Ah, the Florida beaches…the ocean, the sand, the sun…the corrosion?!
Most people dream of one day living by the ocean, but few think of the damage this environment can cause. If you live on or near coastal areas, chances are your air conditioning unit will soon need an expensive overhaul or need to be prematurely replaced. Just like the ocean erodes the beachfront, ocean air erodes metal surfaces. In terms of your air conditioner, corrosion of outside condenser coils from salt air exposure turns aluminum coils into powder and makes them useless for cooling your home. The corrosive environment of seashores and their high salt concentrations plays havoc on outdoor HVAC equipment. Since the replacement of condensers can easily destroy your budget, it is necessary for homeowners and business owners alike to understand corrosion and take action before it is too late.
Cause and Effect
The depositing of salt (sodium chloride) on surfaces is the culprit in coastal corrosion. Many metals, such as the aluminum AC coils are made from, naturally have a microscopic layer on their surface to protect from corrosion. For aluminum, this layer is called aluminum oxide. For iron, the layer is iron oxide. In each case, this layer acts to prevent corrosion from occurring. However, salt, or actually the chloride part of salt, changes the ability of the oxide layer to protect the metal. Chloride always breaks down this layer, causing pockmarks to form, which is known as the pitting of the aluminum. Eventually, the problem gets so bad that the coils themselves disintegrate.
The very metals your outside condenser coil is made of are the worst to have outside! In addition to ruining the integrity of the condenser unit, coastal corrosion also increases your power bill—as the coil corrodes, efficiency decreases, and the cost per hour of running the unit increases. You see, with reduced efficiency, the AC unit has to run longer to provide the same amount of cooling. For example, a new unit may take an hour to drop the indoor temperature down 10 degrees and on average, most air conditioning units last 10 to 15 years, but salt corrosion can reduce the life of an AC unit to as few as 3 to 6 years.
There are only two choices. The first is to live with corrosion and do nothing except pay more for electricity and continue to replace units prematurely. The other choice is to go on the offensive and to do something about the problem.
The Best Defense Is a Good Offense
Home and business owners can reduce the effects of salt air corrosion simply by having a Coastal Corrosion Protection Plan.
Included with your Coastal Corrosion Protection Plan from No Monkey Business Heating and Air is our exclusive 30 Point Maintenance which includes washing the entire outdoor condenser using a Ph balanced coil cleaner that will clear away any accumulated deposits and positively impacting the efficiency of the system. As an extra preventative, our N.A.T.E. certified technicians may recommend adding an extra spray on Fluoropolymers (like DuPont's Teflon®) coating and Corrosion Grenades.