The Importance of Preventing HVAC Coil Corrosion

The Importance of Preventing HVAC Coil CorrosionPreventing coil corrosion is far preferable to the alternative. Air conditioner refrigerant leaks due to advanced corrosion of an indoor evaporator coil or outdoor condenser coil are generally non-repairable. Due to the substantial expense of coil replacement, however, installing an entirely new A/C may actually turn out to be more financially viable. Therefore, when preventing coil corrosion can be accomplished by routine maintenance, it makes good economic sense.

What’s Corroding Coils?

Both the indoor and outdoor coil incorporate copper tubing that circulates refrigerant. Though efficient for heat transfer, copper is a reactive metal that is sensitive to certain chemical vapors which, when mixed with moisture such as condensation, form corrosive acids. Indoor pollutants include common VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) like formaldehyde as well as fumes from cleaners, paints and aerosol sprays. Outdoors, sulfur and nitrogen dioxides from vehicle emissions as well as other industrial air pollution, acid rain, and even salty ocean air are linked to accelerated coil corrosion.

How To Prevent It

Sealed inside the indoor air handler, the evaporator coil isn’t a candidate for DIY service. However, as part of annual cooling system maintenance, a professional HVAC service technician can access and clean coil surfaces, using cleaners specifically formulated to neutralize acids that degrade copper. The same procedure is applied to the outdoor condenser coil.

Since the outdoor coil is more readily accessible, a do-it-yourselfer can also augment annual professional cleaning by flushing the coil with water twice a year.

  • Shut off power to the outdoor condenser at the main power switch, usually located on the wall next to the unit.
  • Remove screws securing side panels of the unit as well as the top grille.
  • Spray water from a garden hose from the inside of the condensing unit first, directing the spray through coil fins to the outside. Then, from the outside, spray inwards through the coil.
  • Allow the coil to air dry, then reinstall side panels and top. Restore electricity.

Schedule annual maintenance for preventing coil corrosion with the professionals at Paitson Bros. We’ve been the Wabash Valley choice for HVAC sales and service since 1922.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859. 

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