Copper Theft Can Cost You Bigtime: Here’s How

copper theftAs if Long Island summers aren’t hot enough already, some thieves are determined to make things hotter—by breaking into air conditioning units to steal the copper inside. As the price of copper continues to rise, the value of scrap copper also increases, leading to a greater amount of copper theft from wire, water pipes and even air conditioning across the nation.For approximately 30 minutes of work and often after dark, criminals can expect to pocket about $80 to a $100 from a standard sized residential air conditioning unit by taking the metal in for recycling. Once gutted and stripped of its copper, replacing an air conditioning unit could cost thousands.

If you have a lot of activity around your home, and your air conditioning unit is visible to the street, you probably don’t need to have much concern. But, if it’s blocked by bushes or foliage, or you live in an isolated area, it may be a problem. How can you protect your air conditioner from unscrupulous thieves? Here are some simple ways to keep your HVAC unit from being stripped:

  • Mark the copper – Spray paint sections of the copper with a bright color. Because copper tubing and coils rarely have any markings on it, it’s difficult to know where it came from. However, recycling companies often won’t accept copper with markings and will call the police on people who bring it in.
  • Install motion lighting – By adding motion lights around your home near your air conditioning unit, you discourage criminals who prefer to work in the dark.
  • Install an alarm – Installing an alarm system specifically designed to monitor individual condensing units will stop theft in the process. The alarms immediately detect voltage interruption, refrigerant loss and tampering, and when activated, initiate a phone dialer, other security devices, and sound an extremely loud siren.

For more information about how to keep your air conditioning system safe from opportunistic copper theft criminals, contact the home comfort experts at T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating.

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