Heat Pump And A/C Theft? Yes, It’s on the Rise

Posted On: October 10, 2013

With the rising costs of scrap metal, especially copper, it’s no wonder that your outside heat pump or A/C’s condensing unit is considered a valuable item by burglars and thieves. Plus, since the unit is sitting out there beside your home, it’s hard for would-be rip-off artists to miss.

Why Do AC Units and Heat Pumps Get Stolen?

Although a condensing unit may seem a most unlikely item for someone to steal, it has a high payday attached to it. At $2.50 or more per pound due to copper and other metals inside the appliance, a thief can get little over $80 for what’s inside your heat pump or air conditioning unit. The payout for the thief is relatively low but can end up costing homeowners upwards of $5,000 to replace. If your A/C or heat pump is older than three or four years, you’ll likely have to replace the whole system, including the inside air hander/evaporator.

How to Protect Your Heat Pump or Air Conditioner from Theft

  • Install an air conditioner cage to keep thieves away from your outside unit and its valuable innards. Many construction companies and homeowners around the country are investing in these protective cages. However unlikely you may think air conditioner/heat pump tampering is in your neighborhood, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your insurance company may be able to help with the cage’s cost and installation.
  • Consider getting an alarm system that acts as a deterrent to air conditioner tampering and theft. Although being in a quiet, low-traffic neighborhood may seem like the ideal environment to protect yourself again burglary, it could be the perfect place for petty thieves to get their hands on your condensing unit that’s out in the open. Having an alarm system in place that monitors spikes in your unit’s voltage and can be routed to dial emergency services or police is another way to keep thieves at bay.

Finding a protective cage on your own may not be a difficult task but installation and getting consultation for an alarm system may require the help of a trusted professional contractor. For the most reliable HVAC service in the Metro-East area, including the communities of Bethalto, Edwardsville, Troy and Alton, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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