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A great way to protect your exterior air conditioner unit and to improve efficiency is to lift it off the ground with foundation brackets. By lifting the unit off the ground, weed eaters, lawn mowers, insects and water are prevented from damaging your expensive equipment. In addition, the efficiency will not be effected by settling soil. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons to consider investing in foundation brackets when installing your new air conditioning equipment.
In order for the air conditioner to operate at peak efficiency, it’s important for it remain level. The manufacturers design the units to operate in a level condition so any movement in the ground below can negatively affect the efficiency and lifespan of the equipment. So what’s the big deal? Just keep it level right?
Well, building codes today require the soil near a new home foundation to have a certain amount of slope to it. The idea being, a positive slope away from the home will allow rainwater to run away from the home, preventing it from getting into the basement or slab. A traditional rule of thumb is to provide a minimum of six inches of drop in grade over the first ten feet out from the foundation. Unfortunately, this grade drop doesn’t allow for a level spot to place the air conditioner unit.
Even if the builder does create a smooth area to place the new unit, there is a good chance it will settle over time. The first three feet around the foundation is sometimes referred to as the “over-dig” area. This is the outside edge of the original hole dug for the foundation to be installed. The over-dig is necessary to allow workers to get down into the hole to install the foundation. The problem with the soil in the over-dig area is that it will settle over time because it has been disturbed. As it moves, any objects placed on top of it will move as well.
So one of the biggest reasons for installing a new air conditioner on foundation brackets up off the ground is to minimize maintenance. A unit placed next to the home on the ground will ultimately move, requiring the homeowner to use shims or blocks to re-level the unit. And because this settlement takes place slowly, it can require constant attention.
Another huge reason for picking the exterior air conditioning equipment off the ground with foundation brackets is to protect the unit from damage. Here are some typical sources of damage that can require expensive repairs when a unit is left at ground level.
- Insects & Rodents – By lifting the equipment up, insects and rodents have a more difficult time getting in
- Line sets and Electric – When the ground below the unit moves, the air conditioner unit will move. This can cause damage to the line sets and electric lines
- Weed Eaters and Lawn Mowers – Weed eaters have a tendency to eat more than just weeds…and they can do a number on the fins on a condenser unit
- Flooding – Heavy rains can cause localized flooding which can wreak havoc on electronics placed on the ground
- Leaves and Tree Debris – All of the stuff that comes off of the trees in your yard can end up in and around the cooling equipment on the exterior of the home which will affect efficiency and longevity of the equipment…by picking the equipment up off the ground, there is less contact with fallen debris
Air Conditioner Placed on Slab on Ground
Ease of Install
One of the other benefits that comes from using foundation brackets is the ease of installation. The heating and cooling contractor installs the brackets when setting the exterior air conditioning unit. This allows the contractor to set the air conditioner unit before all exterior grading is completed. The other benefit is that only one contractor is needed…there’s no waiting on the concrete contractor to pour a pad as shown in the photo above.
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