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When installing an air conditioner condenser, you’ll need to set up a pad. Without a proper pad, your condenser is prone to severe damage.
Since it vibrates all the time, you need a perfectly levelled pad with great absorption. But choosing an AC pad between concrete and plastic can be tricky.
What are some of the differences between concrete vs plastic AC pad?
Concrete AC pads tend to be slightly more expensive than plastic ones. But installing and maintaining a plastic AC pad is way easier. Concrete AC pads are prone to sink. But only concrete AC pads can support large condenser units. Other than that, plastic AC pads have better UV protection.
Anyways, that was the summary of the comparison. Obviously, there’s a lot we couldn’t fit in there which requires elaboration.
So, let’s get into the details!
Concrete Vs Plastic AC Pads: Basic Differences
Before we go into the detailed comparison, let’s get to know the key information. Knowing the primary differences can often help you understand the comparison faster.
For example, there are a lot of differences between 3, 3.5, and 4-ton air conditioners. But if you know the primary differences first, it gets super easy.
That’s why we’ve decided to gather everything under one table. This will give you a surface idea about both types of AC pads.
Here’s what you’re looking for:
|Factors||Concrete AC Pad||Plastic AC Pad|
|Installation||Harder to install||Easier to install|
|Sinking Risk||Higher Risk of Sinking||Lower Risk of Sinking|
|Prone to Crack||More Likely||Less Likely|
|Weight Support||More Support||Less Support|
|Vibration Absorption||Medium Absorption||High Absorption|
|Maintenance||Harder to Maintain||Easier to Maintain|
|Price||Check Latest Price||Check Latest Price|
Now that you know a little bit about both types of AC pads, let’s take a look at a graph for a more comprehensive view.
Now, let’s move on to the detailed comparison!
Concrete Vs Plastic AC Pads: Comprehensive Discussion
If you haven’t made a decision yet, that’s totally fine. It’s quite complicated of a matter and requires further elaboration.
That’s why we’ve compared concrete AC pads against plastic AC pads in multiple categories. This will help you understand why there are such differences, to begin with. And what kind of AC pads is going to benefit you.
Simply relax, sit back and go through all the points-
Budget is always one of the most important factors while shopping. If a product costs too much it becomes unfavored despite being good.
That’s why having an appropriate price is a must for any product.
Concrete pads for AC units are quite comparable with their plastic counterparts. Of course, the price depends on the size of the pad. But in most cases, there’s only a slight $20 to $30 difference.
You can find some great concrete AC pads for about $80 to $90 in online shops. AC concrete pad costsa little higher than plastic AC pads. It’s mostly because of the difference in the material.
On the contrary, there are some great plastic AC pads for sale all the time. They’re always available and can be found cheaper than the concrete pads.
Plastic AC pads cost around $70 in online shops. But remember that, depending on the size, the price will be more or less.
Winner: Plastic air conditioner pads are cheaper so it’s the winner in this category.
Unfortunately your problems don’t end with purchasing the pad. You still have yet to install it in your house.
This is where concrete pads can put you at a disadvantage. But the reason is probably the one you’re already thinking about.
Concrete is heavier than plastic. This makes the concrete AC pad installation really hard. Expect to pay a higher installation fee if you choose the concrete AC pads.
To cut costs you can try installing the concrete pads yourself. However, be careful as HVAC jobs can be hard on the body because it requires strength and mechanics.
Unlike concrete, plastic AC pads are easier to install. They’re also really easy to work with. Levelling a plastic AC pad is comparatively easier than concrete.
But not all plastic pads are light and easy to install. Nowadays a lot of hybrid pads are seen on the market that is marketed as plastic pads. These types of pads are harder to install.
So always be aware of what you’re buying. To help you with this I’ve listed some of my go-to plastic AC pads down below.
- The Diversitech E Lite Plastic Equipment Pad is the best of the best. I blindly trust this pad to get the job done.
- Another one of my favourite plastic pads has to be the EKON AC Condensing Unit Support Pad. It has a clean appearance and the underlying ribbing helps to prevent sinking.
If you get one of these you don’t have to worry about the installation difficulties!
Winner: Plastic AC pads win this round.
Sinking Risk & Prone to Crack:
After discussing the price range and installation, it’s time to check the pros and cons. There are several pros and cons like sinking risk and cracks in pads.
Unfortunately, only concrete AC pads have both problems. AC concrete pad sinking is a major problem. Other than that, it can also develop a crack over time.
We all know concrete is really heavy. And the condenser unit of AC vibrates constantly. This vibration works negatively against the concrete pad.
Because of this continuous vibration, concrete pads are prone to sink. Since they’re heavy they easily get sunk if the soil isn’t strong enough.
The vibration can also cause a crack in the concrete pad. But levelling a concrete pad properly almost eliminates the problem.
On the other hand, the plastic AC pads don’t have these problems. They’re light and because of that, they’re less likely to sink.
Recycled plastic can also be really strong. That’s why plastic AC pads are less likely to develop cracks over time.
That’s exactly why people nowadays always go for plastic AC pads.
Winner: Plastic AC pads are more durable so it’s the winner of this round.
Weight support is also an important factor when choosing an AC pad. If your AC unit is too heavy, then your options are limited.
Concrete AC pads are great for large AC condenser units. They’re strong and can endure heavy weight easily.
But here’s where plastic AC pads fall short. They are quite durable but can’t withstand too much weight. Plastic AC pads are compatible with lighter condenser units.
Winner: Concrete AC pads support more weight hence it’s the winner this round.
Final Verdict: Which One to Choose?
If you still haven’t decided which to pick, no worries. We’ve given our own thoughts to help you out even further.
Concrete AC pads are great for large AC condenser units. They’re reliable and can withstand a lot of weight. But they’re hard to install.
And unlike cleaning an air conditioner, maintaining concrete AC pads are quite difficult. They’re also slightly more expensive.
On the contrary, plastic AC pads are cheaper and easier to install. They’re also perfect for condenser units for homes. They’re also super durable and less likely to get cracks.
If you’re installing an AC pad for homes, pick a plastic AC pad!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How thick should an AC pad be?
An AC pad for an air condenser should be at least 3 inches thick. Thicker AC pads can protect your AC condenser unit in the rainy season. If your area has drainage problems, you can go even thicker. Many homeowners get their AC pads up to 6 inches thick. This protects AC units from heavy rain.
Should you cover your outside AC unit?
There’s no need to cover your outside AC condenser unit. It’s because these AC units are built to withstand harsh weather. Even in rain or snow, your AC condenser will be just fine. But sometimes water/moisture can destroy the coil of the condenser unit. Unfortunately, moisture can’t be kept away.
Can you pour hot water on a frozen AC unit?
Yes, you can pour hot water on a frozen AC condenser unit. This is a quick way to melt the ice and get your AC working again. The water doesn’t necessarily have to be really hot. All you need is some moderately hot water and you’ll be fine. Keep pouring until the AC unit has started to thaw.
That was everything we could gather and elaborate on concrete vs plastic AC pad. We hope this comparison helped you understand the differences better.
Remember to always hire an HVAC expert before installing the AC pads. They’ll level the pads if necessary and ensure the best support. It’s the safest and the best option that you can follow.
Finally, have a nice day!
HVAC tech with over 30 years of experience. Retired and doing repair work on the side around Madison County, AL.