Refrigerant huffing is a serious problem related to the outdoor condenser that sits in your yard for your air conditioner. The term refers to people, primarily teenagers, who open the valve on the condenser to inhale or capture the refrigerant you have in your A/C. Refrigerant is toxic and the practice can lead to sudden death or cause a host of long-term physical problems for the abuser.
If your air conditioner isn’t running the way it should or your electric bills are high, you may be the victim of this practice. The only way to tell is to have an HVAC professional come to your home to check the pressure inside your system. If it’s low, they’ll look for leaks in the coils and connectors. If they’re fine, someone may be using your condenser for refrigerant huffing.
You can stop the probability of this abuse by asking the HVAC contractor to install a locking safety cap on the valve on the condenser, even if your air conditioner hasn’t been accessed by an abuser. In fact, it’s a good idea to install a cap to prevent someone from tapping into your refrigerant. The proper refrigerant level is critical since low refrigerant increases the wear and tear on your system and raises your utility bills. If your system uses R-22, it’s even more important since these are the most toxic refrigerants and expensive for you to replace.
The most important consideration may be the human factor, however. The consequences of refrigerant huffing are serious and include heart and lung damage, as well as possible death.
If you would like more information about refrigerant huffing, contact Powers Heating & Air. We can check your system and protect it, helping you prevent this practice from occurring in your backyard. We provide HVAC services for Peachtree City and surrounding areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree, GA and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about refrigerant huffing and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock