Air conditioners cool the air by using a gaseous substance known as refrigerant. Refrigerant normally remains contained within the air conditioner’s pressurized coils and tubing, and when so contained it is harmless and beneficial to your home. As with many things, though, refrigerants can be used for good purposes or for bad.

One disturbing example of the latter is the recent trend of some people using refrigerants as a drug, inhaling them to get a chemical “high.” Whereas it’s safe to have refrigerant contained in your home’s air conditioner, the substance is very harmful when intentionally inhaled. Besides the dangers of getting high, inhaling refrigerant can cause brain damage and can easily result in death.

Abusers of the substance usually obtain refrigerant by stealing it from the air conditioning units outside of neighbors’ homes. They drain the refrigerant from the valves that A/C technicians use to service air conditioners and inhale the refrigerant on-site.

Aside from the health and safety concerns for those abusing the chemical, there’s also a cost involved for the homeowners who have their refrigerant stolen. You might notice the sudden lack of cold air from your A/C unit, and with the recent increases in the price of some refrigerants, that can mean that getting it refilled can be expensive.

There are also environmental costs, as refrigerants released into the atmosphere can damage the ozone layer. You can prevent refrigerant theft by getting a safety cap installed on your exterior A/C unit. A safety cap is simply a locking cap that goes over the access valves, making it impossible to drain refrigerant from the system without the homeowner’s key. It’s an easy way to gain some peace of mind, protecting both you and the people who would otherwise harm themselves.

To get a safety cap installed on your air conditioner, contact the experts at Pipe Works Services. We are committed to serving your air conditioning needs and serving the New Jersey community. Feel free to ask us if you have any questions. 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. Pipe Works Services serves Chatham, NJ, and the surrounding areas.

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