Understanding How Pads Can Be Used To Keep An Air Conditioner Level

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Understanding How Pads Can Be Used To Keep An Air Conditioner Level

Understanding How Pads Can Be Used To Keep An Air Conditioner Level

26 October 2015
 Categories:
, Articles


If you have recently contacted an air conditioning contractor to have a new central cooling system installed, then you will need to make sure that the air conditioner condenser is secured in the right spot outside your home. The unit should be set in an area away from trees, shrubs, and other constructions that can block the exhaust that allows warm air to dissipate. You also will need to find a completely level area to set the condenser. This can be extremely difficult, since the condenser will weigh quite a bit. Usually, the air conditioner will need to be placed on a construction to keep it level. Keep reading to find out about these constructions and why your air conditioner needs to be kept on a level surface in the first place.

Keeping Air Conditioner Level

Air conditioning units that sit outside the home need to be kept level for several different reasons. A level unit helps to keep the compressor pump within the device working properly. If the unit is not level, lubricant oil may move away from the pump and cause the seals inside to dry out and crack. Also, the pump is designed to circulate coolant through the copper lines inside. However, coolant can pool and actually enter the pump housing. This is called slugging, and it can result in head gasket damage and broken valves. 

Your air conditioner will also need to work harder to force coolant to the evaporator part of the appliance that sits inside your home. This can cause your electricity bills to increase and the coolant lines to become stressed. 

Adding a Pad

One of the easiest ways to make sure that your outdoor air conditioner is installed on a level surface is to have an air conditioning condenser pad placed outside your house. These pads are often made of plastic, fiber cement, or rubber materials. While all three of these materials can help to distribute weight across the entire surface of the pad, rubber and fiber cement varieties are likely to be more durable. When considering a pad, you will want one that extends at least one foot on either side of the air conditioning unit. This will help to distribute weight over a larger surface so the condenser does not sink in the earth. It is also best to secure a two foot area around the air conditioner where no obstructions sit. This means that the pad should extend two feet along the back if you want the pad to sit up against your home. 

Once you have found the pad that works for your air conditioner, ask your contractor to place a layer of gravel down underneath the pad. This will help to add a firm structure to the ground underneath the pad. Limestone or granite crushed rock that is formed into larger pieces is a good choice for this. 

Constructing a Concrete Formation

If the ground around your home is soft and remains wet long after a rainstorm, then a rubber or cement fiber pad is likely to sink over time. In this case, a constructed cement pad is best. This pad should be secured over gravel just like a purchased pad to add structure and to also allow water to drain away from the concrete. River run gravel that is smaller and finer should be used in place of crushed stone for drainage purposes, so ask your contractor about this.

Once the gravel is secured, your contractor will measure out a space that extends one or two feet on each side. Wooden forms will be secured and several inches of concrete will be poured in the space. To make sure that the concrete can withstand pressure and stress from the condenser, aggregate material like river rocks will be mixed with the concrete. The wet concrete will be leveled with trowels and left to dry before the air conditioner is placed on top.

For more information, contact air conditioning contractors in your area. 

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What can your HVAC technician do for you? Some HVAC contractors perform tasks beyond the heating and cooling system work that they do for you. In fact, my HVAC technician does plumbing and even some electrical work in my home. I had no idea that the company offered this type of service until he made a few suggestions about improving the plumbing system in my home as he inspected my HVAC system to get it ready for winter. Find out what your HVAC contractor can do for your home here on my blog. When you've reached the end, you will know very well what you can ask of your technician and avoid contacting a second contractor.

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