The Effects of AC Corrosion

Your air conditioner is vulnerable to a specific form of corrosion called formicary corrosion. This mainly affects components made from copper, specifically the refrigerant lines that run through your air conditioner. 

What are the factors that can cause rust to form in your AC, and how can you prevent corrosion? McMaster, your trusted heating and air conditioning company, elaborates below:

How Does Formicary Corrosion Form? 

This specific type of corrosion forms on copper after it’s exposed to formic and acetic acid, organic acids commonly found in polluted air. However, organic acids can also come from everyday household products and building materials such as cleaning solvents, disinfectants and oil-based paint. 

Why Formicary Corrosion Is a Problem

Formicary corrosion eats away at your air conditioner’s copper lines, creating leaks that can allow refrigerant (the chemical used to absorb heat from air) to escape. This, in turn, can drastically lower your AC’s efficiency. In the long term, frost will form on the coil, which might damage the compressor. (The compressor happens to be one of the most expensive AC components to replace.) 

What Are the Warning Signs of AC Corrosion? 

In addition to hot spots and uneven room temperatures, you should also keep an eye out for gray, black or blue discoloration on your AC coils. 

Important note: Formicary corrosion can be tricky to detect. That’s why it’s important to have a AC technician service your Carrier® air conditioner at least three times every year. Through routine inspections, your technician should be able to detect and replace corroded refrigerant lines and coils before they damage your AC’s other components. 

How to Prevent Formicary Corrosion 

Adequate ventilation is vital to preventing formicary corrosion. In general, you should keep your windows open with your AC turned off for at least an hour every day. For more AC maintenance tips, consult an experienced AC technician. 

McMaster has been offering professional products and HVAC TXV services to local residents since 1996. To get a free estimate, call us at (949) 481-7995 or fill out this form. We serve homeowners in Orange County as well as surrounding CA communities.