Air conditioning systems are tempting targets for thieves. Valuable metal such as copper is frequently stolen from air conditioners. However, news outlets around the country report a new threat to air conditioner security: the theft of refrigerant for use as a drug. To combat this problem, it is often necessary to ramp up air conditioner security by installing a safety cap.
Refrigerant huffing is the deliberate inhalation of refrigerant for a quick and intense high. Thieves remove refrigerant by opening the service valve where refrigerant is added to or extracted from your air conditioner during maintenance. Thieves capture the refrigerant in a plastic bag or other container and then inhale it. News sources indicate this activity is becoming more prevalent, especially among teenagers.
Why get a safety cap?
Using refrigerant as a drug is extremely hazardous. In the short term, it gives the high the user wants, but it also causes nausea, dizziness, skin burns and headaches. Even a single instance of refrigerant huffing can be deadly.
Huffing affects you, the homeowner, because it can cause damage to your air conditioner. Thieves can damage the unit and the service valve. Once refrigerant has been taken out of the unit, the air conditioner will not function correctly. Reduced levels of refrigerant mean the air conditioner will not cool effectively. The system could be damaged from the increased stress placed on it to keep up with cooling demands.
How safety caps work
Specialized locking caps fit on the service valve and prevent access to the refrigerant lines. These caps are made of tough metal that is extremely difficult to break or damage. Without a specially made key, they cannot be removed. They are designed to spin in place if attempts are made to remove them without the key, frustrating theft attempts and most likely sending potential huffers away to look for an easier target.
Rheem Pro Partner provides professional HVAC sales, maintenance and repair services to customers in metro Denver. Contact us for more information on air conditioner security and help finding the safety caps and security equipment that can help to keep your cooling system safe from thieves.
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