When you think of corrosion, you probably picture rusted-out iron or steel, but corrosion can also deteriorate your HVAC system’s copper coils. If you’re not actively preventing coil corrosion, you may be caught unawares by a ruined condenser or evaporator coil and end up facing an expensive, premature HVAC replacement.
What Causes Coil Corrosion?
Coil corrosion typically occurs in two ways:
- The outdoor condenser coil becomes pitted from exposure to corrosive substances in the air and rain, such as fluoride and chloride.
- The indoor evaporator coil corrodes due to airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are off-gassed by building materials, pressed-wood furniture components, as well as textiles, fabrics and various everyday household products. Once these compounds settle on the coil surface, they turn into caustic formic and acetic acids.
Both types of corrosion eventually create tiny holes in the coils/fins where refrigerant can leak out. Taking steps to prevent coil corrosion from reaching this stage is vital to avoid:
- Eroded efficiency. Slow leaks that develop over time will cause a gradual drop in your system’s efficiency.
- Higher energy bills. As efficiency decreases, your monthly energy bills will increase.
- Loss of comfort. A decline in efficiency also makes it harder to maintain a comfortably cool indoor temperature.
- Early replacement. The only fix for a badly corroded coil is replacement, and this typically means buying a complete new system to ensure the components match.
How to Prevent Coil Corrosion
Regular professional HVAC maintenance that includes cleaning both the coils is the best way to keep corrosion under control. An experienced HVAC pro knows the right methods and products to use to safely neutralize and remove caustic accumulations from the coils. A pro may also recommend:
- Having an anti-corrosive coating applied on the coils once they’re clean.
- Installing a whole-house air cleaner on your HVAC system to capture and eliminate airborne VOCs.
- Rinsing down your outdoor unit with the hose every month to limit the buildup of potentially-harmful debris.
For more advice about preventing coil corrosion in your Orlando home’s HVAC system or to schedule preventive maintenance, contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).