Window A/C: corrosion and decomposition of coils


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Old 02-21-16, 08:04 AM
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Window A/C: corrosion and decomposition of coils

So I have this small 0.5 hp window aircon for 3 years about. I noticed when I first bought it that every time I opened it to clean it, there was a lot of water sitting in the tray. I never did anything about it because I was advised this was normal for this type of air conditioner.

Last time I opened it, the bottom part of the rear coils was rusted to the point where the screwhole fell off. This is obviously from sitting constantly in water. I don't think this normal.

But the reason for my post here is that I also found that on the rear coils on the inside and up towards the middle, all the metal is just flaking off. I ran a toothbrush lightly though it, and the coils just crumbled off. Is this from condensation?

I really don't know anything about air conditioners so I am grasping desperately here hoping for some help.

Can I still run the air conditioner like this? Is there a health danger? Do I need to replace the whole set of back coils? How can I prevent this from happening again if I do replace them?

Here's some photos:

Corrosion:

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Rust on the bottom:

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Old 02-21-16, 09:51 AM
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Where are you located? Anywhere near the coast where you may have salt air?

It sounds like the unit may have not been installed correctly and might be out of level. And/or the drain hole may be plugged and not letting the water drain out. That can cause the catch pan which is usually made of steel to rust. The coils and fins are aluminum so they won't rust but they can corrode (basically the same thing) especially with polluted acidic air or salt from a sea breeze. It can happen almost anywhere but I've only seen it get bad that quick in coastal areas.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 08:48 PM
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Thanks for your reply. No, I'm not located near the coast. It's possible it was installed incorrectly, since I "installed" it,I just put it inside the hole in the wall, didn't check levels.

So the corrosion in my first photo is also due to water sitting in the tray (its a plastic tray)?
Any advice what to do now?
Is it unsafe to run the aircon like this (with metal flaking off)?
 
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Old 02-22-16, 05:23 AM
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Could a dog pee on the coils? How high off the ground is it? When you cleaned the coils did you rinse all the coil cleaner off?
 
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Old 02-22-16, 06:01 PM
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I would check the leveling of the AC unit and make sure there is no debris in the tray that could clog the drain. Oh, and make sure the drain holes are clear.

The disintegration of the fins on your coil is unusual if is is only 3 years old. I've seen it happen on much older units and those exposed to salt air but 3 years is unusual. So, be mindful of any chemicals or cleaners that my get sprayed on the AC. Also, since it's already very fragile I would not attempt cleaning the coils or if you do do so very carefully. You don't want to break off any more fins. Your unit is safe to use but the more fins that get knocked off will hurt it's efficiency.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 07:54 PM
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There was nothing, no chemical, no cleaner, no dog pee...that got on the fins. In fact I never cleaned them.

The corrosion of the fins is limited to that one small area which you see in the photo, its not like that for all the fins. And that is only a section of the exterior fins inside the unit, there is no corrosion on the exterior fins facing outside.
 
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Old 02-23-16, 08:32 AM
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I guess the good thing is when it does completely die you want be out much money.
 
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Old 02-23-16, 09:08 AM
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Last couple window units I've bought didn't have a drain hole--just the fan "slinger" to remove the water (only when running of course). The tray always has water & debris in it.
Legionnaires anyone?
 
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Old 02-23-16, 11:26 AM
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water would be to cool and move way to much for legionnaires.
 
 

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