Protect Your HVAC System Against Copper Theft

December 18, 2013
Ross and Witmer

More than ever, homeowners are reporting the theft of their outdoor HVAC system equipment due to the rising price of copper. For Charlotte area homeowners, the copper theft of your outside heat pump and air conditioner units will not only spoil your week, but it can cost you upward of several thousand dollars. However, there are ways for you to protect you and your home from copper theft.

Where It Began

The recent issues with equipment theft first began in 2007 when certain metals like copper saw a price increase. Today, copper fetches more than 60 percent of its pre-2007 cost. This has increased demand for scrap copper and has led to a national problem as copper thieves increasingly target power lines, wire, water pipes and residential HVAC system equipment for their scrap cash value. This can make a tempting target for thieves wanting a quick amount of cash.

Protecting Your HVAC System

Copper theft is especially a problem for homeowners who live in more isolated areas or have their equipment located in easily reached locations. A popular tactic for thieves is to simply back up a van or truck to outdoor equipment, cut away any attaching tubes and wires, load the outdoor unit into the vehicle and drive off.

To prevent this from happening to you, consider taking one or more of these precautions:

  • Install motion detection lights or an alarm system.
  • Construct a locked gate or fence around outdoor HVAC equipment.
  • Spray paint the copper tubing inside your equipment. While this won’t deter the actual theft, it will raise suspicions when the thieves try to sell the copper and may lead to their capture.
  • Don’t use shrubs or other barriers to obscure your equipment, as they can provide a cover for thieves.

For more information on protecting your home and equipment from copper theft, or for other HVAC solutions, contact the experts at Ross & Witmer. We’ve proudly served North Carolina homeowners since 1945.

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