser for your A/C sits outdoors and it has a cap on the valve that HVAC professionals use to recharge your system. If your condenser sits on the ground, anyone can remove the cap to access this valve. Abusers either use your refrigerant on-site or capture the gas in a plastic bag for later use. A locking cap prevents access to anyone who doesn’t have the proper key.
The side effects of refrigerant huffing are serious and can be fatal. The long-term damage includes heart, brain and lung problems, and huffing can result in immediate death. It’s also hard on the environment and your pocketbook, especially if you use R-22 (also called Freon) in your system. R-22 is the most harmful refrigerant to humans and the environment, and the price is skyrocketing. The federal EPA is restricting its production, and over time it will cost much more to top off your air conditioning system.
Your best recourse is to contact an HVAC professional who will measure the refrigerant pressure. If it’s low, he’ll look for leaks in the coils or connections and fix them. If there are no leaks, but your refrigerant is low, you may have been the victim of refrigerant huffing.
Running your A/C without sufficient refrigerant makes it work harder and wears out the parts faster. Eventually, it will stop running altogether when the level gets too low, leaving you without the ability to cool and dehumidify your home.
If you’d like more information about protecting your air conditioner from thieves, contact Mowery Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We’ve provided reliable HVAC services for the Indianapolis area for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Mowery services the Brownsburg, Indiana and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!
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