A successful thief can earn about $15 to $20 selling the scrap metal parts from a stolen air conditioning unit. The victimized homeowner, however, is left with thousands of dollars in repair costs. Air conditioning systems are prime targets for desperate criminals looking to earn quick cash.
Is your air conditioning system protected? Leaving your system unguarded only makes the perpetrators' job easier. Take actions to protect your unit.
Install a Cage
Air conditioning cages offer a high level of protection from theft. The enclosures are generally constructed with steel or iron and anchored to the ground for extra support. A cage makes it harder to access your unit, and the extra effort is often enough to make a person give up.
Don't try to make your own cage. Professionally built enclosures ensure maximum airflow around the unit. A makeshift setup could restrict airflow. Limited airflow may cause cooling problems, increase energy consumption and cost, and damage the unit.
Ensure the cage is designed for the size of your system. An HVAC technician may have to disassemble the entire enclosure to perform maintenance if the cage is too small or restrictive.
Invest in a Lockbox
Locating the power box is the first step for a perpetrator. Trying to steal an air conditioning system with a live power connection is dangerous. A thief that can't disconnect the power will likely think twice and walk away. You should be able to install a small lock on the door of the box to keep it secure. But make sure it's a fortified lock.
Criminals already have tools on hand to help them remove the air conditioning system. Cheap locks can fail with just a little force from a tool like a screwdriver or a hammer. You should also avoid key locks. When you need to have the unit serviced, it's much easier to locate a lock code than to search for a tiny key.
Install Motion-Activated Lights
Robberies generally happen at night because it's easier to hide and get away undetected. Motion-activated lights can halt a person's plan. The brightness of the light may scare an intruder away as soon as they approach your home. A light on the exterior wall nearest the system provides coverage from every angle.
However, avoid installing the light too close to the ground, such as over a door. A criminal will do anything in their power not to get caught, including cutting the light's wires. Cut down any tall shrubs or bushes near the air conditioning system as well. Landscaping may make it easier for an intruder to hide, even when the light is on.
Inspect the Unit
Every theft attempt isn't successful. Your air conditioning system may have already been a target. Damage to the exterior of the unit and missing or loose screws may signal a previous theft attempt. Quickly take extra steps to protect your unit if you have any suspicions. Have a technician look at the system if there is significant exterior damage.
Your AC unit could have internal damage, even if the system appears to be operating normally. A technician can quickly highlight any potential problems that could cause further damage. Taking a quick glance at the system each time you cut your grass is a good idea.
Don't make the criminals' job easier. Do your part to protect your air conditioning system and your wallet. Whether you have questions about extra protection measures or you've already been victimized and need your system repaired or replaced, at ET Ferrell & Son, we're here to help. Contact us today for all your AC maintenance needs.