Can The Salt Air Damage My Unit?

Many people find the smell of salt air intoxicating and enjoy living along the coastal regions immensely. However, staying permanently in a place with salt air comes with a price. Salt air is very corrosive and rapidly degrades many types of metallic objects including barbecue grills, AC units, vehicles, metal doors, and an assortment of bathroom fixtures. The chloride ions present in the salt are responsible for corroding metal. These ions react with the thin metallic oxide layer that forms on top of most metallic objects and once this layer is gone, the metal underneath is left susceptible to all manner of substances.

If you live in a place with salt air, you will find that your AC unit corrodes pretty quickly, sometimes in as little as 3-5 years. The salt also accumulates rapidly on the AC’s coils and impedes airflow. To further aggravate matters, although AC manufacturers usually provide a 10-year warranty on their equipment, the warranty does not cover corrosion. This means that any costs associated with corrosion damage cannot be compensated. Lucky for you, you can use a variety of chemical elements to protect your AC from the ravages of sea air. Here is how to go about applying these anti-corrosive substances:

1. There are a number of substances that are designed to coat metal objects and protect them from the corrosive effects of salt air. Some of these include KG Stock Kite made by KG Industries, ProtectaClear made by Everbrite, and Sprayon Welders’ Stainless Steel Protective Coating made by Krylon Industrial. The ideal protectant should be water-based, non-flammable, and should have undergone tests in a spray chamber for 2000-4000 hours.

2. Pour out the protectant into a pan. Saturate the applicator pad by soaking it in the liquid. If your object is made of stainless steel, apply a coating of xylene before applying the protectant. Xylene removes all residue and fingerprints and allows the protectant to form a strong bond with the metal surface. You can get xylene from online stores, where it is sold under the brand-name Xylol. Online stores that stock the product include Nelson Paint Company where it is sold as Nelson Enamel Thinner or Klean-Strip by online stores like Lowes, Sears, and Big Paint Store. Yet another brand name for Xylene is Painter’s Pride. You can get this product from online stores such as Fox Run Tools and Eris Automotive Tools.

3. Wipe the applicator pad carefully over the metal object using quick straight lines. Apply as many coats as necessary, depending on the metal type. Depending on the brand used, the coating of protectant should last anywhere from a few months to several years.

Testing the Efficiency of the Protectant

It’s possible to test how effective your protectant is by measuring the efficiency of your AC unit before and after applying the protectant. Before you panic at your lack of technical know-how, don’t let this exercise intimidate you. It’s really a simple matter of measuring the temperature differences at different points in your AC unit, much like you would measure your body temperature when you have a fever.

To do this, switch on your AC unit and allow it to run continuously for 10 minutes. With the unit still running, take a thermometer and place it in the vent blowing cold air that’s located closest to the AC’s thermostat. Leave the thermometer in place for not less than 4 minutes. Record the reading on the thermometer. While the AC is still running, place the thermometer where the AC filter enters your home. Let the thermometer sit there for not less than 3 minutes, then record the reading. An AC unit that is operating perfectly with no salt clogging its coils should show a temperature difference of 15-21 degrees Fahrenheit between the two thermometer readings. For instance you might record a temperature of 51 degrees at the AC’s vent and 72 degrees at the return.

Now apply the protectant and allow 30 minutes to one hour before repeating the test. That should tell you how well the protectant is working.

Ocean State Air Conditioning is a family-owned Jacksonville, Florida heating and air conditioning company that offers all clients top-notch installation, repair, and maintenance of HVAC systems. The company has highly trained HVAC technicians experienced in the repair and installation of a wide range of HVAC systems. If you live near the ocean and need your HVAC system salt-proofed, just give us a call. If your system has been damaged by salt air, call us and let us fix the problem for you.

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