There’s a new trend in crime that homeowners should be aware of – heat pump and A/C theft. Thieves are targeting your air conditioner and heat pump condensing units for their scrap copper value. These thieves run up to the outside unit, tear out the copper, and leave the torn-up shell behind. Or else they load the entire condensing unit into the back of their truck and drive off. The copper coils and other metal inside the cabinet is worth around $80 on the scrap market.
The damage to your system, however, will cost thousands of dollars to repair because at the very least the entire outdoor unit will have to be replaced. More likely, the whole unit will be out of action, since it’s nearly impossible to find a new outdoor condensing unit that will work with an older inside evaporator/air handler.
Copper theft is a crime of opportunity. Making your heat pump or A/C unit hard to get to or hard to find will send a thief on to easier pickings.
The cheapest way to protect your unit is by hiding it behind bushes or other landscaping. This will obscure the view from the road. However, some experts advise against this strategy, especially if you live on a well-trafficked street where landscaping will provide cover for thieves.
Moving the air conditioning unit is a secondary option. Locate it out of the sightline of potential thieves, behind a locked fence if possible.
Connecting your unit to your home security system is another option. A home security contractor should be able to do this for you. Placing motion lighting above your outside condensing unit also will discourage copper theft..
Put up security cameras. They will act as a deterrent because copper thieves will not want to get caught on camera. They will also give you the evidence you need to file a police report and insurance claim.
The most secure choice is adding a locked air conditioner cage. Their thick metal construction is almost impossible to remove or destroy in a short amount of time.
To learn more about preventing heat pump or A/C theft in the Fresno area, please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about a/c theft and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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