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Understanding Why Your AC Unit Must Be Level

If you have a home and want consistent cool air pumped through your house during the warm summer months, then it is wise to invest in a central air conditioning system. When you purchase the system, you will need to buy two separate pieces for the AC system to work properly. These pieces or parts consist of the condenser and the evaporator. The condenser is the large unit that sits outside your home, and this piece needs to be installed carefully so it works correctly. Specifically, the unit needs to be level. To understand why and to also find out what your HVAC professional will do to make sure the unit is level, keep reading.

Why Does The AC Condenser Need To Be Level?

The AC condenser unit is responsible for compressing the refrigerant and moving it to the evaporator unit that sits inside your house. Refrigerant is placed under pressure with the help of a device called a compressor. The compressor squeezes the refrigerant until it becomes a liquid. The liquid is then forced to the indoor evaporator. The liquid coolant cools air by pulling heat out of it. In the process, the refrigerant turns into a gas. The gas moves back to the outdoor unit where it releases heat and goes through the compression process again.

The compression of the refrigerant requires the proper function of the compressor. The device is a simple motor that is connected to a pump. Like most other types of motors, the compressor needs lubrication to keep the moving parts from grinding together. This lubrication is provided with motor oil, and the oil is stored in a small reservoir. Under normal circumstances, the oil stays separated from the refrigerant. However, if the compressor unit is not level, the oil can leave the reservoir and enter the refrigerant line. The refrigerant can also enter the reservoir and slip into the motor. Both of these issues can cause compressor motor failure. 

How Can The AC Unit Be Leveled?

If you have uneven ground outside your home, then it will be necessary to place your AC unit on a slab or pad. Even if the ground appears level, this is a good idea. Air conditioner condensers are quite heavy due to the copper tubing inside of them and the heavy steel that encases the exterior. This means that the unit may sink into the ground over time and become uneven. A pad will help to distribute this weight more evenly across the earth, so the sinking issue does not occur. 

Your HVAC contractor can build a concrete pad for you. However, if you want a more timely installation, then you can opt for a rubber or an ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) pad instead. EVA pads are best for outside use, because the material is naturally resistant to UV radiation. If you want a rubber pad, then just make sure that the one you purchase contains a UV resistant additive. Otherwise, the rubber is likely to dry out and crack.

Also, if you decide that a rubber or EVA pad is your best option, you should make sure that the earth is strong underneath the pad. The pad itself can sink if the soil around your home is too soft. To prevent this issue, ask your contractor to place an inch or two of gravel underneath the pad. Also, make sure that your AC unit is inspected every spring by a professional to make sure it is level.

If you want a new central AC system installed in your home, then you will need to make sure that the device is installed so it is completely level. Work with an HVAC professional, such as those at Shakley Mechanical Inc, to find out the best leveling option for your property.