Air Conditioner Cage

Air conditioning unit outside a house with it taken apart and the guts taken or stolen

Best ways to protect your home’s air conditioning system from damage or theft.

When you own your own single-family home there are many concerns that you might have about theft. In this day and time, as much as we like to consider our neighborhood, safe, theft does happen. Your a/c unit can be an easy target too!

What we are seeing in some areas is a marked, or recurring uptick in the theft of copper and other components from air conditioning units.

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If you haven’t experienced it an a/c unit theft, or don’t know someone who has, you are lucky.

What happens is that you come home from work, and find that your home is very warm. You ask yourself why? You then you proceed to reduce the thermostat further. That should do the trick, right?!

Then what happens is…nothing. Yes, you hear the fans of the inside unit running, but no cold air is coming from the vents. The house is not getting cooler.

The next part is the most disturbing part, you go outside to see what is the matter, and you find that the a/c unit is either missing, or substantially damaged. How does this happen, and what can be done about it?

Myself, I have had friends who have had this happen to, as well as work colleagues. It is rarely at an opportune time, since it’s most often during the heat of the summer. Plus it can be VERY expensive!

One fix, and it’s pretty easy is to put a lock on the electrical shut-off box on the unit. You see, from what I understand is that if the thief cannot turn off the power, he or she can’t steal it.

I used the locking the shut-off box method on my own home and it seemed to do the trick. However, I will admit I was always wary of someone just having a good set of bolt cutters with them to cut it off. Those locks are pretty small.

Another method, and I did this too, is to have your a/c unit wired into your home alarm system. Yes, this is pretty extreme, and I suppose it would work to a degree. My home already had that done when I bought it, but it was never tested, so not sure if it would work.

The third method, and the one that I see most often, and that I suggest to my own clients is to have an air conditioning cage installed, or install if yourself. Yes, a cage that sits over the unit, like the one that is shown above.

There are several styles and price-points of cages, and what some of my clients have told me is that you don’t have to necessarily have the best, since they act more as a deterrent, since so few homes have them. The thieves just pass on stealing your home’s a/c unit, and instead go to the next home without one.

Now, I don’t know if going cheap is the best option, you would have to decide. I know myself, when I have bought the lesser expensive item, like a drill or something like that, I usually find that I regret it.

You get what you pay for as they say. In the end, you will want to find the a/c cage that fits your budget, and gives you peace of mind.

To read reviews and see those the several styles that are available, click here. If your budget won’t allow, or you just want to secure it using a lock on the power cut-off, you can see those locks here.

However, if you decide to secure your homes a/c unit, I hope you find that you really never need it.

I have had friends who wished that they had taken the step to secure theirs, and unfortunately that regret is hard to swallow on the hottest days of the summer. When there are no extra funds available for replacement of the a/c unit in short order. Not to mention getting a a/c unit installed in a jiffy on the hottest days of the year.

Have you had to secure your a/c unit, and if so what method did you choose? Post your reply below, perhaps your experience can help others.

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