Skyrocketing prices for metal, especially copper, have turned a minor problem into an epidemic. Working in a claims service office, I am exposed to constant conversations regarding stolen air conditioning units. These air conditioning units are being stolen for their scrap value. I have heard of air conditioning units being stolen for residential, commercial and industrial customers. The thefts have been to both ground and roof mounted units. No one is immune from this epidemic.
I have a large service account that was renovating a building for a new tenant. Over a weekend, they had seven industrial air conditioning roof-top mounted units stolen. The total loss was $20,000 per unit or $140,000. They have replaced these units and are in the process of having them protected by their central station alarm company.
Preventative measures can be taken to protect your outside air conditioning units. The following are several methods. The method that you use will depend on the location of your unit and you budget.
- Lighting - Installing lighting on the air conditioning unit will deter theft
- Obstruction - Hiding the air conditioning unit behind hostile bushes
- Padlock & Chain - Will slow down theft of entire unit, but will probably not prevent stripping of the unit
- Metal Cage - Enclosing the air conditioning unit with a protective cage
- Fence - Fencing in the unit will delay and possibly prevent theft
- Moving A/C Unit - Relocating to a less accessible or visible area
- Alarm - The air conditioning unit can be alarmed and monitored by a remote or central station
I have linked several websites regarding A/C unit protection methods. These websites were included to provide protective method information. These website should not be considered a product endorsement.
Thomas Russell is a Senior Risk Control Representative with Westfield Insurance. He has over 30 years experience in the insurance and safety industry.