Clogged air filters and refrigerant leaks aren't the only problems your HVAC system could face throughout its life. There's also rust to worry about, especially if you live in areas where salt-laden moisture is a regular feature. Rust is a silent killer to all things metal, but only if you ignore the problem instead of tackling it head on.
The following shows how rust impacts your HVAC system, as well as the steps you can take to combat it and prevent it from spreading.
Areas Where Rust Is Likely to Form
Any place that's constantly exposed to moisture or has a chance to experience condensation also stands a chance of developing rust. Drain pans are a common area for rust to form since the pan's sole job is to capture and channel condensation. Condenser and evaporator coils can also suffer from rust and corrosion. However, the most common place where you'll likely spot rust is on the exterior of the HVAC system's outdoor cabinet.
Remember that just because the outside of the HVAC system is rusted doesn't guarantee the presence of rust inside. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to have a professional inspect your HVAC system inside and out for rust.
What Rust Does to Your HVAC System
Most rust issues start out with surface rust on the HVAC system's exterior. However, rust can easily spread and grow worse over time as it slowly but methodically eats away at the unit's metal components. Rust and corrosion can cause refrigerant leaks, rob certain components of structural support and leave HVAC cabinets further exposed to the elements, causing further damage. Rusted HVAC components can also seize up, which could spell disaster for blower fans and other rotating parts.
How to Handle Rust Problems
If you see any rust on your HVAC system, have your HVAC technician take a close look. Depending on the severity of the rust, your technician may remove the rust using cosmetic fixes or replace rusted components. Rust is often a sign of advanced age for some HVAC systems, so your technician may suggest a complete HVAC replacement if your current unit is over 10 years old.
Ways to Prevent Rust Buildup
Rust may be an inevitable force of nature, but there are a few ways you can keep it from consuming your HVAC system:
- Keep up with regular maintenance. Twice-yearly service visits let HVAC technicians spot and treat rust-related issues early on.
- Watch for clogged drains. Keeping all drains clear will reduce the likelihood of standing water and trapped moisture causing rust issues.
- Consider rust-proofing measures. Protective coatings can be used to protect evaporator and condenser coils and other HVAC components against rust and corrosion.
- Be proactive about rust. The earlier you or your HVAC technician spot rust, the sooner it can be dealt with.
For more information, contact HVAC services in your area.