The Copper in Your Air Conditioner Condenser: a Precious Metal in the Hands of Thieves
Air conditioner condenser theft is on the rise. Why do thieves consider this a worthwhile object to steal? The copper tubing inside the A/C condenser sells for about $1 to $1.50 per pound. This amounts to about $20 per stolen air conditioner condenser.
Of course, the cost to replace your outdoor unit is thousands of dollars, and if you have an older split-system A/C, you’ll likely have to replace the whole system as a result of compatibility issues. So it’s certainly worth investing in protection for the outside component. Here’s what you can do. Obstruct the Thief’s View Shrubs and other view-blockers make it harder for thieves to spot the air conditioner condenser from the street. However, this technique can backfire since the bushes can also hide the thief while he does his dirty work.
Install Motion Lighting
Aim the light at the condenser so anytime someone approaches the unit at night, the light shines brightly in his direction and scares him off. Of course, small animals and swaying tree branches can create a false alarm, but as long as you don’t plan on running outside every time the light goes off, this is not a huge problem.
Install Surveillance Cameras
For a chance to catch a perpetrator in the act, consider installing security cameras. Even the presence of a camera’s red light indicating that it’s catching footage is usually enough to make a thief change his mind about touching your air conditioner condenser.
Set Up an Air Conditioner Cage
A thick-gauge steel cage closely surrounding the unit makes it very difficult for thieves to get at the condenser. The cage doesn’t impede airflow and actually provides extra protection against the elements as well. A technician simply unlocks an access door to remove the cage for annual tune-ups. Keep in mind that a tenacious thief can potentially break the lock on the access door, rendering the cage useless. Your best bet is to implement two or more of these techniques to protect your air conditioner condenser.
For more information, contact Sobieski Services. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: Editor B