Stop, Thief: How to Protect Your Air Conditioner From Would-Be Stealers
Most homeowners will go to great lengths to protect the valuable possessions inside their house. But the features right outside your home need protection, too. Take your air conditioner, for example. Nearly 87% of U.S. homes have air conditioning, but their prevalence doesn’t mean they’re not desirable. Criminals may try to steal scrap metal and valuable copper components from AC units to make some extra cash. Unfortunately, many of the companies that buy these items won’t ask where they came from. And even worse, AC installation or replacement can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars, while the thief will make a few hundred, at most. Even if your home is well-maintained and you never go away on vacation, these looters may try to take advantage. But you can stop them — if you do the following.
Light Up Your Yard
Thieves would rather work under the cover of night so they don’t risk getting caught. You can foil their plans right from the start if you ensure your yard — and especially the area around your AC unit — is well-lit. Motion-sensing security lights can work well here, but a floodlight (positioned in a way that illuminates your air conditioner) will also do just fine. The aim of the game is to make it likely that someone will notice what the thief is up to. Just the threat a lit-up yard can be enough to keep criminals away.
Add a Cage or Fence
Your heating and cooling company may recommend that you add some armor to your unit. There are locking cages you can have professionally installed that will make it virtually impossible for anyone to steal your unit or its components. In addition to locking up the unit itself, it’s also an excellent idea to have a fence with a locking gate around your property. If you already have this installed, make sure that it’s locked at night and that you don’t make it easy for would-be criminals to hop over the fence.
Install an Alarm or Camera
If you really want some valuable peace of mind, you may want to consider installing some video cameras or a security alarm around your unit. Even fake security cameras or signs may be enough to make a thief think twice — though you’ll be better off with the real thing. If you don’t go with the cage option, your heating and cooling company may advise you to purchase an alarm that will sound if the unit is being disconnected or moved. The loud noise and threat of being caught on video can be quite powerful in deterring criminal activity.
Clear Up the View
Remember what we said about thieves liking the cover of night? If you go to the trouble of illuminating your yard, you should also make sure it’s clear of obstacles. You should have a clear view from your home to your air conditioner. In other words, you should cut back trees and bushes that obstruct the view and relocate any outdoor furniture that blocks your line of sight. That may mean rethinking your landscaping plan, but it may be worth the trouble. If these thieves have nothing to hide behind, they probably won’t risk being spotted.
Related read: Getting The Most Out of Your Air Conditioner
If you’ve invested in an amazing HVAC system, you’ll want to do everything you can to protect it. Your heating and cooling company can provide additional insight as to how you can safeguard your unit from thieves and ensure that you’ll be the only one enjoying the money you’ve spent on heating and cooling equipment.
Contact our heating professionals at Home Comfort Experts today to learn about our services. We serve Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan from our 12 locations. Give us a call at (574) 255-4600 to learn about our full complement of heating, cooling and plumbing services.