How to Secure an Outside Air Conditioning Unit From Thieves

Written by michael davidson
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How to Secure an Outside Air Conditioning Unit From Thieves
Some thieves will dress like repairmen to avoid suspicion. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Air conditioners are often stolen because the metal contained in them -- copper in particular -- can be sold. An unsecured air conditioner can be removed in minutes by a well-prepared thief and it is important to protect your investment against compromise. Outside air conditioners are more susceptible to theft since they are simpler to get to and don't require the thief to illegally enter the home. Securing an outside air conditioner against theft requires regular diligence.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Security cage
  • Exterior lighting
  • Alarm signs and stickers
  • Security cameras

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  1. 1

    Lock a security cage around your air conditioning unit. There are cages designed specifically for this purpose that are difficult to cut off and the AC unit cannot be removed with it on. A thief is likely to forgo the hassle and move on to another unit that requires less time and effort.

  2. 2

    Turn on your exterior lights at night to keep the AC unit well lit. Thieves prefer to work in darkness to reduce the risk of being seen or captured. Lighting acts as a deterrent that will keep many thieves at bay.

  3. 3

    Talk to your neighbours about establishing a neighbourhood watch program if one doesn't exist already. Put signs up around the neighbourhood declaring the neighbourhood watch and report any suspicious activity to the authorities to keep possible thieves out of your neighbourhood and away from your air conditioner.

  4. 4

    Place an alarm sticker on your air conditioner stating that an alarm will activate in the event of tampering. Thieves want the easiest targets possible and stickers promising an alarm will often keep thieves away even if the alarm doesn't actually exist.

  5. 5

    Move the power shutoff switch for the unit away from the unit itself, if the switch is nearby. The thief will need to cut the power to remove the AC unit safely, and the longer that takes to accomplish, the less likely the thief will go through with it.

  6. 6

    Install security cameras in the area where your unit is located and place them high enough that they can't be reached from the ground. Post signs stating that cameras are recording.

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