HOW TO PREVENT THEFT FROM YOUR HVAC SYSTEM
Keeping customers and employees comfortable is a crucial aspect of successfully running your company. According to Knapp Schmidt Architects, a commercial HVAC unit will normally cost anywhere from $10 to $20 dollars per square foot. This means your HVAC system is also a large financial investment. There are several reasons why HVAC units are prime targets for thieves and steps you can take to secure your units.
Why are HVAC Units Targets for Theft?
There are several reasons why HVAC units are often tempting targets for thieves.
- Valuable parts – Most HVAC units have copper coils that are easy to sell to recycling companies and junk yards. Copper theft currently exceeds $1 billion each year.
- Easy to transport – Many units are small enough to be easily taken after all lines and cables have been cut. Some thieves often take just specific copper parts.
- Often not visible – The units are often hidden behind buildings and away from well lit areas, making it easier for thefts to go unnoticed.
How Should You Secure Your HVAC Unit?
Several steps can be taken to help secure your HVAC unit and hinder theft.
- Keep the area well lit – Installing lights are a relatively inexpensive way to deter theft.
- Invest in a security camera – The sight of security cameras may be enough to keep many thieves away.
- Install an alarm system – There are alarm systems that are able to monitor certain aspects of an HVAC system. For example, an alarm can specifically monitor if a refrigerant line has been cut.
- Use a cage or fence – Investing in a strong cage is probably the best way to secure your HVAC unit.
- Install a tracking device – You may want to consider installing a GPS tracking device. This may be necessary for your most expensive units.
What Should You Do if Your HVAC Unit is Stolen?
If your HVAC unit is stolen you’ll need to contact the local authorities as quickly as possible. It’s also necessary to find out exactly what has been stolen if only part of the HVAC system has been taken. You’ll need to determine what will need to be repaired and if the entire system will need to be replaced. Some lines that are cut can be open longer than others before serious damage occurs. This will depend on what type of refrigerant is used.
It’s important to have a general plan of action and a list of steps that will be taken in place before a theft occurs. This may include making sure your business has adequate insurance coverage in case your system is stolen.
How Can You Prevent HVAC Thefts?
According to Safewise, a business is four times more likely to be broken into than a home. Besides providing a variety of security measures specifically for your HVAC system, there are other general steps you can take to prevent theft. All fences and gates surrounding your company must be locked and secured at all times. Ladders to roofs that have any HVAC units or equipment must be taken down and securely stored after being used.
Make sure all employees are properly trained and educated regarding your company’s procedures. Sometimes the simplest steps are the most effective.
You need a mechanical contractor with the experience and expertise to handle all of your HVAC needs. Therma has over fifty years of experience working with HVAC units in a variety of industries including high-tech, manufacturing and food processing. Contact Therma to find out how they can provide you with high-quality HVAC service.
By Stasia Decker-Ahmed
Stasia Decker-Ahmed is a former educator, freelance writer and author. She has been writing articles and blogs on a variety of topics including legal, technology, and business-related subjects.