In recent years, copper has become more valuable. As the price for scrap copper rises, thieves are tempted to cash in by stealing any copper they can find that isn’t nailed down. This means that heat pump and air conditioner components, which do typically contain copper wiring and coils, are at risk of being stolen, especially considering that they are often outdoor fixtures more susceptible to casual theft.
Keeping Your Copper
Contemporary residential air conditioners contain about $80 worth of scrap copper inside, well worth it to committed thieves. If the outside unit of your air conditioner or heat pump is visible from a well-trafficked street or sidewalk, it has a much smaller chance of being stolen.
Here’s some simple actions you can take to help protect your copper-rich air conditioner or heat pump:
- Motion detection: Thieves generally like to work under the cover of night. Place motion sensors and lights in proximity to your outdoor condensing unit to detect movement and deter potential thieves.
- Mark your copper: Take the time to personalize your copper fixtures. Use spray paint or stamp identification numbers onto copper tubes to deter thieves. These copper bandits are less likely to steal something with clear identifying marks.
- Lock up: If you’re lucky enough to have a fence around the area where the condensing unit is located, ensure that it’s shut tight and locked if possible. A barking dog in the yard won’t hurt either. While a locked gate won’t stop a determine thief, it will present more difficulty than usual and encourage bandits to move on to easier prey.
- Pressure alarms: If you have a home alarm system, consider adding a pressure gauge to your air conditioner. If lines are cut pressure drops and you’ll be notified immediately.
- Dedicated alarms: Those who want to go the extra mile can install a dedicated alarm system tied to your A/C or heat pump condensing unit to immediately detect tampering, voltage interruption or refrigerant loss.
Contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal for more heat pump and A/C protection advice. We’ve been serving Northwest Arkansas for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about copper thievesand other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock