Tips on how to secure your AC and protect your investment
Reported thefts of central air conditioning systems aren’t unheard of in the Houston area. In fact, in 2014, several homes in Katy, Texas, had their residential A/C systems stolen right out from under them in an apparent string of thefts. In these cases, the homeowner didn’t realize that their system was gone until they went to turn on the air conditioning and nothing happened. Insurance likely covered the losses, but in at least one case the homeowner was forced to pay a $3,000 deductible to have a new system installed.
AC units are an easy target for thieves since they are positioned outside your house. Stealing an AC unit takes little time, and before you know it, it can be gone, and you are left to pay for a costly replacement. Fortunately, homeowners can follow some simple tips to safeguard their AC units from thieves.
Why do people steal air conditioning systems?
Thieves are usually after the copper in AC units, which has increased in value over the years. Once thieves get their hands on your AC unit, they scrap it for a few dollars and nothing more. The thieves benefit from a few dollars while the homeowners incur huge losses.
How to protect your air conditioner from theft
Cage your AC with a wire fence
If your air conditioning unit is located outdoors (as most central AC systems are), it’s susceptible to theft. Building a wire fence or cage around it will make it more challenging to tamper with or steal. To reinforce the strength and security of your AC cage, you can also use concrete blocks to weigh it down. When a cage surrounds your AC, it discourages thieves from stealing it because it will take longer and not be worth the hassle. Keep the cage closed at all times to prevent theft.
Reinforce AC security with technology
HVAC companies have taken advantage of modern technology to devise alarm systems that improve AC security. The special alarm systems detect any voltage interruption or tampering. The alarm systems can alert you or the police and issue a siren if they detect your AC unit is being tampered with.
You can also install security cameras, which can act as a theft deterrent. When thieves know they are being watched, they are less likely to breach your property. If thieves do steal your AC unit, the security camera footage can help track and identify the people responsible.
Install and update outdoor lighting
An effective lighting system on your property will improve your overall home security and protect your AC from thieves. When fixing lighting fixtures, ensure you prioritize the area around the air conditioner or install a spotlight that points directly at it. You can also install motion-sensor lights to improve the lighting security further. Adequate lighting will discourage thieves from entering your property since they will be more visible.
Keep your gate and all entrances locked
Keeping your property locked at all times will discourage strangers from entering and is an excellent way to protect your air conditioner. If thieves don’t know you have an AC system outside, they may not risk coming onto your property in the first place. Additionally, locked fences will deter thieves from entering your property and make escaping much more difficult.
Keep your home surroundings clear
Clear overgrown bushes and trim fences to get rid of places where thieves can hide. Also, clear any bushes blocking the view of the air conditioner. Thieves are discouraged from acting in plain sight as they can easily be seen and caught.
Install GPS trackers to your AC unit
Even if GPS trackers don’t prevent thieves from tampering with your AC unit, they will make tracking and recovering your unit easier. By having the ability to track your stolen AC unit, you can recover your property, have the thieves prosecuted and be compensated for any damages. GPS trackers also discourage thieves from attempting to steal your AC unit because they’ll know they’re likely to be caught.
Secure and restrict access to the unit
If your AC is on your roof, remove any ladders that may help thieves access it. Also, remove any other equipment that thieves can use to break the AC cage.
Brand the AC unit with your information
Marking your AC is another way to improve the security of your AC unit. If thieves are able to steal your AC unit, selling it won’t be easy. Buyers are less likely to purchase items that seem to be stolen. In addition, markings may help identify your AC if the police locate the thieves and retrieve it. However, you should not solely rely on this safety method since the units are usually scrapped.
An air conditioner is quite expensive to replace, and taking steps to prevent and discourage theft is well worth your time and money in the long run.