News & FAQ

Prevent Air Conditioner Copper Theft

5/26/2016

Valerie Johannsen
Valerie Johannsen People & Brand Manager

Copper is expensive, but it’s also used in practically everything we use for daily life.  Copper is so valuable and prevalent that many people are willing to risk life and law to acquire scrap copper for sale.  Holding onto and selling your own scrap copper is useful (and recycling old copper is never a bad idea), but it’s important to protect the exposed devices in your home or business that contain copper.  This is partly for your own protection, but deterring spur-of-the-moment crimes can also help to keep people on the straight and narrow.

Protecting Your System

Stealing copper is a risky business, mostly because it’s illegal (obviously) but also because it’s very dangerous.  Removing copper wiring or refrigerant tubing can lead to serious shocks or freezer burns from spraying coolant.  That’s why every obstacle between a potential thief and your air compressor is another less-likely theft.

  • Enclosures are the simplest step for protecting copper.  Installing a fence for your property, while it won’t completely prevent access, is the best way to safely prevent someone from even noticing the compressor for your air conditioner.  You can also purchase an air conditioner cage.  These metal cages are a little pricey, but they’re typically cheaper than a full fence and give a direct obstacle between would-be thieves and the copper inside your compressor.  Although, if you’re looking for convenience, installing a cage around your compressor will require someone to be present to unlock the cage when it comes time to service the unit.
  • Security lighting is a surprising deterrent.  Many people install security lights to illuminate the driveway, front door, and porch.  Installing similar lights that activate as soon as movement is detected can drive away many potential thieves.  Just the threat of being seen will help to keep your home safe.  Even if they aren’t deterred by the lights, a sudden activation will let you know that something has gone wrong, giving you time to call authorities (never confront a criminal on your own).
  • Secure the copper directly.  Marking copper pipes with a permanent mark makes them less tantalizing since they can be traced.  Adding a phone number or other distinguishing mark – be sure to take a photo for verification – makes the copper easier to recover in case of a theft.
  • Install a pressure gauge into the coolant system of your air conditioner.  Connecting the gauge to your home’s alarm system will immediately notify you if there’s a pressure loss in the coolant line from a theft.
  • Improve the security of your neighborhood.  Helping everyone on the street and working together to maintain that safety is the best way to prevent thefts of any kind.  Neighborhood watch programs, educational programs for safety and security, and setting up regular police patrols for the neighborhood will all reduce safety risks for your neighborhood.

Of course, in the event of a theft, having an insurance policy to protect your home is the best way to deal with the cost of repairing or replacing your air conditioner (or any other copper that could be stolen from your home).  At Service Legends, we can help to repair or replace any damage sustained from a copper theft (or other vandalism), but you should always call the police and file an insurance claim first.

Thank you for making Service Legends the #1 provider of residential heating and air conditioning in the Des Moines area. A live and friendly customer care representative is ready to take your call 24/7 at 515-COMFORT (515.266.3678).

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