Many of you have heard about the rash of petty criminals cutting up expensive air conditioning units for the copper & aluminum. Along with being a theft, it is doubly irritating because these fools are destroying HVAC equipment worth many thousands of dollars for perhaps $20 dollars worth of copper. What a waste! Fortunately the police recently caught one of these petty criminals, and they also found proof that the perpetrator had done this many times before. When he was brought before the court, he was charged not just with theft, but also for releasing refrigerant from the HVAC unit into the atmosphere incidental to his theft, which is a serious and separate crime under the EPA regulations. I am happy to report that he was sentenced to 5 years in jail for illegally releasing refrigerant into the atmosphere, but mainly I am happy one of these wastrels got caught and punished. Hopefully this will dampen the enthusiasm for destroying people’s HVAC equipment in the future.
This is also a message for all other non-HVAC contractors–don’t release refrigerant into the air when you are doing demolition on a building! Instead call a qualified HVAC company to come to the jobsite and recover the unwanted refrigerant into a storage cylinder. If you don’t observe this law, you may be looking at a hefty fine or perhaps jail time, as the story above illustrates. MJ 8/21/14