How to build a cage for your Air Conditioner (A/C) to prevent stealing for $90 or less. An A/C condensor on a Houston, Texas foreclosure I bought had been stolen long before I bought it. The idea of putting a brand-new 13 SEER unit into a neighborhood known for A/C theft was not attractive. I am told that the scrap metal dealers are doing thumbprint, photograph and 3 day waiting period now before paying for copper. The A/C cage will consist of 3 bars north/south and 3 bars east/west. See picture. This should provide more than adequate room to work on the unit and have un-restricted air-flow. The goal is to make the cage so the unit cannot be removed from the cage without destroying it.
Note, do all of this at your own risk and use good safety equipment like welding helmet, gloves, etc. Also, watch out for ants!
- Get dimensions of A/C concrete slab and the height of the A/C unit to be installed.
- Get rebar pre-bent into u-shaped pieces. Tell Texas Wide Sales Co Address: 5911 Schumacher Ln, Houston, TX 77057 Phone: (713) 783-0091 your dimensions and what you are trying to build. They’ll make 12 u-shaped pieces of rebar for $25 at the time of this writing in about 5 minutes.
- Rent a house-current wire welder from a rental place like Aztec Rentals. Cost including wire and helmet: $65.
- Lift concrete slab with a shovel or with a buddy or both and slip the lower parts of the U-shaped rebar under the slab with ends sticking up, or rotated over to be out of the way.
- Install new condensor A/C unit. Turn it off.
- Rotate U-shaped rebar back into position.
- Slip box the condensor came in over the A/C unit to protect it from sparks and later paint. Pour water onto box so that it does not catch on fire while welding.
- Complete cage by welding upper u-shaped bars onto lower bars. You may adjust the height as needed. Home welders use a lot of juice so plug it in to a 20 amp circuit if you can or you may have to make multiple trips to the breaker box to re-set the circuit.
- Paint with rust-oleum rusty metal primer to keep from rusting.. Use a brush as spraying takes too much paint. Has a good red color that holds up so top coating may not be necessary. I just leave the primer.
- Cut up box and remove it by sliding out from bars.Done. Cost is $90 or less. If you already have a welder or a buddy with one it is only like $30 for the rebar and paint. See attached picture.