Advice for Protecting Your Commercial HVAC System from Copper Theft
Atlanta’s HVAC experts at Gagne Heating & Air Conditioning help businesses fend off copper thieves
Business owners be warned: copper theft is on the rise. Steadily increasing copper prices and warming temperatures are believed to be the cause behind the growing number of reported copper thefts all across the country.
Why is copper theft so popular? It’s simple really: cold, hard cash. Thieves can collect a load of copper wiring and tubing, then take it straight to a recycling center and be given a big wad of money. Typically, those who steal copper often frequent large housing complexes with empty houses and construction sites. However, thieves are also targeting local business’s HVAC systems for a quick and easy payout.
Read below for a few tips on how to protect one of your company’s most important investments and stay one step ahead of copper capers who are out to steal from your HVAC unit.
Invest in an Air Conditioning Cage
While they may not be aesthetically pleasing, installing an air conditioning cage can prevent thieves from stealing your entire unit and/or stripping it of copper. A/C cages can come with a hefty price tag (between $400 and $500, plus shipping); however, this is nothing compared to the cost of having to purchase a whole new HVAC system. You may even be able to deduct the purchase of cages from your taxes.
Mark your Copper
If purchasing or installing an A/C cage is not possible for your business, consider marking your copper instead. We recommend painting sections of copper piping with a bright color or company logo. An identifying mark will let workers at a recycling center notice the unusual copper and hopefully notify the police. It is also a good idea (if possible) to write your name, phone number and/or address on the various copper pieces.
Remember to use common sense when handling HVAC components. If you need to remove any coverings, please remember to shut off the power supply at the breaker to be safe. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, you could always have an HVAC technician do it for you during a scheduled tune-up.
Install an Alarm System
Outdoor condensing units can be fitted with an alarm system that prevents thieves from accessing your HVAC unit. Condenser alarm systems will sound at any interruptions in voltage, system tampering and/or loss of refrigerant. HVAC alarms employ extra loud sirens and can even be programmed to call your phone if you’re not on the property.
Set up Motion Lighting
Although an HVAC unit alarm cannot detect motion, you can add motion detection lighting. Hopefully, the alarm – in addition of motion detection lighting – will be enough frighten away would-be thieves.
Put up Cameras
A security system with cameras can work in two ways: First, simply having the system can work as a deterrent and prevent theft from happening in the beginning. Secondly, if you are burglarized, having recording cameras can provide valuable information to the police to help catch the culprits.
Note: thieves have a habit of stealing security cameras to cover their tracks, so make sure these cameras are inaccessible and safe from damage if you decide to go this route.
If you’re in the market for a new HVAC unit or are in need of maintenance to your existing commercial heating and cooling equipment, our Gagne A/C technicians are here to help. Visit us online to see our list of services and schedule an appointment, or call (678) 221-4328. You can also find more information about meeting your HVAC needs via our blog and knowledge center.