Copper theft from HVAC units has become a daily occurrence in the United States, and this costly crime can shut down your buildings and facilities. The selling price of copper has risen approximately 60% since 2007, and thieves have seen the potential, targeting churches, schools, businesses, and even homes.
The copper from a large unit can often sell for around $100 – but can cost a facility manger or building owner thousands, in addition to the potential disturbance to business or spoilage of perishable goods.
Fremont Insurance and Hartford Steam Boiler are working to inform owners to take precautions to protect their equipment from vandals and thieves. Here are some recommended tips:
- Install motion lights and an audible alarm around your property/equipment. For about $300, alarms are available that can monitor refrigerant pressure and alert an owner when lines are cut or leak.
- A similar alarm is available that activates a siren when an attempt is made to move an outside AC unit.
- Wireless GPS products designed to track AC equipment if stolen are available.
- Even though thieves have stolen AC parts from locked areas, fences around units or roofs with gate locks can help deter many thefts. Keep in mind that poorly designed enclosures can impede service personnel and block air flow that is necessary for AC units to operate properly.
- Video surveillance equipment may also deter thieves or help authorities investigate and apprehend those responsible should a theft occur.
- Spray paint copper lines with a bright color. Thieves will see the lines as marked and traceable and will be less likely to steal it. Metal recyclers often question marked metal.