What Is An Air Conditioner Pad & Do You Need One?

What Is An Air Conditioner Pad & Do You Need One

Anthony Barnes

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Air conditioners can keep your home cool and comfortable in the hot summer months, but they can easily break down if they aren’t properly cared for.

Air conditioner pads may not seem that important, but these simple sheets are essential to avoid damaging your air conditioner! These protect the unit from moisture, dust, and insects.

We’ll cover more about what air conditioner pads do in this article, including why you should invest in one if you haven’t already done so.

Keep reading to learn more about air conditioner pads and how they can prolong your air conditioner’s life span!

What Are Air Conditioner Pads?

An air conditioner pad is a sheet of material used to protect an air conditioning unit from damage caused by dirt, debris, or humidity.

These pads are typically made out of rubber or recycled composite and are placed underneath the air conditioner unit.

These will normally be the first thing you’ll handle while you install the unit unless you already have a pad from a prior unit.

Air conditioner pads are often called AC condenser pads as the outer unit will house a condenser. These lift the device off from the floor so air can circulate underneath. This is necessary for two reasons.

The first is that raising the unit protects it from insects and pests. Backyards, especially in states like Arizona, can harbor lots of pesky critters.

These can crawl inside the air conditioner and break down the internal system. Air conditioner pads reduce the chance of this happening as it keeps the unit off from the ground.

The second reason is that the pads lower the amount of vibration the air conditioner emits against the ground.

If the AC was directly touching the floor, you’d notice that it creates strange buzzing noises. These vibrations can also damage the unit as well as the surrounding area.

AC condenser pads use oil to lubricate their system which keeps the machine working efficiently. However, oil can start to leak out of the unit and flow into coolant lines. 

This issue can be easily remedied with every yearly preventative maintenance appointment, but an air condenser pad is still necessary. Without one, oil can start to accumulate and affect the lines and coils. 

If the AC doesn’t rest on a condenser pad, oil can start to leak in other places instead of flowing back into the compressor, leading to an oil shortage.

Without enough oil, the condenser will stop working correctly, leading to weak performance and overheating.

This can be expensive, as other than paying to repair the condenser, you’ll also have to pay for a new AC pad.

This is why it’s so important to use an air conditioner pad, as they defend the unit against damage that may shorten its lifespan.

AC pads can also be used on units that remain on the ground instead of ones that are fixed to a wall. 

Don’t confuse the air conditioner pads we’re discussing here with leveling AC pads. Leveling pads are designed to fix any problems with the bigger pad underneath the unit.  

What Are Air Conditioner Pads Made From?

What Are Air Conditioner Pads Made From

There are two main types of AC pads, concrete and composite.


Concrete pads are better for larger air conditioner units. The material is stronger and can reliably support heavy units that weigh a lot.

However, concrete pads may not be essential if your AC’s capacity can only handle smaller homes. 


Composite pads are usually made from rubber or recycled plastic. Unlike concrete ones, composite pads are better for smaller air conditioners that aren’t as heavy. 

Despite this, composite AC pads can have just a similar lifespan as concrete ones, as long as they are installed properly. 

Selecting A Quality Condenser Pad

There are many AC condenser pads available to choose from, so you need to think about which option suits your budget, air conditioner, and yard. 

Always make sure that the pad is water and weatherproof. Pads are designed to raise the unit away from the water on the floor.

You’ll need to make sure that the pad won’t soak up the moisture and contact the unit. 

Before you choose the condenser pad, measure your AC’s dimensions. Condenser pads are available in many sizes that suit home locations to big commercial areas. 

You should also check with your Homeowner’s Association and your local regulations, as they may have guidelines regarding condenser pads. AC pads tend to be between 3 and 6 inches in thickness. 

How To Install An Air Conditioner Pad

You can hire a professional to install an air conditioner for you, but if you prefer to do it yourself, here are the steps you should follow. 

Step 1: Do you need a new AC pad?

All new air conditioners will require you to install a new pad unless you have one already.

However, if you already have an air conditioner but need to install a new pad, consider whether your air conditioner is suitable or not.

Most air conditioners (see also ‘Trane Vs Carrier Vs Lennox Air Conditioner Review’) have a 15-year life span. If your unit is close to its end, avoid tinkering with it until you buy a new replacement. It’s easier to damage an older conditioner, so don’t risk it.

Step 2: Buy The AC Pad

Most AC pads are available to purchase at home hardware stores. Your pad should leave, at a minimum, a foot’s distance between the air conditioner’s feet and the border. 

At this stage, you should also decide whether you want a composite or a concrete pad.

Remember that your pad should be able to support the weight of your air conditioner. If your unit is too heavy for the pad, the pad could start sinking into the floor. 

Composite pads are better for lighter and smaller units, so keep this in mind when purchasing your pad. AC pads usually cost around $100. 

Step 3: Check That The Ground Is Level

This is a very important step, so don’t skip it! The floor beneath your AC pad needs to be level. If the ground isn’t even, your unit will sit at a slant and will struggle to run as effectively. 

You’ll need a level to do this. Once you’ve checked that the ground is at a flat plane, place the pad on the floor and check that it’s level.

If you skip this step, you may need to buy leveling air conditioning pads later. Checking that the pad is level helps you avoid this unnecessary step later. 

Step 4: Lay Down A Compact Base

You may be tempted to leave the pad as it is, but this can lead to water drainage issues later. Instead, you should lay down a compact gravel base before laying the pad on top. 

You can also contact someone to pour concrete in this space for a more permanent solution. If you choose to use concrete, ensure that the base is level before the next step.

Step 5: Install The Pad And Air Conditioner

After you’ve laid down a supportive base, you can place the pad on top. When you’ve checked that the pad is level, you can then install the air conditioner (see also ‘Through The Wall Air Conditioner Installation‘) on top. 

Step 6: Finishing Off

If you’ve made a mistake when creating a level plane in step 3, you can then add some leveling pads under the unit. These are simple enough to install, as they just need to be pushed underneath. 

You can also attach vibration pads under the unit. AC pads will stop the unit buzzing on the floor, but the feet will further stop the unit from wobbling next to the pad. 

Make sure you keep monitoring your AC pad regularly as it can gradually begin moving out of place. The earlier you notice the issue, the easier it will be to fix. 

Repairing Sunken Or Damaged Pads

Repairing Sunken Or Damaged Pads

Some people will notice problems with their pads over time. These issues are natural, as the ground can move and settle beneath the concrete.

There also may be instances where water damage can occur, leading to cracking, deterioration, and various other issues. 

You can contact an HVAC professional to examine your pad. They’ll be able to see if the pad can be repaired or whether it will need re-pouring. 

Impaired pads can cause serious issues with your air conditioner, so if damage occurs, try to repair them as soon as possible. 


Air conditioning pads play a vital role in keeping your air conditioner in optimum condition. They raise your unit off from the ground, protecting it from dust, insects, and other debris. 

They’re also essential for keeping your unit running smoothly. Without a pad, your unit could start to vibrate and buzz against the floor, causing noise and discomfort. 

Without a good pad, your unit will struggle to work properly. If you’re looking for a new pad, make sure you choose one that can support your unit.

Concrete pads are great for heavier units, but composite ones should only be used with lighter ones. 

No matter what air conditioner you choose, you will always need an air conditioner pad. Always make sure that your choice suits your AC unit, budget, and home. 

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age