As the price of copper has risen, so have reports of air conditioning theft. That’s right — that outdoor component of your air conditioner, the condenser/compressor, has copper and aluminum in it worth as much as a couple of hundred dollars at a scrap metal yard, making your compressor an attractive target for thieves.
Typically, thieves may strip the unit of metals if they have time and a location where they’re hidden from view. Thieves in a hurry may just grab the entire unit, either to strip it later for copper and other metals, or to sell it as an air conditioner — often, to people who’ve lost their compressors to theft or vandalism.
Fortunately, there are ways you can safeguard your HVAC system. Here are some of them.
Lock it Up
Securing the compressor in a stainless steel cage is one of the lower-cost options available to the homeowner. High-quality cages made from stainless steel stand up well against theft attempts or even tumultuous weather. Add a good quality lock that is resistant to cutting or picking.
Alarms are an attractive option for a homeowner who doesn’t like the look of the cages. Technology for A/C alarms varies. You might also acquire a sticker that signals the air conditioner is protected by an alarm, even if it isn’t.
You may want to add a motion-activated camera near the air conditioner. Floodlights or motion-sensing lights near the A/C are also helpful in deterring theft.
Hide Your A/C
If your compressor is located in an area where it’s easily visible to all who pass by, consider moving it to the backyard. If that’s not possible, make it less visible by planting shrubbery or adding a wooden fence around it. If you have a chain link fence around your backyard, replace it with a tall wooden fence (at least 6 feet high). The tall wood panels are more difficult to scale and will hide the unit from view.
For more on securing your HVAC system, contact CCAC. We serve Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC system security and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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