Keeping Your Home Cool during the Sweltering, Summer Months

Spring Cleaning? Don't Forget To Reinforce And Repair Your AC's Concrete Pad

by Anthony Graves

When you begin cleaning around your home for spring, don't forget to check the outdoor AC unit's concrete pad for minor problems and repair them. Most people forget to check and reinforce the air conditioner pad outside the home once the weather warms up in the spring. An air conditioner pad is the concrete base that supports the heavy weight of the outdoor unit, as well as protects the wires and lines of the unit from damages. Here's what you should know about the AC concrete pad and how to repair any problems you find with it.

Why Should You Reinforce The Air Conditioner Pad?

The concrete pad beneath your outdoor unit is a critical piece of your air conditioning system. The pad keeps the unit upright all year round, as well as protects the bottom of the AC from bugs, rain and other hazards that can damage it.

But sometimes, the ground beneath the pad becomes vulnerable to water and moisture. The pad can sink when the soil around and beneath it bogs down with moisture. If you live in an area that experiences heavy, winter rains or excessive snow, your AC pad is in danger of sinking. When the spring and summer rains arrive, you may end up with an expensive mess to repair. AC repair technicians may need to remove the entire unit to replace the concrete. If the unit tips over from the sunken ground beneath it and breaks, you'll need to replace or repair it as well.

In addition to moisture and water, plants and weeds can grow around the AC pad. If you don't remove them, the weeds can creep into the unit's housing and wrap around the compressor and other parts that run the outdoor unit.

You should reinforce the soil around the concrete pad to keep the problems above from affecting your cooling system.

How Should You Reinforce The Concrete Pad?

Before you reinforce the unit's concrete pad, you need to purchase moisture-resistant plywood to place beneath it. The plywood levels the concrete pad, which prevents the AC unit from tipping over. In addition, the wood features a special coating that doesn't allow water to penetrate it. You may want to ask a wood supplier about the best moisture-resistant products to use for your needs.

Also, buy at least two long pieces of plywood to complete your repairs. If you need to stabilize all four sides of the concrete pad, cut each piece in half. You can always save any pieces you don't need for future AC concrete repairs.

Now, here's what you do:

  • Remove the weeds by hand or with a weed tiller — Don't use weed killer or other chemicals that can damage or corrode the outside of the unit. 
  • Use a rake to remove any dead leaves you find around the concrete pad — You need to see around the concrete pad clearly to find the sunken areas.
  • Examine each side of the pad — You're looking for areas that appear sunken or low.
  • Slide or wedge one piece of plywood into each low area you find — Push the wood beneath the pad as far as it'll go without harming your hands. 
  • Check to see if the pad looks level — If it doesn't, place ready-mix concrete beneath the pad until it levels out. The ready-mix concrete blends in with the concrete base once it dries.

If you find missing concrete on the pad, you can repair the areas with ready-mix concrete as well. You don't want to let this type of damage go unfixed. Rain can penetrate the weaken areas and damage the entire pad. The ready-mix concrete blends in with the concrete base once it dries, so don't worry about the mix looking out of place.

When you clean your home and property this spring, be sure to check your outdoor unit for problems. If you have questions about your concrete pad or outdoor unit, contact a AC repair specialist like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. for assistance.