Bay Area HVAC: Could Copper Thieves Steal Your A/C Condenser?

It’s no secret that copper prices have been on the increase over the past few years. What does this mean for San Francisco and Bay Area homeowners? Your air conditioner condenser could be at risk of theft. As concerned Bay Area HVAC professionals, we want to help you prevent the potential theft of your condenser, which could end up costing you thousands.

Air conditioning condensers contain copper tubing which can net thieves $1.50 per pound or more. While this may not sound significant for the thief, the cost to you is much more significant. If you have an older A/C unit in your Bay Area home, you may have to replace the entire system. Here are a few suggestions to help prevent becoming a victim:

Install an A/C cage. These cages are constructed of thick gauge steel, and surround your unit while allowing airflow. A secure lock will deter theft, but allow access for maintenance purposes.

Make your A/C less obvious. While it’s clear your condenser must be outside, it doesn’t have to be in plain view. Plant a few shrubs around the unit, but keep them at least two feet away. Most potential thieves won’t want to spend time (and risk getting caught) by having to walk around your property in search of your A/C unit.

Consider installing motion-sensor lights. When a would-be thief is startled by motion-sensor lights, the odds are he won’t hang around. Being illuminated for all to see is a very uncomfortable feeling for a vandal.

Have a home alarm system? Tie the condenser to it. An alarm technician will be able to loop sensor cables into the condenser, which means your alarm system will sound if a thief cuts the condenser. You may want to advertise this fact to potential vandals by posting a sign – most likely the warning sign itself will be enough to run off the thief.

At Ortiz Heating & Air Conditioning, we know how costly it can be for a homeowner when thieves rob your condenser for copper. We recommend using a combination of the techniques listed above to ensure your unit remains intact! We invite homeowners in San Francisco, Hayward, San Mateo and nearby cities to turn to us for all of your home comfort needs!