Since your air conditioner is made of different types of metal, it has the potential to rust. The condenser outside is particularly vulnerable to rust since it is exposed to rain. However, the air handler inside can rust in places too. Rust is a problem for an air conditioner since rust eats holes through metal, and this damages important parts. Here's a look at how rust and corrosion affect your air conditioner.
Rust On The Condenser
If you spot rust on the exterior of your condenser, you can remove it yourself like you would remove rust on anything metal. Remove the rust with a wire brush and then cover the area with a rust inhibitor.
This is important to do since rust spreads, and when that happens, the warranty on your AC might become void since a rust problem is a sign of lack of maintenance.
Rust on the inside of the condenser has to be removed too, but you may need an HVAC technician to do the work. When you have an annual service call, the technician checks for signs of rust so the problem can be repaired before it gets out of hand. When rust is bad enough, you'll need to replace the condenser if your AC can't keep your home cool.
Rust On The Air Handler
One area that may develop rust easily is the condensation drain pan and the area around it. The pan collects and holds condensation water, so it's vulnerable to rust if the pan is metal. When rust eats holes in the pan, water leaks on your floor and can cause water damage.
If rust gets in the condensation drain and clogs it, water can back up in the pan and spill over or go in the air handler and get it wet. This increases the risk of rust on the air handler unit.
When an air conditioning service checks your unit every spring, they check the pain and drain to make sure it works properly. However, if a clog or leak develops, you'll want to call for repairs right away.
Corrosion On Coils
Corrosion you see on coils usually isn't rust, but a different kind of corrosion. Rust may develop along the edges of the coils where different metals join together. Galvanic corrosion can also occur around the coils when two metals join in the presence of moisture from condensation.
The copper coils can corrode as well in response to exposure to different chemicals in the air that cause pitting and tiny holes. When evaporator or condensation coils develop holes, even if they're tiny ones, refrigerant can leak out.
An air conditioning repair service may be able to plug the holes and fill the refrigerant so your AC can start cooling again, but it may be necessary to replace the coils or AC if the corrosion is bad enough. Contact someone like R & B Inc Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.