I want to point out a relatively new provision of the International Mechanical Code and the International Residential Code – a requirement for locking refrigerant caps. In the International Residential Code the provision reads “M1411.6 Locking access port caps. Refrigerant circuit access ports located outdoors shall be fitted with locking-type tamper-resistant caps.” Since the IRC has become so common across the country, there is a good likelihood that your area requires locking access port caps. If you are like me, that may come as a surprise. The primary reason for the requirement is to discourage people from releasing the refrigerant and huffing it to get a quick high. Before you all go out and start snorting refrigerant, let me first tell you what it does. Basically, it deprives you of oxygen and you feel lightheaded and dizzy as a result. That is all the high is - dizziness from oxygen deprivation. Since it deprives you of oxygen, too much for too long and you die. Since refrigerant is heavier than air, once you have filled your lungs with refrigerant, it is hard to get it to leave so you can replace it with air. I first heard of this way back in the ‘70s when people would do just about anything, including smoking bananas and sniffing refrigerant. I thought it had gone away with so many other crazy ideas of the 70’s. However, there is an alarming increase in the number of people sniffing refrigerant. The mother of a teenage boy who killed himself huffing refrigerant has founded an organization called UPROAR which works to prevent similar tragedies. So where can you get these caps? They are available at wholesalers and also online. You can read more about them at NOVENT, or AirTec. Here are a few links to different tragic stories where people died from inhaling refrigerant.
UPROAR - many stories on this site.