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A/C And Heat Pump Theft

Updated on September 3, 2016

How to prevent it.

Recently a friend who owns his own home had his condensing unit motor stolen from his A/C unit. After seeing all the trouble he went through to get it replaced i thought it would be the perfect topic to write about. Maybe this will help someone else keep this from happening to them.

With the rising value of metal it is important to protect one's residential air conditioning units from copper theft. With the economic conditions the nation currently faces, the worst is being brought out in many people, causing them to take things that are not theirs in an attempt to gather a little extra cash.

This is a fairly new problem that most people are completely unaware of. It is accruing in every state and every city and it does not seem to be limited to certain areas of affluence.

  • The AC compressor that serves your home includes a large amount of copper and other metals, making it an easy target for thieves.

It does not matter if the unit is strictly the condenser for air conditioning or serves as a heat pump, the units themselves cost thousands of dollars and also require a disconnect, line sets to the furnace and wiring. Since all these materials are made of copper, they are an easy score for the thief.

In addition to the cost of the materials themselves, owners must also consider the costs of labor, which are increased even more after the theft because the illegal actions of others now require the owner to replace copper and wiring that would have normally been reused when replacing a unit due to its age.

The replacement of a unit wrecked by copper thieves is costly to the homeowner and insurance carriers. Since these units are outside of the home they are not often considered simply because they are not always seen. The old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind" applies here, as owners do not miss the unit until the system no longer cools the home.

Another way to think of the matter is that most occupants refuse to leave vehicle doors unlocked in the drive to prevent theft of a $200 stereo or other personal item while they are sleeping at night. However, every night, this single piece of equipment that provides comfort for the home in both winter and summer is left outside and not protected. This does not make much sense if one thinks about it. While residents may not worry about the unit thinking the insurance will cover the cost, most of the time, the deductible leaves homeowners with a big bill. In addition, turning in a bill for $5,000 to the company is sure to increase the cost to insure a home, just like turning a vehicle wreck in on the automobile policy.

Ac cages
Ac cages
Air conditioner cage
Air conditioner cage
Ac cage
Ac cage

Here's what you can do:

  • One option in protecting these units is to use custom residential air conditioner cage.
  • Many insurance companies are even offering help with the cost and installation of the cage.

With the current economy and the price of scrap copper getting ever more expensive per pound, the problem will not go away soon and insurance companies find prevention the cheapest option.

Contractors are adding an air conditioner cage to units in new construction around the country and they should also be installed in existing homes as well. They look good, offer a visual deterrent and provide a physical barrier between the unit and the would-be thief.

If a thief visits a neighborhood and one vehicle is locked while the one next door is not, the one most likely to be broken into is the unlocked one. If a cooling unit is protected with an air conditioner cage and the neighbors is not the unprotected unit is most likely to be vandalized and stripped of copper.

Residents who must deal with vandalism of residential units find the copper is removed and they must pay the $1000 insurance deductible in order to have it repaired. In addition, the cost of insurance is increased. An air conditioner security cage can prevent theft of the copper in the compressor of your AC unit. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.


FBI: Copper Theft Threatens U.S. Infrastructure


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    • profile image

      Ali 2 years ago

      Neighbors hot tub was stripped for copper they even took rope Christmas lights. I was concerned about my heat pump and came across this sight. Thank you so much I will sleep downstairs with the dogs until a cage is installed.

    • Joseph Grant profile image

      Joseph Grant 4 years ago

      Alocsin, Thank you for the comment. This is my first hub and i think it turned out great . Hopefully more hubs to follow.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Yikes, something else to worry about regarding my A/C. Thanks for the warning. Voting this Up and Useful.