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Tips for Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Theft

Residential AC InstallationA brand new split-system air conditioner costs thousands of dollars in Spring AC services for the equipment and installation, but thieves have been stripping them of parts for payouts as low as $10. Most of the time, thieves target outdoor air conditioning condensers rather than indoor air handlers as they are easier to access, and even though the copper coils indoors are relatively valuable, typical condenser copper is worth just $10 to $30 at the local recycling yard.

A typical coil replacement from your local Spring air conditioning repair company could cost $1,000. If the entire condenser needs to be replaced, you’re looking at $2,000 to $5,000. Fortunately, a few inexpensive preventive measures can secure your air conditioner from theft.

Relocate the Condenser Unit

Thieves like privacy, and a condenser located in your backyard is a more attractive target than one located to the side of your house, which is visible from the street. Moving an existing condenser is possible, but it is typically easier and more affordable to relocate the condenser when replacing your entire system.

Install a Security System

Just like privacy, thieves prefer darkness. A good way to ward off would-be thieves is to install a motion-activated light near the condenser. If you have an existing light fixture near the unit, replacing it with a motion-activated light is a breeze.

Lock the Disconnect Box

Your air conditioner has a number of disconnect boxes, which allow Spring AC services technicians to quickly cut power to the unit. Thieves also need to cut the power to avoid electrocution, and securing the box with a $10 lock makes it more difficult to safely remove the coils. Just don’t lose the key or combination to the lock, or you will end up paying hundreds of dollars for a Spring AC services repair to replace the entire disconnect box.

Build a Fortress Around the Condenser

The most effective theft prevention strategy is also the most expensive. A metal cage can make your condenser all but impossible to access, and we recommend one with a metal grate or mesh, which prevents thieves from sticking their hands through the cage. However, you cannot simply build a box around the unit. It requires unimpeded airflow to properly function, and you will likely end up damaging the compressor or other equipment by enclosing the condenser unit inside a plywood or solid box.

Want to find other great tips to secure your HVAC equipment, save money on utility bills, and keep your air conditioner running at peak efficiency? Check out Air Depot’s Spring AC repair services, or give us a call at 281-477-3700 today!

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