Air conditioners have two major components – the indoor air handler and the outdoor condenser. Both of these must work together to remove heat and humidity from the air inside your home.  Unfortunately, many outdoor condenser units contain metals that can bring thieves a pretty penny, which makes them targets. Here are a few different ways to secure your outdoor AC unit and prevent theft.

Why Do Thieves Want Condensers?

Air conditioner condensers serve a very important purpose. Heated refrigerant that has traveled through the air handler in your home enters the condenser as a vapor under high pressure. The condenser’s job is to allow the refrigerant the opportunity to pass its excess heat through air moving through its fins. This cooling allows the refrigerant to return to a liquid state, where it can then re-enter your home to collect more heat and humidity from the air.

Most outdoor air conditioner units contain a significant amount of copper, which has proven to be one of the best materials to allow for this transfer of heat. Though the price of copper fluctuates, it has gone up significantly in recent years. As of the time of writing, copper prices were just over $3 a pound. Condenser units contain 15 to 20 pounds of copper tubing, which means for every unit stolen, thieves can make $45 to $60. Considering that your condenser costs much more than this, it is worthwhile to protect it.

How to Protect Your Condenser

There are a few different steps you can take to protect your condenser, and each one makes it increasingly more difficult for thieves to gain access to your unit.

As copper prices continue to climb, there is little doubt that thieves will continue targeting outdoor air conditioner units to make some quick cash. The tips above will help you secure your unit and deter the thieves, potentially saving you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars.