In recent years, thieves across the country have started targeting the outside units of residential split-system central air conditioners. They’re specifically interested in the copper coils and other metal components of the outside unit. In some cases, they’ll strip the compressor and condenser unit of its valuable metal right on site. In other cases, they’ll drive up to it, cut the lines, and haul the whole unit away to be stripped at another location. Luckily, protecting your A/C unit from theft isn’t rocket science.
How to Protect an Outdoor Air Conditioning Component
Following are five effective tips for discouraging thieves from stealing half of your home’s cooling system.
- Anchor it – Build an immovable concrete pad for the outside air conditioning unit. This will require more than simply pouring concrete; a pit filled with separate layers of gravel and concrete is the way to go. Secure the unit to the pad with heavy-duty bolts that will make a very loud racket if anyone tries to cut them.
- Lights – Outfit your home with motion-sensitive lights that will shine brightly if they detect anyone near the outside unit.
- Install a security system – Some of these systems sound a loud alarm when the system’s refrigerant lines are cut — something that will likely happen if anyone tries to rip off the outside unit. The security system also can be connected to your home’s general security system.
- Buy a special steel cage – A cage with a lockable hatch to provide access for repairs and maintenance will cover and protect the condenser/compressor from thieves.
- Strategic placement – In some neighborhoods, this means placing the outside unit in a fenced backyard with a lockable gate, ideally protected by a loud dog. However, if you live on a street with a lot of traffic, some experts advice installing the outside unit in plain site of the road. Not many thieves are willing to commit their crime in easy view of passing cars and pedestrians.
For more tips on protecting your A/C unit from theft, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We serve Northwest Arkansas with pride and dedication.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about A/Cs and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “preenutPN/Shutterstock”