Whether you’ve languished in the LA June Gloom, sweat through sticky Miami humidity, fry in dry sweltering Santa Fe heat, you know how big of a lifesaver air conditioning can be.
No one wants to have to deal with conditions like those without their AC humming along. From coast to coast and, indeed, around the world, we live by the motto Keep Cool and Carry On.
However, it can be hard to keep your cool when you’re feeling hot under the collar because a burglar stole your AC. Many air conditioning systems are small enough to fit on or near windowsills, making them an ideal target for would-be burglars looking to steal and sell them whole or for parts.
That’s why you need to do everything in your power to make sure that your air condition is well protected.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. On the one hand, your air conditioning unit is a big, obvious target. On the other hand, you hardly want to erect prison bars around your windows just to protect your air conditioner.
What’s more, not all air conditioning units are the same. Some are bigger than others, or differently shaped, and that isn’t accounting for the size and shape of the window or your décor scheme. What works for one air conditioning unit may not work for others.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can go about securing your air conditioning unit.
Let’s look at 10 different effective ways to protect your AC and how they can each help you secure your system with confidence.
1 – An Air Conditioner Cage
I mentioned you probably wouldn’t want to start slapping prison bars on your windows just to protect your air conditioning unit, but let’s say you’re a little flexible on that. Air conditioning cages don’t put those bars over your window, but around your AC itself.
It’s still not exactly the most exciting decorating statement in the world, but it’s a lot better than losing your AC to a burglar, and easily one of the most consistently effective choices.
There are several reasons why cages are so effective, the most obvious of which being that their setup makes it incredibly hard for burglars to steal. The metal bars prevent burglars from simply reaching in and snatching them.
All of those factors, thus, serve as a deterrent to burglars. It’s one thing to snatch an AC that’s sitting out in the open, but what burglar wants to hack and wrench their way into a cage just for an AC? That would take a lot of time and energy, and drastically increase the chances of their being caught.
Unless you have a gold-plated diamond-studded AC, chances are that burglars won’t be that interested in stealing it, and will pass your unit and home by. Deterrence is the ultimate means of home security, and that’s true for securing your AC unit, too.
In addition to the added security, securing your air conditioning unit this way can also prevent it from falling on someone’s head or otherwise becoming dislodged. This can be especially useful in windy or stormy conditions that threaten to blow the unit out of place.
There are two basic types of cages for air conditioning cages, those that are designed for use in windows and others made to protect ACs that sit on the ground. The latter tend to be larger than the former, and require a different setup, so make sure you’re getting the right type of cage.
2 – A Piece of Wood
On the flip side, if you’re not ready to invest in a metal cage to protect your AC, you might decide to go in the opposite direction and instead try to secure things with a piece of wood.
Sure, it’s not the most high-tech of solutions, but it’s also not a costly one. On the contrary, as far as air conditioning security measures go, you don’t get any more affordable and easy to apply than this.
Simply find a length of wood that is properly sized, or that you can cut to the size necessary, and slide it into place horizontally or vertically. It should be wedged in there in such a way as to secure the air conditioning against the window.
Take care to measure the length of wood against the air conditioning unit and window to make sure the fit is nice and tight, otherwise the system will simply slide right out.
3 – Specialized Window Locks
If neither a full-on cage or something as simple as a piece of wood hooking your AC in place appeals to you, special window locks might be a good middle ground. These locks are specially designed to push up against the window sill, locking the unit into place.
These locks work the same as sliding locks for doors, but attach to the outside of your window.
These locks make it much harder for thieves to steal your AC by making it practically impossible to simply slide the window open and snatch it. They would have to smash the window instead, which would be far noisier and more likely to attract attention.
In addition, if your window is already covered with window film, even that can be hard to do.
It is true that these locks tend to be on the smaller side, and so they may not fit all windows. In addition, they are not easily adjustable to differently-sized windows.
However, if you do find a size that fits your window perfectly, this can be quite an effective option.
4 – Air Conditioner Support Brackets
Support brackets are a good choice for those faced with the old question of not just how to secure their window ACs against burglars, but to keep them from tumbling out of the window sill entirely.
If your window sill is narrow or your air conditioning unit is particularly bulky, chances are you know this problem all too well. It takes a delicate balance to keep an AC in place in such situations – even the slightest disturbance can send your unit over the edge.
If your AC falls over, it can smash against the ground, and then it won’t matter whether or not someone steals it – the unit will be too much of a wreck to work anyway. You don’t want to see such an important appliance and costly investment meet with such a fate, and air conditioner support brackets can be just the thing to prevent it.
They essentially serve as added stands near the window sill, giving your AC a broader base on which to rest.
They also come in different sizes, so whether your air conditioning unit is big or small, chances are you’ll be able to find a support bracket that will fit both your AC as well as your window.
Another good thing about this solution is that it can work no matter the type of building material you use. Window brackets work just as well with concrete as they do with brick and wood, making it a highly versatile option.
Another common problem with securing air conditioners is getting them to sit, especially when the unit’s bottom isn’t flat. This is another area where air conditioning brackets work well, as they can provide support to any kind of unit, no matter the shape.
Even so, if there is a gap between the unit and the bracket, you may want to place some insulating strips there to protect against the weather.
