Protecting your A/C unit from theft will discourage burglars from taking the copper found in the outdoor condenser’s coil. Copper theft continues to be a problem; many area homes have central cooling systems, and the copper within can easily be recycled for cash. The price of copper is still high, making unprotected A/C units an attractive target.

How to Protect Your A/C’s Outdoor Component

Following are five ways you can begin protecting your A/C unit from theft:

  1. Put it in a cage – Your HVAC contractor can place a steel wire cage that locks over the unit. The cage won’t block any of the airflow the outdoor condenser needs to exhaust the heat from your home.
  2. Install an alarm – You can install an alarm that will sound whenever the refrigerant pressure drops in the condenser. The copper coil inside the condenser contains the refrigerant and as soon as the condenser line is cut, the refrigerant will escape. These alarms also go off in the event of a refrigerant leak, giving you an early warning to have the unit serviced. Refrigerant leaks can have serious consequences for your cooling system. Low refrigerant can make the indoor evaporator coil freeze over, which may stress the compressor to the point where it breaks. Without the compressor, your A/C won’t run.
  3. Install a motion detector – Solar or electric motion detector lights are helpful at protecting your A/C unit from theft at night.
  4. Add a security camera – A security camera placed in the line of sight of the condenser will deter a theft. If you don’t want to go to the expense, install a fake camera. Some have LED lights and follow movement.
  5. Lock the backyard gate – Even though a fence is a deterrent, it’s fairly easy to wrestle the condensing unit or its coils out through the gate. If you lock the gate, thieves may still be able to jump your fence and throw the copper coil over, but it will take more time, discouraging them from entering your backyard.

For more information about protecting your A/C unit from theft, contact Wolff Mechanical. We provide award-winning HVAC services to greater Phoenix homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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