Until today, whenever I've hear someone say that an HVAC tech came out
and added some refigerant to their central air system my immediate
reaction was to ask them, "You know, that's supposed to be a completely
sealed system, did the tech look for, find and repair a leak before
he/she added refrigerent?
This morning I was watching the Fox News channel and their medical
consultant Dr. Manny Alvarez started talking about how teen agers have
taken to filling plastic bags with what he just called "freon" from the
service ports on outdoor AC compressors. Then they go off and breath in
the gas to "get high".
Thinking about that it'd take little more than a pair of pliers to
remove a service port cap and something to push the valve down with,
leaving no sign of what they's done until they've taken enough so your
AC starts working poorly.
Dr. Alvarez warned of the serious medical dangers of breathing freon and
mentioned that in some cases it can cause death. He also said frostbite
to kid's faces has resulted from their releasing the refrigerant
directly (without a plastic bag) and trying and suck it in as its
I've been hearing lots of stories about the copper parts of AC equipment
being stolen for their scrap metal value, but this is the first I've
heard about this freon breathing thing.
Dr. Alvarez mentioned that locking service port protectors are available
for "about $30.00". Those might be good enough to make the kids want to
go away and look for someone else's AC system without locks.
What next I ask?
One can only hope that the kids dumb enough to do this sort of thing
will remove themselves from the gene pool. Their parents will of course
whine up a storm and get all kinds of undeserved sympathy from some
people while they should actually be charged with the neglect that
generally leads to this kind of behavior.
Hilarious! LIkely an offshoot of the old R12 fad. Back in
the 60's, one could buy an aerosol can of "glass frosting"
(just R12 in a can), squirt it in a bag and sniff it.
Would fairly knock you for a loop. Got fairly popular.
I got noooooooooooo idea what R22/R410a would do (and don't
ever wanna find out).
"The monkey and the baboon was playing 7-up.
The monkey won the money but he scared to pick it up.
The monkey stumbled, mama.
The baboon fell.
The monkey grab the money and he run like hell!"
- from "Dirty Motherfuyer", Roosevelt Sykes, around 1935
I expect they do the exact same thing, basically asphyxiate the subject.
The various "Freons" are pretty inert and indeed some are used as
propellants in medical inhalers.
Instead of stealing Freon out of people's A/Cs, if the idiot kids had a
clue they'd just shake CO2 out of soda bottles the same way. Or perhaps
just hyperventilate into a paper bag to get a CO2 buildup / O2
reduction. Of course if our schools weren't failing and managed to teach
some biology and science, the kids would understand this...
When I first read that I pictured the "glass frosting" stuff as
something used to make ordinary glass windows look like frosted glass
ones and wondered how the heck R12 could do that. (For very long at least.)
Then I woke up and realized it must have been a product used to
(temporarily) frost the rims of cocktail or beer glasses.
Having accidentally gotten high on paint or gasoline fumes a couple of
times, I can't believe that some people do it on purpose. It is an
awful experience! Why would anyone snort solvents or unknown
chemicals from air conditioning equipment when pot is so easy to find?
But surely this will lead to a mandate for locking caps on AC
On Wed, 01 Aug 2007 14:52:39 -0700, The Reverend Natural Light
Because they're stupid. (I'm not recommending pot.)
On the tv they are always telling parents to "Talk to your children
about drugs/sex/AIDS/alcohol/drinking and driving/cocaine/huffing
Frankly, I would have been insulted if my parents thought I was so
stupid I didn't know how dangerous most of those things were, and I
think a lot of kids would be not only insulted, but would resent it
and go out of their way to prove their parents foolish.
I don't have kids but my parents' method seems a lot better to me.
For years before I had any access to those things, when they watched
the tv news, or tv dramas, or read the paper, and they saw someone get
in trouble with any of those things, they would say outloud, How
stupid can that guy be. What if he killed someone? How much does he
think it takes to kill his own brains. What is she going to do with a
baby and no husband?
They didn't address these comments to me, so I wasn't insulted.
And it was clear that they really believed what they said, and weren't
just being more cautious than necessary parents. Or trying to ruin my
They also didn't have to either wait until the last minute, wait
longer than the last minute (like after I was already 15 and getting
drunk at parties) or spend a lot of time wondering when it was too
early and when it would be too late.
If there isn't a news report, tv drama, paper or other media around with the
"right" warning story when the kid happens to be around - it is a parents'
obligation to let their child know about the dangers that are out there. To
assume my kids are too smart for this or that is not something I'm willing
to do. I don't believe it is an insult to their intelligence to inform them
of dangerous practices - if they do know about whatever it is, great, it
doesn't hurt to hear it twice. If they don't know, it's an education. They
already know I don't think they are stupid. But, they also agree that many
times they just plain don't know what they don't know - and they can learn
from others' experience (that belief fades between for a period between 16
and 21 in my experience ;-)).
I agree you can dissuade by implication of stupidity where the opportunity
is available, but where it is not, better safe than sorry.
Case in point - the recent fad huffing propellant out of those key board
cleaner sprays. Sounds like same thing as this a/c stuff with same effects -
except some of these kids got frostbitten tongues, etc. Some died, some had
major lung/tissue damage. Some probably just got high and moved on. BUT - I
talked to my 15 year old about it *just in case* he knew someone who was
doing it who might not be totally aware of the risk. A "new" fad often seems
safer than the old "bad" things.
I also let my kids know that it is not okay with me if they do x, y or z -
not because I'm p***ing in their wheaties, but because I love them. As they
get older they can make their own decisions, but until then, it is my job
as a parent to do what I am able to do to keep them safe and out of trouble.
My .02 - Laurie
"Huffing" has been going on for decades, as was previously mentioned.
Refrigerant, spray paint, you name it and they have probably tried it.
FWIW, I think those "keyboard cleaners", and other similar sprays are
134A refrigerant. You can't vent it when working on car a/c, but they
can use it for that-- go figure. A few years ago I bought 2 of those
Ronco glass frosters at a second hand (junk) shop for $3 each--two full
cans of R12 for $6. They were like regular aerosol cans, where you
pushed down on a stem in the top to dispense.My side puncture can tap
fit just fine. I used one to recharge a friend's freezer after fixing a
leak they caused -- broke the cap tube while moving the box. Stlll
working AFAIK. Still have the other can. Larry
Like the wise man said.... you can't fix it AFTER they did something where
they didn't know the outcome.
Talking to your children BEFORE is just a wise thing to do... just like
under age pregnancies. You can't undo it after they're pregnant, but you can
prevent it by talking to them!
Why is it a sick teenager who won't take a prescription pill that will
make them well, will happily consume an unknown concoction from
someone they don't know? And pay for the privilege?
And why is it that the same people who worry about healthy food and
food additives seem to be the same ones who use recreational drugs the
And I who give not a thought to food additives** have never taken and
would never take any illegal drug, and avoid prescription drugs too..
**Until the recent food problems. Now I give a teeny thought.
"Huffing" has no doubt really happened at some point in history, but I
expect this is rare enough to be considered an urban legend.
R134a is an inert narcotic gas you can buy cheaply and legally at Walmart.
Great for humanely euthanizing small pets.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.