The price of scrap copper is creeping up toward three dollars a pound, to say nothing of other types of scrap metal. That could be bad news for Sacramento homeowners. That’s because your HVAC unit is a prime target for theft and resale. Even a failed attempt can lead to extensive damage and expensive HVAC repair. Follow these tips from Ace Plumbing to protect your home and your investment!
Why is Your HVAC Unit Vulnerable?
The odds of someone stealing your AC unit and installing it lock, stock, and barrel at their own home or office is slim. However, that’s not what the typical thief is looking for. Instead, they’ll just strip the unit, selling the parts or scrap. That may not seem terribly cost-effective to you (they’ll get a few hundred dollars at most, and usually much less than that), but remember, they didn’t pay thousands of dollars for the unit. You did; for them, it’s just pure profit.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The fact that this kind of theft is relatively rare will be cold comfort if you happen to fall victim. There are several steps you can take to deter theft. They’re usually inexpensive, and some of them will protect far more than just your HVAC.
Choose a good location: If your yard is fenced in, your HVAC unit should be within the enclosed area rather than outside it. If it’s not currently behind a fence, building a small enclosure won’t take much time or money.
Clear obstructions: Lawn furniture, shrubs, and some kinds of hardscaping act as cover for thieves. Pay attention to your lines of sight, and make sure you’re not giving someone a hiding place if they’re trying to steal from you.
Light the area: Motion-sensing lights that cover the area around your air conditioner can be a great deterrent to theft. After all, thieves rely on stealth. If they think you, your neighbors, or a passer-by will detect them, they’ll often go elsewhere.
Sound the alarm: This problem is common enough that there are purpose-built alarm systems that are triggered if someone attempts to tamper with your system. They’re not exactly cheap, but they cost much less than a new unit.
Secure the unit: There are cages of varying degrees of complexity and coverage that fit over your HVAC unit. The average thief won’t bother with these because of the added time to remove the cage and get at the air conditioner beneath.
Get smart: Some smart homes and smart security systems can monitor air pressure and voltage to the HVAC unit, sounding an alarm or sending an alert if there’s evidence of tampering.
Lock it down: Most thieves will look for the unit’s disconnect box, shutting off power to the unit before getting to work. Putting a simple lock on the disconnect box is an effective deterrent.
Make your mark: Like other valuables, it can help to etch identifying information in a discreet location. It won’t prevent theft, but can aid in recovery or prosecution if the unit is found.
As homeowners, it seems like our challenges never end. We want our homes to be comfortable and safe. We want them to be inviting. But we also need to be aware of the kind of invitation we’re sending. Don’t leave the door open to theft. For help securing your central air, HVAC installation, or air conditioning repair, call Ace Plumbing today.