Watch Out for A/C and Heat Pump Thieves

Watch Out for A/C and Heat Pump ThievesAlthough prices vary by the minute, in common with all commodities, the cost of copper trends upward. This means the value of scrap copper also increases. While this may be good news for the market, it can be bad news for homeowners. A/C and heat pump thieves are increasingly targeting externally-located condensing units to harvest the copper coils inside them. Your A/C or heat pump condensing unit can be gone in seconds.

Even though you’re likely to receive an insurance settlement eventually, the claims process can be draining. Inconvenience doesn’t end there. Your family will be uncomfortable until the unit is replaced. Your home could be left without electricity if the thieves simply hack through the unit’s power supply. Given that thieves often target unoccupied dwellings, this could result in inconveniences ranging from missed TV programs not being recorded through to the loss of everything in your freezer. To top if off, if you have an older heat pump or A/C, you’ll very likely have to upgrade to an entirely new system, and not just replace the outside unit. Most new A/C or heat pump condenser/compressors are not compatible with older evaporator/air handling systems.

What can you do to protect your investment?

• Visibility and Access. Locate your equipment where it’s not readily visible to passing traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular. Simply planting a screen of vegetation can obscure visibility, at the same time also providing attractive new landscaping. Consider whether your condenser could be moved to a less accessible area; often, the unit can be moved to an elevated location. Beware, however, that a hidden condensing unit, if discovered, will provide cover for a would-be thief. Pick the location carefully.

• Enclosure. Proprietary air conditioner cages, typically manufactured from well-enforced solid steel, afford basic but highly effective deterrence. Because of a cage’s immediate visibility, thieves often simply pass by the protected unit in search of easier pickings.

• Electronic Protection. Alarms are available that monitor voltage supply and refrigerant pressure. The system interprets electrical interruption or catastrophic pressure loss as indication of tampering, and sounds a warning siren. Such units can also be tied into your home security systems.

Powers Heating and Air can help you beat A/C and heat pump thieves. We can advise you on reducing your exposure by relocating your equipment. We also supply and install security cages and watchdog alarm systems. Use our ‘Contact Us’ page to schedule a consultation for your Peachtree City area home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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