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Peaden Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical Blog

Can an Air Conditioning System Rust?


Is rust on a machine ever a good thing? No, because rust weakens metal and causes it to decay away. You definitely don’t want to see your AC rusting away—but is this something that can actually happen?

The simple answer is: yes. And because where we live in Florida, rust can easily get its corroding grip on an air conditioner without proper care. We’ll explore the case of rust and your AC below.

How an Air Conditioning System Can Rust

Salt Air

Because we live on the coast, salty air is a major factor that can accelerate the rusting process. Salt can corrode metal much faster than plain water, leading to more rapid deterioration of the AC unit.

Exposure to Moisture

Air conditioning systems, particularly those installed outdoors, are continually exposed to the elements. Rain, humidity, and condensation can lead to moisture accumulation on various parts of the AC unit. Over time, this moisture can cause the metal components of the system to rust.


Inside the AC unit, the process of cooling air involves condensation. The evaporator coils, in particular, can gather condensation, which can drip onto other components if not properly drained away. If the drainage system is blocked or malfunctioning, this water can accumulate and cause rust.

Lack of Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for preventing rust. Without routine cleaning and inspections, dirt and debris can trap moisture against the metal surfaces, promoting rust formation. Additionally, worn-out parts and compromised protective coatings can expose more of the unit to moisture and subsequent rust.

Problems Caused by Rust in AC Systems

Reduced Efficiency

Rust can impede the efficiency of your air conditioning system. For instance, rust on the evaporator or condenser coils can reduce their ability to transfer heat, making the system work harder to cool your home. This not only increases energy consumption but also raises your utility bills.

Mechanical Failures

Rust can weaken the structural integrity of various components within the AC unit. Parts like the compressor, fan blades, and motor housing can become brittle and prone to breakage. Such mechanical failures can cause the system to stop working entirely or operate inefficiently.

Refrigerant Leaks

In severe cases, rust can cause tiny holes in the coils where refrigerant flows. This can lead to refrigerant leaks, which not only reduce the cooling capacity of the system but also pose environmental hazards. Refrigerant leaks should always be handled by professionals.

Professional Repairs and Replacements

HVAC professionals have the tools and expertise to accurately diagnose the extent of rust damage in your air conditioning system. They can identify areas that are most vulnerable and recommend the best course of action, whether it’s repair or replacement.

In some cases, the rust damage may be too extensive for repairs to be cost-effective. Our professionals can help you determine when it’s time to replace your air conditioning system with a modern, more energy-efficient model.

If you suspect that your air conditioning system is rusting, don’t hesitate to contact the Peaden Pros. Our team of HVAC experts is ready to provide the professional replacement or AC repair in Tallahassee needed to keep your home cool and comfortable. 

Call today to discover The Peaden Way: Service Is Our Passion, Safety Is Our Priority, Satisfaction Is Our Promise. 

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