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Valuable Copper Components Make Your A/C a Target for Theft

prevent A/C theft

Because central cooling systems contain a good deal of copper, it’s wise to have a plan in place to prevent A/C theft. This will deter and possibly prevent someone from irreparably damaging your outdoor condenser to take the copper coil. Air conditioners are the second leading target for thieves who steal copper.

The condensing coil in the outdoor condenser is an easy target for theft, as it can be removed in about five minutes, plus it’s untraceable. Coil theft may require you to replace your entire A/C system since the air handler and condenser have to match each other perfectly.

Here are some ways to prevent A/C theft.

Locked Cage

Your HVAC contractor can place a locking steel wire cage over the outdoor condenser. It won’t slow the airflow the condenser needs to operate efficiently, and you’ll have a key to open it for periodic cleaning and professional maintenance.

Refrigerant Sensor

The thieves must cut the refrigerant line to remove the copper coil, and when the refrigerant starts to escape, it will trigger an alarm.

Security System

Using a wireless motion detector that broadcasts a signal to a main panel will help prevent A/C theft. Features on wireless security systems vary, but most include indoor and outdoor sirens. If you have pets or animals that roam your neighborhood, select a motion detector designed for use around pets.

Security Camera

You can place a fake or real security camera near the condensing unit to deter theft. Some fake cameras have operable red LED lights that turn when motion is detected. Some wireless and WiFi cameras will record the activity, helping law enforcement track down the perpetrators.


If your home’s condenser is in plain view from the street, consider placing a fence around it. Leave at least four feet of space on all sides for full ventilation.

For more on how to prevent A/C theft, or for other air conditioner solutions, contact McDevitt Air at 877-692-9402.

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