If your air conditioner isn't performing the way it should be, it may be because someone has tampered with the freon in your unit and you may be shocked why.
Teenagers are stealing it to get high.
Surveillance video captured by a Cypress homeowner shows teenagers huffing the freon out of someone’s AC unit to get high.
The video sent to us shows them returning 3 times within a 20-minute period.
Stacie Allphin, from the Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center, said 1 in 6 kids is going to try huffing or sniffing an inhalant before they reach 8th grade.
“It’s really the 14 and 15 year olds that start out using the inhalants because it’s available and accessible and so if you look in your cabinet at home where you keep all your cleaning supplies, you’d be surprised at how many things are in there that kids will take out and huff and inhale to get the buzz. There’s a nice little dizziness thing but the bad news is that you could huff one time and it could kill you, or cause brain damage, heart attacks, permanent damage to your liver and kidneys,” said Allphin.
Treating a freon addiction is similar to treating any other kind of drug addiction, but Stacie said the brain damage can be much more severe and the withdrawal period generally lasts a bit longer.
Unfortunately, the use of inhalants will not show up on a drug test, but there are signs you can look for.
“A child’s going to appear dizzy, sometimes real glassy eyed, might be slurring, and you’re going to notice a smell of chemical on their breath or clothes,” said Allphin.
Or you might even notice that your AC isn’t performing like it should.
“It reduces its performance so it doesn’t have the capacity that’s required to perform its job and cool adequately and could cost more to operate. Through the years we’ve had leaks that we couldn’t find, and that’s generally an indication that you have a huffer or a sniffer in the neighborhood,” said Ken Taylor from Air Depot.
If your freon valve isn't locked, it's very easy for someone to access.
“You can see on all of these units there is a port for access for your gages on each side, and these little caps just unscrew and there’s the access and they have a little bicycle valve and they press that and it comes right off,” said Taylor.
So, what can you do?
A cage around your AC unit will not protect your freon valve. What you need to do is buy a lock for the valve, and that will prevent people from stealing your freon and getting high.