HVAC Invents Anti-Theft Alarm to Deter and Prevent Theft of Air Conditioning Units

Published on May 1, 2007 at 5:56 AM

With the theft of residential, business and even roof top air conditioning units on the rise, an Indianapolis company has taken the problem to heart. Mike Barger, owner of Loyal HVAC has designed and applied for patent of a small self-contained condenser alarm system to deter theft and vandalism. "This alarm will minimize the number of stolen air conditioning units, deter theft and alert to vandalism," states Barger. Being in the heating and air conditioning field for over 27 years, Barger has witnessed first hand senior citizens, those on fixed incomes, renters, builders and homeowners suffer the loss of air conditioning units to theft. To replace an air conditioning unit is a burdensome expense whether it is being responsible for an insurance deductible or in the unfortunate circumstance of no insurance coverage to pay for the loss.

The self-contained condenser alarm designed by Barger is small, easy to install, weather proof, tamper proof, rests inside and is securely mounted to the air conditioning unit and is equipped with a 120 db siren. The alarm does not need to be connected to a home security system. There is no AC power needed for the alarm because it runs on a battery which is recommended be replaced yearly when having maintenance performed. Installation will not void the manufacturer's warranty on the air conditioning unit and is transferable to another air conditioning unit in the event the homeowner relocates. If an attempt is made to move the air conditioning unit in any manner, the alarm goes off and alerts the unit has been tampered with.

The goal was to design an alarm that would be both economical, efficient and deter thefts.
Thieves are very creative. Driven by the all time high scrap value, steel, copper, aluminum and other precious metals theft is at an all time high. Vacant homes, rental properties, apartments and new home construction have long fallen victim causing an unnecessary and burdensome expense to replace. Thieves canvas neighborhoods watching for "for sale" or "for rent" properties, break in and destroy the home's interior removing copper piping. Thieves will also rent under assumed names, remove the precious metals inside and out and disappear without a trace.

Theft of air conditioning units have become increasingly popular and are on the rise because of the copper and aluminum contained within. The units are being stolen entirely or by unscrewing the top and removing the guts leaving the metal casing. New construction areas and vacant houses are increasingly falling prey because of units sitting unwatched. Businesses are targets because the units are located at the rear of buildings where there is no activity. Roof top air conditioning units are also popular for thieves however it is a bit more difficult because of having to not only remove the unit or the metal within but the time it takes to get away. Residential air conditioning unit thefts are easy prey occurring during the day when no one is home and also at night when people are asleep. In most cases the thieves can get away in a matter of a few minutes. "Thieves are getting bolder in the theft of air conditioning units and it only takes a matter of minutes," states Barger. "The goal was to design an alarm that would be both economical, efficient and deter thefts."

Barger offers the following advice to every homeowner with air conditioning units:

  1. Get to know your neighborhood. If you think someone doesn't belong, call the police.

  2. Planting bushes around an air conditioning unit to hide it from open view is not advisable. Doing so can starve the air conditioning unit from getting the amount of air it needs to work properly.

  3. Erecting a fence around an air conditioning unit is also not advisable because it doesn't allow enough room for air movement and/or does not leave enough room for the service technician to work.

  4. With the theft of air conditioning units on the rise, the first line of defense to prevent theft is to alarm the air conditioning unit.

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