A/C Theft on the Rise: How to Protect Your Property

If you keep up with the local Atlanta news, you may have heard that there’s been an increase in copper thefts in DeKalb County: over the past several weeks three churches and three libraries have had their A/C units stripped of the valuable copper inside.

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The condenser units of central air systems that are located outside of homes and businesses represent easy, quick money to copper thieves. According to a Nashville insurance company, it can take as few as three minutes for a copper thief to flat out steal an A/C unit. Each commercial unit stolen can represent $100 or more in copper, which thieves can sell to any scrap yard.

Unfortunately, the few hundred dollars the thief can get equals thousands of dollars in damages for homes and businesses.  For DeKalb County’s Hillcrest Church of Christ, the 5 A/C units stripped totaled nearly $90,000 in damage.

The air condenser’s outside locale makes them more susceptible to thievery. Homeowners in neighborhoods with lots of activity and good lighting have some protection against thieves just because of the amount of people around. But if you own a business, you may feel concerned about the hours where your business is left unattended.  Here are four steps you may want to consider to protect your A/C unit:

  1. Install Good Lighting. Thieves may be less likely to approach an air conditioning unit that’s located in a well-lit area. Place spotlights directed at your A/C unit that turn on during the late night and early morning hours.

  3. Lock Your Box. All outside condenser units have a fuse box attached to the wall of the building. This box can be opened to cut the inside power to the unit outside. You should make sure that your fuse box is made of steel and has a lock or key code to protect it from vandals. If you have fuse boxes tied to one another, make sure that their connection in protected by steel pipe rather than by PVC pipe, which is easy to cut through. These small measures may throw off thieves and send them on their way.

  5. Consider a Cage. Some business put up aluminum fencing around their A/C units, but these fences are easy for thieves to infiltrate. If your business is in an area that’s at risk for theft, you might want to consider installing an A/C cage. These cages enclose an A/C unit and are bolted into the concrete slab the unit sits on.

  7. Install a Security Camera. While a camera won’t necessarily prevent theft in and of itself, it can provide valuable information to law officials in the case that a theft occurs.

Though these cases of A/C theft in the greater Atlanta area are disturbing, they aren’t so widespread that most people need to be concerned. Far more likely is the possibility that your A/C will quit on a hot Atlanta day because you haven’t had a proper maintenance check in years.

Whether you need preventative service, emergency repairs, or new cooling equipment following a theft, Gagne A/C is here to help light commercial businesses and homes in the Alpharetta and metro-Atlanta region with their heating and cooling needs, all while keeping you up to date on the latest news and how-tos in air conditioning.