The thought of thieves and crooks might bring up images of someone breaking in, and stealing valuables such as electronics or jewelry. However, there is something outside of your home that’s just as valuable to thieves: copper.
Located inside the air-conditioning condenser is copper piping, and often, copper wiring inside the service box. Sometimes, copper pipes and wires can be found on unfinished construction sites where internal goods are exposed.
As the price of metal, even scrap metal, continues to rise, thieves have learned to target these outside areas where copper lives, so they can sell it elsewhere. Of course, it’s an inconvenience to discover a vital part of your appliance missing, however the cost of damage could cost you up to $3,000—more than 100 times what the copper is worth.
Prevent these thieves from stealing your copper with a few simple steps.
Use Hilti nails through the bottom of the condensing unit, leading into the concrete pad. Once it is secure, wear down the corners of the bolts so they are impossible to remove with a wrench. This step will make the air-conditioner and the concrete pad one piece, so someone would have to steal the entire thing to get the copper.
It might be worth your while to look into a device that hooks onto the refrigerant lines and connects to the alarm system in your home. If a thief cuts the refrigerant line, the alarm will sound and alert the security service.
Another good idea is to use a heavy mesh that will cover the condenser coil opening. This metal mesh will prevent the coils from being cut out and stolen. However, when purchasing the mesh, make sure the openings are large enough to allow for airflow.
With these few steps, you can protect your home and appliances from outside thieves searching for copper.
(Flickr Photo by Beige Alert)
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Pipe Gripes is written and published by Thompson Plumbing Heating & Cooling