In recent years, scrap metal thieves have discovered easy pickings: your home’s external air conditioner unit. Material harvested from our outdoor AC condenser are worth a small fraction of the entire system, but that doesn’t stop thieves from pirating a vulnerable unit for next to nothing.
Most of us have our homes insured against robbery, but it may still be worthwhile to get proactive to discourage or prevent such an event from happening to your house. Upgrades that can safeguard against theft of your valuable AC equipment may cost lower than your insurance deductible. And, preventing theft from happening in the first place will ensure you’re not lingering in stifling heat while you wait for a check from your insurance provider, and for the new unit to get installed.
If there have been reports of air conditioner or plumbing metal robbery in your area, it’s a great idea to establish security measures now. Many local police departments have online databases you can search to see what sorts of crimes are being committed in your area. You ‘d be smart to find out more and be prepared before it’s far too late.
Cage it Up
One of the most effective preventives to theft is a strong cage installed over the condenser unit. These rarely cost for than a few hundred dollars to have one expertly installed. A high-quality, strong enclosure makes things difficult, and take a long time, to steal a condenser, causing the thieves to move on to lower hanging fruit.
The most important factor to remember: make sure any enclosure is designed to allow the greatest air flow around the AC unit. Common cages are designed to allow this, so you would be wise to purchase a professionally installed unit. If the condenser can’t expel the warm air effectively, your system’s energy efficiency will suffer and possibly break too soon.
Consider installed a hinged cage that uses a padlock. This will allow quick access by HVAC service techs when it’s time to perform maintenance or repairs on the equipment.
Next on the list is security lighting around the AC unit. Not only will it help prevent theft of your AC, it could also function as a deterrent to other crimes. Even the most thieves will avoid a brightly lit area, even though it takes just a few minutes to steal a typical AC condenser.
Take Advantage of Technology
Some of today’s home security systems have products that can communicate with the ac system directly. Some work by simply monitoring the flow of electrical power and/or coolant through your AC, then transmit a signal to the security system if there’s a disruption. Sounding a loud alarm or calling the police automatically can help keep your AC system from theft even when you’re not at home.
Bare It All
Check the area encompassing your a/c unit condenser to ensure there is no foliage or natural growth that would allow someone to hide. Even things like lawn furniture should be relocated so there are open sightlines to your air conditioner. An added perk is the AC unit will be able to breathe easier without being crowded by overgrowth.
When a thief steals copper or aluminum from an AC condenser, that doesn’t always mean it’s a total loss. You want to give yourself a chance to recover any stolen equipment, and the very best way to do that is to scribe or etch your family name and the unit’s serial number into the metal in a hidden spot. Also be sure you have that information saved somewhere for easy access should you need to supply it to the local police.
While air conditioning isn’t a necessity in our modern lives, it’s sure is a great comfort. Don’t be inconvenienced by theft of your outdoor AC condenser unit. If you need help moving or installing a new unit that mysteriously disappears, call us at (937) 226-9675 or use our convenient online scheduling page for quick, reliable service.