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Pads beneath A/C or heat-pump condensors


Bain
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While checking out a new house yesterday, I found both heat-pump condensors propped up on bricks at all four corners because the sod was laid above the original, solid pads. The builder phoned today to let me know his sub adamantly claims there is no code addressing this issue. I remember the "solid pad" rule from HVAC school many years ago, but don't know where to look so I can quote chapter and verse. Anyone know where to search off hand?

John

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Thanks for the advice, Mike. Nobody around here--even leading HVAC contractors--adhere to the 3" pad rule, so I've long since stopped mentioning it in my reports. The installation of bricks in lieu of a solid pad, like I told the buyer and the builder, isn't prudent because the bricks could easily be displaced by an errant lawnmower or children. That could cause the condensor to rest out-of-level, or even stress the liquid and suction lines and create a leak. I realize it's a universal complaint, but it's so frustrating when egos hamper good ol' common sense.

John

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I would also be concerned that the unit could vibate itself right off of 4 bricks over time. If that happened it could stress a lot of stuff. Where fore art thou common $en$e?

I also found the "3 inch rule" in the IRC, but not much else. It seems to mostly defer to the manufacturers' instructions...still looking.

Brian G.

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Bain,

Just because "No one adheres to it" is not a good reason not to call it out. My reports would be very short if I failed to call out stuff that builders and trades do not adhere to. Things such as proper brick masonry construction, insulation, window installation, etc.

Keep calling it out. You may be surprised to find them following the rules one day and you won't have to worry about a Smarty Pants Lawyer asking you why you didn't call something out.

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Donald and Scott,

You're both right, of course. Then again, nothing erodes our credibility more than being overruled by a "licensed professional." Choosing which battles to wage in our business can be a tough proposition. One of my pet peeves is not sleeving the water main when it passes through a foundation wall. The state plumbing-inspection office--the Higher Power in that instance--doesn't enforce the code, though. Therefore, knowing how to relay the situation to a client can prove difficult.

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