How to Prevent AC Coil Corrosion and Refrigerant Leakage

AC coil corrosion is a common problem that can occur due to several factors, including exposure to moisture, chemicals, pollutants, and environmental conditions. Corrosion on AC coils can lead to reduced efficiency, refrigerant leaks, and potential damage to the system.

Types of Corrosion on AC Coils

There are two main types of corrosion that affect air conditioner coils. These are Galvanic corrosion and Formicary corrosion.

Bimetallic or Galvanic Corrosion

Bimetallic or galvanic corrosion affects air conditioning units that use more than one metal in its manufacturing. Corrosion is more common in air conditioners with fins made of aluminum and the condenser coil made of copper. In the presence of moisture, galvanic corrosion happens at the point of contact of these two metals. Over time, this corrosion results in gas leakage and the condenser would then need to be replaced or repaired. Should there be a single metal, even with the presence of moisture, it would take a longer time for this wear and tear to happen naturally.

It is therefore a good idea to try and purchase an air conditioner with fins and coils manufactured with only one metal. It’ll be more cost-effective to the customer in the long run.

Formicary Corrosion

Pure copper also presents corrosion problems in air conditioning systems. This type of wear and tear doesn’t happen naturally without any outside influences. Since it requires three elements and only two are present in the devices, it’s usually a result of the actions of the unit’s user.

For formicary corrosion to occur, water, oxygen and an organic acid, such as cleaning solvents, cosmetics or paint, must interact. Usually, when a user mistakenly allows one of these organic acids to fall on the unit or attempts to clean it with solvents, this type of corrosion begins damaging the AC.

It’s vital to be very conscious of what elements we place near and over our AC units, to avoid such problems from arising.

Ways to Prevent AC Coil Corrosion and Refrigerant Leakage

Repair or replacement of condenser and refrigerant gas recharge costs a lot. Because of this, it’s vital to try and prevent decay from happening in the first place. There are different ways to avert this problem before it gets out of hand.

Regular Maintenance

Servicing your AC unit is the key to extend its lifespan. This will save money by increasing efficiency of air conditioning and also provide effective cooling.  Regular maintenance and cleaning ensures that the fins of condenser remain clean and dry up quickly after you turn off your air conditioner. If dirt is accumulated between fins, it will keep the fins and coil wet for a longer time. Use a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner to remove any buildup on the coils. corrosion.

Protect the Coils

Consider using coil coatings or protective sprays designed to prevent corrosion. These coatings act as a barrier between the coils and the environment, reducing the chances of corrosion. This will keep rusting from happening, as well as stop gas leaks before they begin. Consult with a professional HVAC technician for suitable coil protection options.

Purchase AC with Anti Corrosion Coating

When purchasing a new AC, it’s a good idea to make sure it features a protective epoxy coating. This works as an effective and long-lasting protection for metal surfaces to both chemicals and water damage. Two common epoxy coatings used to protect air conditioners are epoxy (gold) or blue (hydrophilic) coatings. These coatings prevent water droplets from forming and spreads out water, which then dries out easily. Though this might add to your cost of purchase when buying the unit with epoxy coating, in the long run, it’ll help the user save money.

Prevent AC Coil Corrosion and Refrigerant Leakage

Install Outdoor Unit Away from Drains or Rivers

High humidity is the most common reason for AC corrosion and refrigerant gas leakage. If your house is close to coastal areas, drain, or a river, then you will notice more cases of AC gas leakage in your area than elsewhere. Therefore, if possible, try installing the outer unit of air conditioner away from drains and rivers. This reduces the humidity around the air conditioning system and protects it from corrosion. 

Read: Air Purifier Vs Humidifier

Protect the Outdoor Unit

Protect Outdoor AC Unit

Ensure that the outdoor unit of your AC system is protected from harsh environmental conditions, such as heavy rain, hail, and excessive sunlight. Install a cover or shelter that allows for proper airflow while providing protection against moisture and corrosive elements.

If you still notice a sign of coil corrosion, such as rust or pitting, or if you suspect refrigerant leakage, it is crucial to contact a professional HVAC technician immediately. Regular maintenance and professional inspections can help identify and address potential issues before they worsen, ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your AC system.

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