In the last few years, scrap metal thieves have discovered easy pickings: your home’s external A/C unit. Material harvested from our exterior Air Conditioning condensers bring in a small fraction of the entire unit, but that doesn’t stop crooks from pirating a vulnerable system for peanuts. And who wants to look out the window when you’re firing up the air for the first time in the next few weeks, only to discover it’s gone?
Many of us have our homes insured against theft and burglary, but it may still pay to get aggressive to discourage or prevent such an event from happening to your property. Upgrades that can protect 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 sitting around 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 theft in your area, it’s a great idea to set up 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 check it out and be prepared before it’s too late.
Among the most effective preventives to robbery 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 it difficult, and time consuming, to steal a condenser, causing the thieves to choose to lower hanging fruit.
The most important factor to bear in mind: make sure any enclosure is designed to allow maximum air circulation around the AC unit. Common cages are designed to allow this, so you would be smart to purchase a professionally installed model. If the condenser can’t expel the hot 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 condenser. Not only will it protect against stealing of your Air Conditioner, it could also function as a deterrent to other crimes. Even the most novice thieves will avoid a brightly lit area, even though it takes just a few minutes to steal a common AC condenser.
Some of today’s home security systems have products that can communicate with the air conditioning system directly. Some work by simply monitoring the flow of electricity and/or coolant through your AC, then transmit a signal to the security system if there’s a disturbance. Sounding an audible alert or calling the police automatically can help keep your AC system from theft even when you’re not in the house.
Check the area encompassing your air conditioner 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 lines of sight to your air conditioning unit. 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 best way to do that is to scribe or etch your name and the unit’s serial number into the metal in a hidden spot. 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 an essential need 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 (614) 524-4737 for quick, reliable Family Service You Can Trust.