The Purpose of an Air Conditioner Cage: Why Have It?

Many people often wonder about why people put cages over their air conditioning unit. The answer is because of this fact: It takes 3 to 5 minutes for a thief to remove the copper from an air-conditioner unit that has no cage protection.

Other reasons to have an air conditioner cage involve security and stability. You may not realize it, but your central air conditioning unit is an easy target for thieves. The price of recycled aluminum and copper has increased over the last few years. As a result, AC unit theft is an attractive crime for people who are looking to make some easy money quickly.

It is essential to understand why you need an AC cage and know how and where to install it. There are also different kinds you can buy such as an AC security cage. In addition to its installation, there are also other ways to prevent theft such as putting a fence around an AC cage as well as other methods. It is now fundamental to have an air conditioner cage if you have an outdoor AC unit installed in your home. One main reason is to ensure the safety of your family and home as well as introduce measures to prevent theft.

Why You Need It

You may have already heard of AC unit theft before, but maybe you feel that you live in a safe area where criminals would not do such a thing. Think again. Some thieves are so desperate that they will steal the condenser off of your AC unit because there are copper and aluminum inside. A thief can fetch about $30-$50 for that stolen AC condenser at a metal scrap dealer.

You need an AC security cage not only as a theft deterrent but also as a money-saver versus not having one. For example, most people do not realize that replacing a stolen AC condenser is a significant expense and you will have to deal with maintenance specialists, get cost estimates, possibly have to go through your homeowner’s insurance, and go through other time and money-consuming hassles that could be avoided with the installation of a cage.

Copper Theft

As mentioned, criminals target ac units mostly for their copper content. From 2006 to 2008, 13,000 reported incidents of copper theft occurred in this number increased to 32,000 from 2010 to 2012. In 2016, prices for copper reached two dollars per pound which makes it an excellent motivator for thieves to get cleverer when searching for more copper. It is estimated that stolen copper is cashed in by thieves more than $1 billion annually.

Determine Base and Unit Size

The concrete pad on which your condensing unit rests is something you should pay very close attention. This is known as the unit base. It is essential that you measure the pad to determine how to install a security cage. If your unit was purchased after 2006 on a plastic pad, you should know that these paths are not suitable for securing a cage because they do not provide enough structural support.

You should make sure that your AC unit is mounted on a solid, concrete pad that is at least 3.5 inches thick. There should also be at least 6 inches of concrete that protrude from each side of the unit to include the front and back. When you meet all of these requirements, then you can install your security cage.

To protect your condensing unit, you will need to measure the width, height, and depth, next, measure the top and side and add 4 inches of clearance. Once you have these measurements, you will have an estimated size of the cage you will need to buy or have custom designed. It is essential that you have enough clearance to the measurement so that you can clean the unit without struggling.

Choose Installation Location

The type of cage you will need to buy will depend on the working clearance that can be measured around the unit. The standard fence around ac cage usually has a minimum of 16 inches between the unit and the side wall of the house so that the locking mechanism on the back lower edges of the cage can be operated. If your unit does not meet this minimum distance requirement, you may have to consider a different application. The critical factor to consider is making sure that you have enough room for maintenance when needed.

What Kind of Cage to Buy?

The type of cage you should buy should eliminate any possibility of a passerby or potential thief to get the idea to try and tear your AC condensing unit down to remove the copper inside. The cage should be made of solid steel, and you want to make sure to avoid any pens made of thin or hollow wall metal tubing.

When a potential thief sees your solid steel cage covering your entire AC unit, they will realize that it will take quite some time to cut through solid metal and it would involve using equipment may be heavy, too loud, draws too much attention, or just not available.

Cages are also solidly made so that there are no openings to reach through. This feature is completed by taking three-quarter inch expanded metal and installing it all around the unit. The cage you want should also come with a locking system that a thief cannot easily bypass with a saw or bolt cutters. When you contact one of our technicians, we will be able to provide you with more details about your cage design.

Ways to Prevent Theft

If you want to prevent your AC unit from being stolen or destroyed, you will find that there are many methods you can use to deter thieves. Here are some of the best ways:

  1. Install a fence around the AC cage to prevent it from being a target.
  2. Add outdoor lighting around the unit to ensure that the area around the unit is always well lit and easily visible.
  3. Install an alarm to provide an alert that thieves are nearby
  4. Remove any access points by installing a perimeter fence and removing any ladders that give access to your property
  5. Install a Wi-Fi enabled CCTV camera so you can keep an eye on your AC unit wherever you are

Why Installing an Air Conditioner Cage is the Best Choice

There are two main reasons why installing a cage is the best way to avoid becoming a victim of air conditioner theft:

  1. A cage is cheaper. The cost of a cage is much less than what it will cost to replace or repair a stolen or damaged AC unit. Some damage is so extensive that the costs can be as high as $5000. Most air-conditioners manufactured today use refrigerants that are ozone friendly. If the model that is damaged or stolen is older, the repair or replacement will cost thousands of dollars. You would also be required to replace your in-house system which is also very costly.
  2. A cage is better than using an alarm. Some thieves are even challenged to try and disable signals. A cage will prevent your unit from ever becoming a target because when they see it, they will move on to another one that is more accessible.

Get A Cage to Protect Yourself

We have to accept that in our society, some people will do anything to make some fast cash. It is vital to protect your significant investments to include your AC unit. Give us a call today and let us show you how we can install the right AC cage that fits your needs.