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Can My Air Conditioner Rust?

old-air-conditionerThe simple answer to the question is “yes.” An air conditioner contains numerous metal components, many of which can rust because of contact with water. 

There’s more to it, however. If you’re asking this question, it might be because you’ve noticed corrosion on your air conditioner and have concerns about whether this means the system needs air conditioning service Plattsburgh, NY. Or you may feel worried about the long-term service life of your air conditioner and want to know what you can do to prevent rust in the first place. 

We’ll look deeper into the issue of rust occurring in an AC below.

Why rust can start in an air conditioner

Any metal appliance can develop corrosion over time if it’s exposed to moisture in the air. You can expect an air conditioner that’s been in service for many years to eventually begin to corrode, even with the best care. An AC that’s rusted from age is best replaced.

For a younger AC, the main source of worry when it comes to rust is the water inside the air conditioner. An AC doesn’t use water to cool the air, but it does draw water from the air when it runs. As refrigerant in the indoor coil evaporates, it causes vapor in the air to condense along the coil surface. The AC has a condensate drainage system to remove this water to the outdoors so it won’t damage the interior of the air conditioner.

If the condensate drainage system malfunctions, it will cause moisture levels inside the AC to rise, and this can lead to corrosion. You’ll usually notice problems with the condensate drainage system as water leaking from the air conditioner, and we recommend you move fast to have professionals repair this problem. 

Rust prevention

Along with always scheduling repairs for the AC when you notice a problem like leaking water, the best way to prevent your air conditioning system from rusting early is to always have it routinely maintained. We recommend an annual inspection and tune-up for your AC in spring. During these maintenance visits, our technicians will clean the unit and ensure the condensate drainage system is working right. This will help keep the rust away from the unit for many years.

What to do if you see rust on your AC

If you’ve already noticed rust or other corrosion on your air conditioner, call for our technicians to inspect the system. If the rust is mostly superficial, we can remove it and clean the area with specialized tools and chemicals. This will prevent the rust from spreading and causing damage to vital parts like the motors and coils. 

If the rust has gotten deeper into the AC and affected specific components, we may have to replace the rusted parts. If the refrigerant coils have rusted, we’ll check to see if the air conditioner has lost any refrigerant to leaks and then replace the damaged coils. In cases of extremely old ACs (more than 15 years), we’ll probably recommend you have the system replaced. 

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. Call us today for AC repairs, maintenance, replacement, and more.

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