Did you know that hot water cylinders are a target of theft? To most people, the thought of someone stealing your hot water cylinder would be ludicrous. But it is no joke, and hot water cylinder thefts continue to rise.
Cylinder Thefts And The Resulting Problems
The main target of hot water cylinder thefts are older low pressure hot water cylinder units which contain a large amount of copper. Copper fetches a significant price over metals like steel at scrap metal merchants, as high as $7.40 per kg, which means a 180L cylinder could be worth as much as $74, placing these cylinders containing copper at the top of the list for thieves.
However, the theft of the cylinder is not the only problem. When these thefts occur, the thieves are not exactly overly concerned about what state the property is left in, and as such usually take the quickest route to removing the cylinder which involves quickly sawing or ripping pipes, letting the cylinder drain onto the floor and then removing the cylinder by force. This causes a substantial amount of damage, not only to the pipework and the area surrounding the cylinder, but extending into the rest of the house due to the flooding.
Primary targets have been older homes which are under renovation or construction and are easier to access, not occupied and are likely to have an old cylinder about. Boarded up unused houses and houses which look to have been unoccupied for a while (such as when the occupants go on holiday) are also common targets.
However, due to these thefts, it is required by law to produce ID when selling scrap metal to a metal dealer. This makes it more difficult for thieves to sell the scrap once they’ve taken it, and acts as a deterrent to minimise the amount of theft that is happening.
How To Protect Yourself
There are steps you can take to minimise the risk of your hot water cylinder being targeted by thieves. One of the best steps you can take is to make your property look occupied, even if you are going away. This could involve having a friend clear out your letterbox regularly, leaving an old car parked in the driveway or leaving a light or two on to seem like someone is home. Thieves usually target vacant homes when going for cylinders, so if it looks like someone is home it will minimise the chance that they will try your home. Always have a friend or family member check on your home regularly to ensure it is secure while you are away.
Other measures you can take include making sure your cylinder is securely strapped into its installed position. This makes removal much more difficult, and is likely to put off opportunists. For home owners with instantaneous gas water heating units installed outside, there are brackets and cages which you can install on the unit to make removal next to impossible.
Luckily, modern mains pressure hot water cylinders are usually either stainless steel or enamel, which makes them much less of a target for theft than the older low pressure copper cylinders. While this does not guarantee that your home won’t be targeted, it certainly means that the reward is far smaller and will make the break in much less worthwhile.
Always Report Theft
If you have been a victim of theft, it is always important to report it to the police, even if you believe the damage is insignificant or you believe that they won’t be able to help. Reporting crimes helps to paint a bigger picture, allowing the police to see how prevalent the problem actually is and treat it as a priority. It can lead to an investigation which could result in the apprehension of the culprit. It will also help with insurance claims, as a police report can help with the process of filing a claim.
If you would like assistance in securing your water heater or have questions about how you can prevent theft from your property, contact us today.