Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect utopia. There is deceit and crime around, so we must protect what is ours. Air Conditioner thieves aren’t out to steal the whole units, just the copper coils inside. Copper is a common stolen metal along with aluminum brass and bronze. Metal theft increases during times when the scrap metal prices go up. Due to the rapid industrialization of India and China, this has become the case.
An Easy Job, Easy Pay
Stealing copper from an air conditioner takes less than five minutes. The criminals will drive up to your house, jog over to your unit and snip, snip snip, they are back in the car and on their way to the next house. The low difficulty of the crime and the availability of targets makes this an attractive venture for the underbelly of society.
Protecting Your HVAC Unit
There are several things you can do to keep your AC unit safe from thieves:
- Anti-Theft Screws: You have probably seen these before. The idea is to create screws that don’t have conventional key-shapes so a conventional drill wont be able to remove them. However, Security bit sets can easily be purchased at a hardware store or the Internet so their protection has been nullified for the most part. There are companies out there, luckily enough, that sell custom unique key shapes and bits, such as Bryce Fastener. No one else in the world will have a drill bit out there that will work on these screws.
- Air Conditioner Cage: This product is exactly as it sounds. It is a physical cage that surrounds your ac unit to protect it from theft. It is an excellent choice for AC protection.
- Air Conditioner Camouflage: This is a good idea even outside of security purposes. Air conditioners aren’t the most attractive hunks of machinery out there. Put a wall of tall growing bushes around hit to hide it from the road. However, remember to keep those bushes trimmed and several feet from the machine itself. Branches and sticks can obstruct the internal workings of your unit and cause costly damage.
- Neighborhood Watch: Keep an eye out for your neighbors. If everyone takes an interest in neighborhood security a lot of these problems can be solved. This doesn’t require a formal neighborhood watch program, just stay vigilant!
- Surveilance: There are a number of security cameras out there that can be purchased. One particularly funny idea is to buy a Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler or two, AND one of the various fog shield products. Both operate on motion detectors. So, when someone approaches your AC unit in the night, they will be blasted by water, and enveloped in a thick dense fog! Take that ne’er do well!
Not Hard to Thwart
Because of the readily available supply of targets and product to steal, a copper-thief isn’t going to want to spend a whole mess of time at one house. If you can delay them a couple of minutes, chances are they will give up and move on to easier prey. Why waste time with the house with a cage when there are so many without? With just a little bit of security you can keep your copper where it belongs, in your unit.