Whenever you combine metal, water, and oxygen, there is a chance that rust will form. Even though AC manufacturers do build their systems to resist rust, over time those safeguards diminish and leave your unit vulnerable. Your air conditioner is made of metal and produces water as a byproduct of cooling, so it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that oxidation could occur. If you’ve got an orangey-brown patch or two on your AC unit, you may be wondering if it’s even worth a second thought.
Is rust all that important?
If you spot rust on the outside of the air conditioner condenser cabinet, don’t panic. Exterior rust won’t have a significant impact on the system’s performance. That being said, if you see rust on the outside of the condenser, there may be rust inside it. This is where things get messy. Many components will be ruined if rust starts to spread. Moving parts, capacitors, condenser coils, and even the compressor can fail. Much of this damage will reduce the efficiency of the AC system and some will even stop it from functioning entirely.
Can a rusty AC unit be repaired?
The answer to this question truly depends on how old your air conditioner is and how much damage is done. Older air conditioners only last about 10-12 years whereas modern ones could go up to 20 years if maintained properly. If your unit is at the end of its life, you are best to opt for a full replacement. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for repair on equipment that will need to be replaced anyway. A good rule of thumb is that the cost of repair should be less than half the price of a new system. If you catch rust early enough on a younger unit, it can usually be fixed fairly easily. Our trained HVAC technicians can remove the rust and even apply a rust-resistant coating if they foresee future problems.
How can rust be avoided?
As with most things that involve home maintenance, the best offense is a good defense. If you notice excessive condensation build-up on your unit, you should give us a call before it turns into an issue. Aside from your own visual inspections, your regularly scheduled maintenance will also ensure rust doesn’t get out of hand. With July typically being the rainiest month in Arizona, having your system inspected in August or September each year is a great strategy to keep on top of any problems that may have developed over the summer.
In conclusion, a little bit of rust on your air conditioner won’t do much harm, but if it’s spreading to the inside it can cause serious damage. If you notice spots of rust are starting to take hold, don’t delay! Call our team of HVAC professionals at McMillin Air today for an inspection. We can determine the extent of the damage and work with you to find a reasonable solution for your needs and budget. We look forward to hearing from you!