Home Owners: Beware of Air Conditioning Unit Theft
Prices have fallen on copper but thieves still see a profit.
As a home owner how can you prevent theft of copper from your outside air conditioning unit? Or the theft of your entire unit?
As a home owner how can you prevent theft of copper from your outside air conditioning unit? Or the theft of your entire unit? Copper is a key component used in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. Despite its necessity, a thief can steal the copper coils or the entire A/C in a matter of minutes.
In the past few years the industry has seen a huge shift in the way thieves are stealing the copper from A/C systems. A short time ago, thieves would only steal the copper coils. Regulations have become strict on scrap yards. Now these measures are in place in most states: Photographing the metal being scrapped, paying scrappers with checks instead of cash and only allowing salvage yards to accept scrap metal from licensed businesses. Thieves are finding it easier to steal the entire system and then sell it on the underground market. Back when thieves would sell the copper coils for scrap, they would get $60 each. Now, taking that same unit out intact and selling it on the underground market could net them several hundred up to a thousand dollars per unit.
1. Install an alarm system. There are several air conditioning and heating specific alarm systems, designed with copper theft prevention in mind. These systems will alert you with a phone call that your unit is being tampered with and can alert your security company and make a call to the police instantly.
2. Install security cameras. Not only will this deter would-be thieves, it will also aid police in capturing those who participate in the crime regardless of cameras, and possibly lead to the return of stolen property. At the very least, it will help prevent future robberies.
3. Install lighting around the air conditioning or heating unit. While this may not be the most fool-proof way to prevent theft, if an area is well-lit it is certainly less appealing to someone looking to engage in thievery discreetly. Also make sure you know the terms of your home owners or commercial insurance policy against this type of theft and loss.
4. Install fencing or a cage around the unit. Installing a fence around outdoor units makes it less accessible, meaning a potential thief may just move along to the next available unit. Cages designed to fit around an air conditioning or heating unit are also available, made so that air flow is not restricted. If you restrict airflow or allow the build-up of debris, the unit will not operate efficiently.
Arundel Cooling and Heating is a leading installation and service company in the Baltimore area serving Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and beyond.
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- Contact Information
- Jeff Greer
- Operations Manager
- Arundel Cooling, Heating & Electrical
- (1) (443) 457-1060
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