Innovation aids in preventing air conditioning theft

With copper and aluminum prices at an all-time high, it’s no wonder we’re seeing a rash of stolen air conditioning units around our communities … even the best of neighborhoods.

In less than two minutes time, thieves can literally remove an entire air conditioning unit or “de-bone” a unit. Depending on whether or not you have home insurance, the deductable is usually enough to keep many people from even being able to get a replacement unit. What a shame.

Recently, I came across what appears to be the answer to an ever growing problem. It’s called the AC Watchdog. This unit simply connects to the electrical and refrigerant lines of your air conditioning unit. If the power is interrupted, from someone cutting the power lines for example, BAM! The ear piercing alarm sounds off to warn you, the neighbors and the would-be thieves that the jig is up.

It works the same way on the refrigerant lines running to the unit as well. If anything alters the potential operation of the unit, the alarm sounds and the thousands of dollars you’ve invested in your cooling system stays protected.

Bolting units to the ground and using cages to try and keep thieves out has shown to be just a minor annoyance for the seasoned criminal. A foolproof alarm is much more effective as long as you have someone nearby to hear it, and if you don’t, I’ve even seen these same alarms come with phone dialers to contact the local authorities.

Trying to outsmart the crooks is getting to be a full-time job and so far, we’re staying one step ahead of them. What will they think of next?

Joel Wensley is a licensed mechanical contractor in the state of Michigan, a WJBK-TV Fox2 Detroit news contributor and president of Mechanical Heating & Cooling in Dearborn Heights.