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AC Copper Theft Prevention - Air Conditioner Cages Vs AC Alarms - 9/17/09


Currently the prices of scrap metal are four times their previous values, which has resurged the illegal market of Copper Theft.


Copper has been a popular chose in heating, air and water applications for decades because of its costs and durability; however, with an economy in a recession, the values of precious metals and raw materials have increased drastically since 2003.


AC Alarm - A security alarm used on an air conditioner that sounds when refrigerant lines are cut, power is lost to the unit, or electrical wires are cut. These theft deterrents devices can act as stand alone units with connected sirens or be tied into existing security monitoring devices.

Air Conditioner Cage - A protective case/shell that surrounds an air conditioning unit. They are made out of durable material, such as steel, and are secured to ground / building by use of bolts or concrete. *Hinges and lockable rails provide access to the unit for maintenance and repairs*


A/C Alarms offer similar benefits to home alarm systems: provide audible alert, supports multiple spaces, offers notification through auto dialing a phone number and playing a message, and have little to no aesthetic effect. The drawbacks of Air Conditioner Alarms are the following: require professional installation, very costly hardware, and little protection from physical theft.

AC Cages offer similar benefits to burglar bars in a residential or commercial residence: physical protection against damage and theft, easy installation that can be done by the average handyman, and low hardware costs. The drawbacks of an Air Conditioner Cage are the lack of notification of a possible copper theft attempt and a noticeable aesthetic change.


AC Alarms and Air Conditioner Cages both provide copper theft protection; however, an AC Cage is the most beneficial for both residential and commercial applications. They provide better protection against physical removal, vandalism and copper theft by encapsulating the entire unit. Air Conditioner Cages don't require any wiring, alarms, power of security detail to protect your expensive A/C unit.

The installation is very straightforward and does not require a professional for most applications. The only criticism is the look of the A/C cage, but new companies such as AC ARMOR have designed the next generation of cages that look good and still offer the highest level of copper theft prevention. Clients in tornado or hurricane areas also get the added benefit of extra damage protection during peak storm season.

Air Conditioner Cages offer the most bang for the buck in copper theft protection, and just their presence is enough to deter the most skilled thief.

A special thanks to Mr. Phillips for allowing us to interview him. Burton Phillips is a prominent builder in Atlanta and co-owner of AC Armor. Having decades in the industry, he has seen what copper theft and AC vandalism can do.

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