Although the bracing sea air is one of the best things about living in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, it comes at a cost: the salt in the air is murder on any metal that’s exposed to the elements. If you live within ten miles of saltwater, you’re going to see accelerated degradation of any exposed metal parts.
And that means bad news for your air conditioning unit. The condenser coils that release the waste heat from the air are usually uncoated metal. This metal interacts with the salt in the air and oxidizes, forming a rusty surface material that no longer transmits heat as efficiently. In the short term, that makes your HVAC unit less efficient. And in the long term, it reduces the lifespan of your unit.
What This Means For Your OBX HVAC
Since air is everywhere, there’s only two ways to combat the corrosive effects of the salt it carries with it.
If you are looking to replace your unit, especially if it failed prematurely, you’ll want to get the upgrade to an “Oceanside” model of your new unit. Most major HVAC manufacturers make them.
What’s different about an oceanside model? The components are all specially treated in order to protect them from the salt. In most cases, it also comes with an extra warranty to cover corrosion, because the coating isn’t fool-proof — it simply slows down the corrosion.
So if you live near the beach, or you’ve experienced premature equipment failures in the past, shell out a little more to make your equipment last longer and extend the warranty. Paying a little more now will save you headaches later on.
What To Do If You Aren’t Ready To Replace Your Air Conditioner
If your A/C is still working pretty good, but you’re concerned about or have seen evidence of corrosion, you can get the same protective coating on your unit. This special polymer coating has to expand and contract with the metal, so make sure to do your research and get technicians who are experienced in the process. It’s possible to spray-coat the unit, but you will invariably get a better job if it is taken apart and all the pieces dip-coated individually.
In terms of ongoing maintenance, it’s important to rinse your outdoor unit with fresh water — a garden hose is fine — on a monthly basis in order to clean the salt off. The longer the salt is in contact with the metal, the more damage it will do.
For any and all HVAC needs in the Outer Banks, call Air Handlers OBX. We’re the top maintenance and installation technician in the area!