Experts say that it takes only 20 seconds to steal an AC unit. So imagine just how easy it is for someone to take your unit, even while you’re at home. It’s positioning on the outside of your house makes it an easy target for thieves, who can be cashing in the copper at the scrapyard before you’ve even noticed that it’s gone. Fortunately, there are many ways to safeguard and protect your AC from theft. Here we have compiled a list to help you avoid a stolen AC unit and know how to protect your air conditioner from theft.
Air Conditioner Theft Prevention Tips
Install a Cage
A great way to protect your AC unit from theft is to lock it away using a metal cage. This technique is one of the most simple and effective methods of HVAC theft protection. The cage secures the unit to either the wall or the floor using reinforced steel that is difficult to destroy.
Thieves prefer the easy route, so if your unit is hard to get to and too much effort to remove, they are likely to be deterred. The twenty seconds it takes to remove a unit is massively increased when the removal of a metal cage has to be taken into account and most thieves won’t bother to put in that effort.
With many people choosing not to cage their AC units, there are plenty of other options available to thieves, so why would they bother to steal one that is protected?
As the AC unit sits on the outside of your house, it is also vulnerable to damage. Those living in tropical cyclone basins may want to consider installing a cage to add an extra layer of protection, avoiding the cost of ac repair for external damage, or complete destruction from things such as falling tree branches.
Add Motion-sensor Lighting Unit
A motion sensor lighting unit can be a great deterrent against theft because the light disturbs the thieves, tricking them into thinking that someone has just turned the light on.
Thieves prefer to work in the dark where it is harder for them to be noticed. Lights that turn on automatically give the impression that the homeowner has detected a disturbance, or that they are coming outside and might be about to catch them in the act.
Motion detectors allow the lights to work for you, acting as a deterrent even when you are not at home.
Add Security Cameras Near the Unit
Although security cameras are a more expensive method of protecting your AC unit, they can be a good investment if you have lots of items on your property worth protecting.
First of all, cameras are a deterrent. Thieves are much more likely to avoid properties with cameras, reducing the chances of your AC being stolen. Secondly, if thieves do decide to pursue, you will have evidence that may help the authorities to find the culprit. In many cases of reviewed CCTV, the thieves are already known to the police and footage can lead to a quick identification and resolution.
Use Tamper-resistant Screws
Tamper-resistant screws have unconventional heads that require unique tools to secure and remove. This makes it harder for thieves that are equipped with the more conventional style of screwdrivers. If the thieves find that they do not have the correct tools they will abandon your unit and move on to one that is easier for them to steal.
Engrave Your Information On It
Engraving your information on your air conditioning unit is another way to protect ac unit from theft. It may be more difficult for a thief to sell the item if it looks like it has been stolen from a previous owner. It can also help the police to identify your unit and get it back to you if they do manage to locate it.
However, it is important to remember that this may not be a great deterrent if the thieves are planning on taking apart your air conditioning for scrap metals. The casing will quickly be discarded and your engraved information will not affect the selling of the copper found inside.
Install an Alarm
Last, but not least, there is the option of installing a security alarm. If an HVAC alarm sounds the thieves will be disturbed and it is likely that they will abandon their operation for fear of being caught. Many air conditioning installation companies will be able to install the alarm for you to both new and existing units. They work by detecting tampering, voltage interruption, or refrigerant loss, sounding an alarm when encountered. Many alarms also alert the homeowner by telephone call if desired.
Although these steps may add another task to your to-do list, it is really worth the effort when it comes to air conditioner theft prevention. Units can be expensive, and filling out insurance paperwork can be even more time-consuming than the prevention methods. Taking the time now to install one of these methods could help you understand how to protect your air conditioner from theft. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.