Your air conditioner needs the correct amount of refrigerant to operate at its best. Although leaks can occur in the coils and connections, a safety cap on your air conditioner’s refrigerant valve prevents losses that occur as the result of people accessing the valve for abusive purposes.
Refrigerant huffing is a recent trend where teenagers, mostly, remove the cap from the valve to get high on the refrigerant. It’s a dangerous activity for both the abuser and your air conditioner.
A safety cap on your air conditioner can put an end to the practice. The cap requires keys to unlock it. And it will prevent problems due to low refrigerant. For instance, running your air conditioner with insufficient refrigerant drives up your A/C bills and increases the wear and tear on the system. No one wants higher electrical bills, but the biggest benefit of a locking cap may be in preventing someone from using your outdoor condenser for abusive purposes.
That’s because refrigerant huffing causes permanent health damage and may even result in death. If you catch someone in the process of huffing, the combination of adrenaline and the refrigerant can stop the heart. Unless medical help is immediate, death can result. Further, long-term damage can include heart, lung and brain damage.
R-22, or Freon, is one the most dangerous of all the refrigerants, and commonly used in most residential A/Cs — it’s also becoming more costly for you to replace. Because of its toxicity to life and the planet, the Environmental Protection Agency has put strict limits on its production. By 2020, no R-22 can be made and its price from now and into the future will do nothing but rise.
If your air conditioner isn’t running as well as it should or your bills are higher, contact an HVAC contractor to assess your system. When the pressure is low, the technician will check for leaks and fix them if they’re present. The technician can also install the safety cap on your air conditioner at the same time, ensuring your system works as it should and the safety of those who would attempt to abuse your system.
If you’d like more information about installing a safety cap on your air conditioner, contact SameDay Heating & Air. We’ve provided HVAC services for northern Utah since 1955.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.