Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Heat Pump Theft: Protecting Yours From Copper Thieves

Your heat pump or A/C represents a major investment for your home, and it’s full of copper, whose price has surged in recent years. Copper theft has become more and more common, and thieves take it from plumbing, wiring, air conditioning and heat pumps in residential and commercial settings.

Copper prices rose during the construction boom of the early to mid-2000s, as demand rose for all new construction materials. Since the housing bust, the prices have stayed relatively high, and a pound of copper now nets between $3 and $4 a po09.26.13und, making it an attractive product to steal, and also because it’s virtually untraceable.

Heat pumps and A/Cs usually have outdoor condensing units that sit on the ground or roof. In a matter of minutes, a thief can remove the copper tubing and wiring inside the outside cabinet, rendering your system useless. Because it’s so uncomfortable and potentially dangerous to go without the benefits of conditioned air throughout the summer and winter, the best way to protect your system from theft is to install a cage around it.

These cages use ventilated metal screening, so the heat pump or A/C continues to have all the airflow across the condensing coil that it needs. They’re secured to the slab the condenser sits on, but homeowners and HVAC pros can access them. Cages also have two other benefits, including protection from refrigerant huffing and wind damage.

  • The summer monsoon and strong winter storm systems can bring high winds with them. When you have a heavy-duty cage covering the heat pump or A/C’s condensing unit, you lower the risk of damage from flying debris.
  • Refrigerant huffing is a practice conducted mostly by young drug abusers. They unscrew the caps on the fill valve for the refrigerant and inhale it to get high. Not only can it be fatal to inhale, you’ll have to have an HVAC technician recharge your system, a task that’s not cheap.

If you’d like to learn more about protecting your heat pump from copper theft and other hazards, contact Hansberger Refrigeration & Electric Company. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for Yuma area homeowners since 1952.




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about heat pump theft and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock