AC unit theft is a big problem, especially during the blazing hot summer months – and especially if you live in a street level apartment in a major city. However, you can also have your AC unit stolen if you live in a quiet cul-de-sac community. Not only do HVAC units provide ideal cooling power to beat the heat in the summer, they also come with numerous parts – including copper coiling – that can be resold for a premium. A thief can make an average of up to $200 for each air conditioner if it is dismantled and sold to a copper recycling plant. However, the homeowner is often left having to pay thousands to replace the unit. Here are some effective ways for homeowners to prevent AC unit theft.
- Enclose it in a cage. This is by far one of the best measures to take when it comes to theft-proofing the copper inside the unit. A cage is usually prebuilt and you can purchase a unit from any number of HVAC suppliers. The cage comes with heavy-duty wiring, metal bars, and a lock, so that you can count on it being secure.
- Purchase a sensor alarm system. If you have a home security system, you may want to include your air conditioning unit with that system. Basically, your home security system gets extended to the air conditioner, so that if anyone tries to steal the unit, the alarm goes off. If you don’t have an alarm system, it may be wise to invest in one, especially if you are having a rash of copper thefts in your community. In some cases, you may be able to find a relatively inexpensive system that will alert you when someone is trying to make off with your AC.
- Install a motion sensor light. Another way to scare off potential thieves is to install a lighting system that goes off when someone tries to damage your AC unit. These lights can be installed using minimal hardware or construction knowledge. These lighting systems utilize the power of motion sensors to turn on when someone crosses the line of activity – it can make thieves think they have been caught and then scurry off.
- Hide the unit. Instead of placing the unit in the front of your home, you may want to think about placing it to the side or in the back. You can also use trees to deceive the location of the AC unit. Plus, thieves are less likely to go through all the trouble of stealing an AC unit when it is in a hard to reach place – it will make too much noise and thus getaway won’t be clean.
- Place a camera above the AC unit. It may also help to place a camera above the AC unit. A camera can make sure to catch thieves in the act and it could bring them to justice. However, a camera is also a great deterrent. In the end, if a copper thief sees a camera above the AC unit, he or she won’t spend the time trying to steal it.