stop refrigerant abuse - kids with signWASHINGTON — March 15 through March 21 is National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week, and the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE) is urging members of the HVAC community to be on “high alert” for signs of refrigerant abuse.

According to ACE, one in five American teens has used household products — including refrigerants — to get high. Consequences are severe and can result in death (sudden sniffing death syndrome) — even on the first use. 

Watch for the following signs that may signal inhalant abuse:

• Frequent air conditioning repair calls to the same home or neighborhood.

• Low refrigerant charges on equipment that’s not leaking.

• Damaged air conditioning units.

When you spot these signs, share your knowledge and approach homeowners in a considerate manner. Remember, the signs do not confirm abuse and inhalant abusers could be anyone — those who live in the home, or others in the neighborhood. You also can offer refrigerant locking caps to homeowners, and provide brochures to your customers to help raise awareness. You may request free brochures at

ACE also encourages contractors to share refrigerant inhalant incidents. Post them to

Publication date: 3/9/2015