Question about condenser units being level

I remember from my coursework that AC condenser units have to be level within a 10 degree threshold to prevent damaging itself. Is there any kind of tool that can measure the degree of level (plumbness?) something is? Or do people typically just eye it up and make a decision?

Eyeball it, if you cannot use a simple level. It does not have to be perfect, but if it’s way out of level call it out.

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Thanks, here is one item in question… I tried to line up the top of the unit with the brick line behind it. It is unlevel to some extent, but I think ill leave it out.

The reason the condenser should be level is so that the oil in the compressor is level. Unlevel compressor oil can lead to portions of the compressor motor not being properly lubricated and early compressor failure.

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I don’t try to align it with other nearby structures. Just go by feel standing next to it. If you try to align it, it will often seem unleveled while being perfectly leveled. From your pic the unit appears fine.

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Thank you gentlemen!


I found one of these blue things at Home depot. I forget what its called but you can use it to see if something is plumb or LEVEL.

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har har har, very funny. but i asked for a tool that can measure the degree of how level it is. levels don’t do that, sir. none i’ve ever seen anyway

Just download a “LEVEL” app to your phone.

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hm, yea I have pitch gauge downloaded - i didn’t think of that. a 0/12 pitch would be 0* and a 12/12 pitch would be 45* so i guess I could do some calculations.

Sorry, Michael. I sent the wrong tool for the job. I meant to say I found this yellow thing on Amazon. I forget what its called but it can be used to tell you how many degrees something is off from Plumb or LEVEL.
:wink:

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I use a Stabila torpedo level. Extremely high-quality level.

Stabila 25010 10-Inch Die-Cast without Magnets in Reading Surface https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00002257K/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_AQ6ZFHJ3PBVXR52CETT2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

AH HA! precisely what I was hoping would exist. Thank you Ben!

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Michael,
I use mine mostly on shallow pitch roofs when you need to be sure the exact amount of unlevel. Anything less than 2:12 pitch should not have shingles. Sometimes the difference between 2:12 and 1.9:12 is important. If I’m going to call it out I want to know exactly how much it is off.

Other times I just want to brag about exactly how steep a roof was that I climbed :rofl:


Alternately you can get a pitch guage (which also has degrees) but it is not as accurate as a digital level.
For AC it might be accurate enough. $10

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I use these.

image

because this

image

looks crazy

image

that picture does a good job at showing it: ten degrees is a lot. ill keep that in mind.

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Nothing wrong with having the right tool to validate your concerns. But this may help you walk past some minor leaning and focus on the next item.

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By the way, if anyone knows where the 10 degree rule of thumb came from, please share. The HVAC guys I know say they want it “within the bubble”. Perhaps that is their goal for a professional install.

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If you’re going to place a level, especially a small one, on top of an outdoor AC coil make sure you place it right. Often times the top cover is going to have cross brakes in it for rigidity and if if you place it wrong you will end up with incorrect reading!

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