NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Homeowners and business owners are installing a device onto exterior air conditioners to deter copper theft.
The little device, which has been around for awhile, is now used to monitor air conditioners and any unusual activity around them.
"I would have to replace the entire unit because, when they go in, they demolish it," said Pat Garmezy of Garmezy Media in Nashville.
Lately, thieves have had their eyes on air conditioners to resell their copper components.
To prevent copper wiring from being removed from her AC unit, Garmezy decided to install a pressure switch.
"If the Freon is lost by either cutting it or breaking the copper, in any part of the system, it will activate the security system, " said Chad Harrison of Lee Company, which services all brands of heating and air conditioning equipment.
Basically, the pressure switch acts like an alarm for residential and commercial air conditioners.
"If someone happens to get over this fence and starts messing with the air conditioning unit, the device not only sends a signal to the alarm company," H said, "it also lets everyone in the neighborhood know something's going on."
It costs a couple of hundred dollars to install the device.
"It's a lot better than replacing the unit," Garmezy said.
Replacing an AC unit could cost close to $10,000.
The copper crooks hit several businesses next to Garmzey Media; one business owner had three destroyed AC units.
Fences help but three businesses near Garmezy Media now use the pressure switch on their air conditioning units.
Experts said there's no way to disable the switch, and most of the time it's hidden inside the unit.
It should cost less than $200 to have the switch installed, but users to also pay to connect it to their security system.