Unfortunately, copper theft is on the rise as many thieves see the opportunity for easy, ill-gained cash. Copper is a major component in many commercial AC systems. Unlike residences, thieves can easily verify when a commercial location is closed and likely to be completely empty, which makes stealing copper to sell for scrap easier. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate this risk. The following tips can help you protect your AC unit.
Tip #1: Minimize access
If you have the ability to relocate your AC, such as when installing a new unit, consider a rooftop model as opposed to one installed on the ground or low on a wall. This takes the temptation out of the easy view of a potential thief, while also making the AC unit harder to access. Go a step further by ensuring that rooftop access is extremely difficult from the exterior of the building. For example, opt for fire ladders that are raised when not in use, or have ladder cages installed to prevent access from the ground. Do not store items against or near the building that could be used to climb to the roof, as well. Most thieves want an easy heist, so any steps to increase the difficulty will help.
Tip #2: Install a cage
An AC cage is just as it sounds, a metal cage that is placed around the AC and kept locked except for when maintenance needs to access the unit. You can install cages around any type of unit, regardless of location, so this is a viable option if you are unable to relocate the AC to the roof. Make sure cages are securely attached to the ground and that the anchor bolts are not accessible from outside of the cage. Also, ensure that the cage material is strong and resistant to bolt cutters to further dissuade thieves.
Tip #3: Purchase an HVAC alarm
There are actual alarms that can be installed on an AC unit. These alarms sound if the voltage to the AC is interrupted or if there is a sudden drop in the refrigerant levels. You can opt for models that make a loud sound to scare off the thief, as well as silent versions that notify the alarm company or law enforcement. Motion lighting near the AC, in conjunction with an alarm, may provide the optimum solution.
For more help, talk to a commercial air conditioning contractor They can help you devise a security plan tailored to your needs.