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Stealing Copper From Air Conditioning Units – Huge Issue

Well, we never thought we’d be blogging about this particular air conditioning topic but, unfortunately, it seems to be an on-going theme these past few summers: Copper Theft.

In case you’re wondering where a thief would even find copper in an air conditioner, we’ll give you a little background about copper evaporator coils. All window, central air and industrial-sized air conditioning units use cooper evaporator coils to remove and evaporate humidity from the air, thereby cooling homes and offices.

Technical jargon: The hot freon gas that is compressed by the unit’s compressor  travels through the evaporator coils and releases its heat. Once the freon gas cools later on in the process, it flows through another set of coils to take in heat and pump cool air through the vents.

In English: Without those copper evaporator coils, your air conditioner is useless.

Unfortunately, thieves steal the copper from the units and sell them to scrap metal dealers for cash. The irony is that they get a couple hundred dollars for the metal, but cost home and business owners thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and replacements. Last year alone, police in a city down south had almost 800 reports of damaged ACs, and another city quintupled their metal theft unit.

We, at Interstate Air Conditioning & Heating, have experienced this thievery first-hand. We had three different clients call in complaints about their air conditioners not working and, when we got there, saw that thieves had stolen their copper evaporator coils! These coils are not cheap to replace, and can take days or even weeks to be installed during hot summer months when supply houses are swamped with air conditioning companies purchasing items left and right!

If you think your home or office is in danger, do what we had our clients do — have your steel contractor install steel bars around the unit, caging it in. It’s less expensive than security cameras and will fend off most amateur thieves.