Most of us are honest people, and would never dream of walking to our neighbor’s house and helping ourselves to whatever they left out the night before. Unfortunately, there are those who make a living by stealing from vulnerable residential dwellers, and it’s up to each homeowner to secure his or her things to keep that from happening.
When we think of things that would typically be stolen from someone’s yard, images of hoses, bicycles or lawnmowers pop into our minds. Unfortunately, there is a problem that is starting to increase in frequency in the warmer climates, like right here in our state, and that is the theft of air conditioners!
Each day, homeowners are engaging their central air conditioners and finding that nothing happens. Eventually they have to make their way to the actual unit, only to find that it has been taken completely away! The attraction to thieves is that there is a good amount of copper inside the units, which they can strip out and sell to the local scrap yards. Sadly, the amount of money they may glean from one AC unit is about $100, which is only a fraction of what it costs to replace the unit with a new one.
In many cases a residential air conditioner is an easy mark, especially if the homeowner is gone on vacation, or if the home is vacant for any amount of time. Because the units are generally located outdoors, they are easily accessible and it only takes minutes for the theft to occur.
For the victimized homeowner, they have to face the substantial financial loss of the equipment, and if they end up filing a claim with their insurance company, there are usually high deductibles to deal with and an increase of insurance premiums because they made the claim in the first place! There is also the mental trauma of having been violated at the hands of an unscrupulous thief.
How can this relatively new form of theft be avoided? Fortunately, some states are clamping down on scrap yards to require proof of the origin of the copper and scrap metal being sold. The list often includes aluminum and copper, as well as condensing parts and evaporative coils from heating and air conditioning units. Other items on the “proof of purchase” list that are commonly sold at scrap metal yards are manhole covers, guardrails and even shopping carts.
In order to avoid becoming a victim of air conditioning theft, there are a couple of measures you can take. First, there are security cages that can be placed around the AC unit that can be locked and secured. Just the sight of one of these rugged cages is enough to keep the thieves from making an attempt to steal your unit, whether you’re home or not. These security cages are available from Penguin Air, and serve as a great deterrent for would-be thieves.
Another way to dissuade the mal doers is to relocate your air conditioner to another area of your exterior that cannot be easily accessed, secured by a fence or other obstacles that would prevent easy access and a quick exit. This includes the idea of mounting it on the roof.
There are those who have found it effective to place motion activated security cameras (whether real or fake) and motion activated lights, along with a sign warning thieves of that they are on camera. If you don’t have any security measures in place for your AC unit, give us a call at Penguin Air and we will be happy to review the options you have.
If you have been the victim of an AC theft, we can get it replaced quickly at a very reasonable cost, and help you secure it for the future so as not to experience the same problem again. We carry all major brands of air conditioners, and we can update your system to assure that it will provide you with maximum efficiency throughout the year.