Understanding the Impact of Salt Air on Your Air Conditioner
If you’re a homeowner at the Jersey Shore, you have probably seen the effects of the corrosive salt atmosphere around your property. At a minimum, electrical fixtures & exterior door hardware tend to deteriorate quickly, outdoor furniture can fall apart prematurely and windows get grimy.
Your air conditioner is impacted too. The average life of an air conditioner across the country (in normal conditions) is about 15 years. In the salt air of the shore you’re doing well if your air conditioner lasts 10 years or longer (we’ve seen air conditioning units needing to be replaced in as little as 4 years).
How do you know if your air conditioner needs help?
If you see signs of the aluminum fins that surround the outside of your air conditioner falling off or maybe they flake off when you lightly run a finger across them, it’s a problem. These aluminum fins get rid of the heat from your house and when they begin to flake off, they are no longer properly connected; which means they are not getting rid of that summer heat from your home. This also means you are beginning to lose capacity — your AC won’t cool your home as well and your electric bills will eventually increase.
BTW, if the aluminum fins on your air conditioner are completely missing in spots and you can see the horizontal copper coils, you have lost almost ALL of the ability to cool your home!
We really begin to see the problem of failing to cool your home on the hottest days… and since the salt deterioration is a cumulative thing, it gets worse every year! If we have a couple of cooler summers, you probably wouldn’t notice the problem. It can often come as a complete shock when you can’t cool the house like you used to; and this can happen all of a sudden when we experience a really hot summer day.
What should you do?
As a preventative measure, regularly rinse off your AC unit with fresh water. It won’t hurt the air conditioning unit one bit. You can do it while it’s on or off, it doesn’t matter — it runs in the rains so water won’t hurt it while it’s running. Squirt liberally and horizontally through the coils to remove the buildup of salt & grit. If you prefer to cover your unit in the off season, squirt it off and let it dry before you cover it.
Once the deterioration has occurred, there is no reversing it. Eventually, you will have to replace your air conditioner. For more durability when replacing your unit, ask us about a Carrier Coastal Air Conditioner Unit — these are designed specifically for the seashore environment.