Nowadays, air conditioners are a part of a large portion of homes as our lives would be pretty uncomfortable without them. However, most of the AC units have either one outdoor component or they are entirely mounted on the outer side of the walls.
This makes them an easy target for theft and, believe it or not, it happens more often than not. Sources say that ACs are mainly stolen because of the copper coils, which are valued highly in some parts of the world. Since we cannot change the way they work currently, at least we can do our best to prevent theft, and here are some useful tips for any household:
Tips for Combating AC Theft
● Good Lighting
● Security System
● Choose the Safest Place
While neither of these is an absolute best, some might be more suited for you than others. Here are some tips on how to best utilize these four, along with some more advice regarding HVAC theft protection…
Lock it up in a cage
While this method speaks for itself, there are several important things to note. Firstly, if you choose to encase your outdoor AC unit in a cage, the bars need to be close enough so to make any attempt of cutting the copper tubing with any standard tool impossible. Naturally, it needs to be accessible enough to still allow air conditioning repair, when needed.
However, having a cage with narrow bar spacing will probably mean the bars themselves would have to be thinner, which makes them more susceptible to cutting. This might sound like paranoia, but since HVAC systems usually contain valuable metals that are an easy sell, depending on the neighborhood you’re in, this might be a regular occurrence.
Also, the lock needs to be very safe and strong, so don’t go cheap. And, lastly, take great care to how you mount your cage, as there are cases where, since the cage was too strong, the criminals simply dislodged it from the wall with a crowbar. This is easily done if they know no one is home.
Adding and improving lighting in the area where the unit is will increase visibility, subsequently increasing the risk for anyone eying it for potential malpractice. The problem with the most HVACs is that they are by default installed in a hidden, tucked away part of the property, out of light and out of sight.
A good idea is to consider motion-sensor lighting, which turns on when movement in the scanned area is detected. Also, a good idea is to make the area where the unit is installed easily visible from the inside of your home and the outside of your yard if you live in a house.
As mentioned, a stolen AC unit is a common enough occurrence. Proof of that is that now we have HVAC security systems, developed specifically to guard the devices against theft. The HVAC alarm system is separate but can be synchronized with the standard home security system if you have one.
These systems have advanced options and some can be set off to trigger in case of several occurrences, such as when the device is manually shut down or if the pressure level of the refrigerant drops. This helps prevent theft or it might even prevent potential malfunctions, saving you on future air conditioning repair bills.
Choose the Safest Place
Out of all HVAC theft protection methods, HVAC alarms, cabinet remodelings, the safest method remains the safe mounting. Mounting your AC on a hard-to-reach spot, such as the upper floor wall, will definitely prove the best option.
There is a drawback, where this will also make it harder to access in case of a repair, but it needn’t be so. The spot might be easily accessible during the day, with a ladder, but it might be too much fuss to do stealthy, at night, and without being seen or causing a ruckus.
Since good HVAC systems can cost from around $1000 to even more, considering air conditioner theft prevention is a good idea. Investing in cabinet remodeling, HVAC alarm, or something else might require a bit more money spent, but it can be worth it.
Also, there are insurance plans you might opt for that are there for this sort of thing. But, the insurance carries usually only replace your unit, providing all criteria is met, and they do not increase security. So, this might just lead to more theft and inconvenience for you, since you might stay without an HVAC for days on end.
Usually, it is best to go for a combination of the mentioned methods and just hope for the best. Also, a stolen AC unit is rarely found and reclaimed, so if you are the victim of theft, you might end up needing a new one entirely. So, it pays to protect your device, probably more than you might imagine.
Thanks for reading!
James Watson is a part of the Content and Marketing team at Eliteheatingandac.com.