5 – Wedge Locks
Maybe all of those previous options are too big for your window sill. Maybe you think they’ll be too obtrusive and spoil your décor around your window areas. Either way, you might want to consider wedge locks as a smaller, less obvious alternative.
These types of locks are very small, only an inch or so, and they slip onto the track by the window sill. Simply twist the lock and it wedges into place. On the one hand, these locks are incredibly convenient to slip into place and to detach again. They are also highly affordable.
That being said, you sometimes get what you pay for, and while these options can secure the window into place, they are still minor measures compared to many of the others on this list. Still, they provide more security than the wooden sticks, at least, making these a good budget option.
6 – Installation Flaps
This is yet another option that is geared toward solving the problems caused when there’s a gap between the air conditioning unit and the window sill. These gaps can be problematic for both the security of the unit as well as your insulation.
If you have your air conditioning unit arranged so it is sitting in your window sill with nothing else there, it needs to take up the whole space, lest it allow gusts of wind into your home.
This is where those gaps can become problematic, and where installation flaps come into play. Screwing these metal flaps into place can help close up that space and also help with ventilation. You want to make sure that the flaps are screwed tightly into place.
7 – Window Alarms
This is possibly the most obvious upgrade you could choose. After all, you probably already have a burglar alarm on your home, so this is really just a small-scale extension of that.
Even so, there are a wide range of factors you’ll need to take into consideration when looking to install alarms to your windows, not the least of which being how to actually attach them.
You don’t want to risk damaging your windows or having their appearance be marred by the physical alarm. That said, you also need to make sure that the alarm is securely attached and won’t wobble off as you open and close the window.
Once you have chosen the right part of the window, attach the alarm and switch it on. If necessary, hook up any keypads that help activate or disarm the alarm.
Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that alarms are, well, really loud. While that’s certainly the aim (a quiet alarm doesn’t do you much good, after all) you do want to make sure that the alarm isn’t so bad as to hurt your hearing or otherwise severely disturb you in the event that it is accidentally triggered.
A window alarm should be loud enough to wake you up and alert yourself and neighbors to danger without being defeated.
Alarms win extra points here for being so effective that actual burglars have admitted that they can stop them in their tracks. When asked for a survey, around 60% of convicted burglars responded that the presence of a security system did indeed impact their decision as to which home they would target.
Additionally, 74% of burglaries that fail are due in part to an alarm.
Taken together, this makes a strong case for expanding your home security system to include alarms for your windows.
8 – Security Cameras
If you have already installed an alarm and security system and still think you can improve things, you may want to consider security cameras. These can add another level of deterrence to your security setup.
The more you can make potential burglars think twice about stealing your air conditioning unit (or anything else) the more effective your security setup.
Of course, if you are going to go about setting up cameras on your property, you are going to need to take a whole set of other requirements under consideration, not the least of which being the legal side of things.
Different states have different rules about what they allow for surveillance cameras and videotaping of others, both with and without their consent. You will, therefore, need to be careful to make sure that your camera setup is in keeping with the legal requirements.
In addition, you need to make sure that you are getting the right type of camera for your needs. While you don’t necessarily need the most high-definition Oscar-worthy camera in the world, you nevertheless want to make sure that your camera is capable of taking crisp, clear shots.
In addition, if you plan on using your camera at night, you’ll have to decide whether it is worth it to invest in a model that features infrared or night vision.
Of course, you could also leave a light on, but this will cause your electricity bill to go up.
Then, there’s the question of where you should place your cameras. This is critical, because you don’t want to invest all that time, effort, and money into getting a proper camera only for it to not be able to catch would-be burglars in the act due to a poor angle.
On the other hand, you don’t want to make your cameras too obvious and visible, either.
Or do you? Again, deterrence is the name of the game for much of home security, and that can be the case here.
If you want would-be burglars to be afraid of stealing your air conditioning unit, having cameras right above them that are directly visible would be a pretty good way to make them aware of their presence, and thus possibly determine your home isn’t worth the trouble.
Whether or not you want your cameras to be discreet, you need to make sure that they are installed at a high angle so they have a clear view of the whole area.
9 – Make it Less Accessible
Let’s say that you have already considered most of the measures above. Maybe you’ve adopted some of them.
Even so, you don’t feel like your window is adequately secure yet. If so, then it may be time to start thinking out of the box and come up with more unconventional ways of protecting your AC.
For example, you could try planting a shrubbery or other large patch of vegetation directly below or in front of the window in which your AC currently sits. This can make it harder for burglars to move around and assume a stance by the window, which would make it easy for them to smash it and take your AC.
For an added bit of protection, you might consider planting rose bushes or other bushes with thorns.
You might also consider placing your AC on the second-story if possible. Unless the burglar hauls around a ladder like a cartoon villain, chances are they won’t be able to get up there and steal your unit.
10 – Adjustable Security Bars
Last, but not least, you might want to consider installing adjustable bars. These can slide into place at different points around the window, thereby helping to lock the window, AC, or both into place.
The type of security measures you take to protect your air conditioning unit from being burgled will naturally vary depending on your AC, your window, and overall arrangement.
Take the time to note every detail and measure every inch of the area before making your decision. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to Keep Cool and Carry On by properly protecting your AC.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies…I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.