Prevent Refrigerant Huffing With A Cap On Your A/C Service Valve

Posted On: August 08, 2012

If high summer temperatures have been giving your air conditioner a workout, but it seems your home has become difficult to cool and your energy bills are rising, you might be a victim of refrigerant huffing. Drug abusers, mainly teens, have started inhaling air conditioner refrigerant to get high. Not only is it hard on your air conditioner, it can be deadly for the abuser. 

The easiest way to stop the practice is to have a locking safety cap installed on the service valve of your outdoor condenser. HVAC technicians use the service valve to adjust the amount of refrigerant in your system. Abusers remove the cap on the valve and either huff the refrigerant onsite or capture it in a bag for later use. If you startle someone who is actively huffing, the combination of adrenalin and refrigerant in the body may be enough to stop the heart.

Even if you don’t encounter someone refrigerant huffing, the health effects of this drug abuse are long-term, including heart, lung and brain damage. Low refrigerant also damages your air conditioner because it has to run longer to effectively cool your home. The extra wear and tear can result in premature part failure, along with higher electric bills. Should the pressure drop too low, the system won’t run at all.

The best approach to stop the practice is to have an HVAC contractor measure the pressure in your system. He or she will look for leaks in the coils and connections and fix them if that’s the problem. When no leaks are present, you’re probably the victim of refrigerant huffing. The safety cap will solve the problem.

It’s especially important to have your system checked if your A/C uses R-22 (commonly called Freon). The federal EPA limits the amount of this ozone-depleting refrigerant that can be produced annually, and the cost is rising. Recharging your system will cost a lot more as time goes by.

If you would like to learn more about cooling and heating issues, contact Ernst Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC services for the Metro-East area since 1951.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois 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

Service in Hours- Not Days
What People Are Saying About Ernst
  Reviews for Ernst Heating & Cooling

167 customer reviews

Average rating:5

 
  Great review!
Thanks for the quick response time and for getting things taken care of
by Julie a on 04/21/2018
  great company
We have nothing bad to say about Ernst. They are dependable and available when we have an emergency.
by sandra c on 04/15/2018
  Outstanding
Very pleased with my almost 10 year relationship with Ernst, from the front desk to the technicians. Always friendly...
by William O on 04/09/2018
  Great service!
Your technician Chris was very knowledgeable and thorough in his work. He kept me informed, and gave me various...
by tim c on 03/28/2018
  Timely Response...
I have called in the middle of the night and during normal business hours. Always polite and even try to diagnose over...
by tim l on 03/28/2018
More Verified Reviews
Service in Hours- Not Days
How to Spring Clean Your Home’s HVAC System in One Day
Posted On:April 9, 2018

As winter rolls out in Metro East Illinois, it’s time to start spring cleaning. And as you’re getting your home ready for warmer days, don’t...