Air conditioning systems are a popular target for thieves because the condenser coils and refrigerant lines contain copper that’s worth a few hundred dollars when scrapped. Air conditioners are often placed out of public view for aesthetic reasons, so it is easy to quickly strip the system and carry the valuable portions away. By protecting your A/C unit from theft with the following suggestions, you can avoid the high repair bills associated with the crime.
- Have your HVAC contractor secure your A/C unit to a thick concrete base during installation. Not only does this help eliminate theft, but the base also helps keep your system level for proper operation and separates it from nearby plant growth that could interfere with the system’s airflow.
- Have your HVAC contractor install an A/C alarm on your system. An A/C alarm attaches to either the power supply or the refrigerant lines and notifies you or your security company if it detects a loss of power or a refrigerant leak, both of which may indicate an attempted theft.
- Prevent easy access to the A/C unit. If it is located in your back yard, consider fencing in the yard and using a locking gate. If fencing your yard is not an option, consider fencing in the A/C unit itself, making sure the fenced area is large enough to maintain proper airflow to the system.
- Install bright, motion-activated lights to discourage nighttime thefts, and consider adding an inexpensive security camera to prevent thefts during daylight hours. Make sure the camera is not easily accessible to prevent thieves from damaging it.
- Install a cage around your A/C unit. Heavy steel cages are available from many suppliers or can be easily fabricated and are one of the best ways to protect your A/C unit from theft or damage. They surround the entire A/C unit and can easily be opened for system maintenance.
For more tips about protecting your A/C unit from theft, talk to the HVAC professionals at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We serve the entire San Diego area, as well as the southern Riverside County.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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