A central air conditioner is expensive to buy and install, and the last thing you want is for someone to steal yours. Few methods are guaranteed to prevent theft, but you can take steps to make stealing it as difficult as possible.
Anchor it to a base
A central air conditioner is a heavy piece of equipment, but that doesn't stop thieves from carrying it away. Make it double the weight and difficulty by giving it a solid concrete base:
- Decide on the location of the unit and determine the size you need.
- Dig a pit the size of the base you want and make it 10 inches deep. Line the bottom of the pit with six inches of compacted gravel.
- Build a form around the sides of the pit made from wooden boards and raise it to five inches above the surrounding ground.
- Fill the form with mixed concrete and place a sheet of reinforced wire mesh over the top, followed by a layer of concrete smoothed off for a surface pad.
Wait for the concrete to cure fully and then install the A/C, bolting it at the base to the concrete pad using sturdy, 1/2-inch raw bolts.
Build a cage around it
Build a cage made from steel bars around the air conditioner. You can purchase cages custom-made for this purpose or get a general contractor to make one for you. The cage should be sturdy with a lockable gate so you can access the unit for maintenance or repair purposes. Ensure the cage is large enough for a technician to remove the A/C cover, if necessary.
Get an A/C alarm
Install a residential air conditioner alarm that contains a siren to alert you if the unit is stolen or damaged. These alarms are designed to trigger if the refrigerant line is cut, as well as if a leak develops in the line and refrigerant is lost. You have the option to connect the alarm to your existing home alarm system, which can use auto-dialing to alert security contacts.
Install motion sensor lights
Purchase motion sensor lights that activate when they pick up movement in your yard. Connect them to a floodlight that illuminates the entire area around the air conditioner for extra security, which will ensure that you can easily see potential thieves near to your home. The sensor lights are inexpensive and simple to install yourself, or you can contact an electrician to handle this for you.
Fence your yard
Erect a fence around your entire yard and install a lockable gate. This will increase your privacy and provide a perimeter to deter intruders. They may still be able to enter your yard, but it will be extremely difficult for thieves to lift the unit over the fence quickly or quietly.
Implement one or more of these measures to protect your investment and give yourself peace of mind that you've done everything possible to prevent the theft of your A/C unit.