Why do wall AC units keep failing every other year in a coastal area?

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Old 07-04-20, 05:18 AM
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Why do wall AC units keep failing every other year in a coastal area?

Hello, I live in Miami in the bay, water is a couple feet away so there is sea breeze all the time. I have an old condo that has wall AC units on each room, for some reason I have to replace each unit every other year, at a cost of $400 each it tends to get pricey. I've heard people having their AC units work for 8+ years.
what is the main reason these units keep failing? This has been going on for 15+ years. Anyway to prevent or at least any preventive maintenance I can do to make them last longer. At this time I'm using koldston ac ac units.
They all seem corroded up to a certain point but that is not what fails, I have one that blows air but not cold air. Filters are clean. With these units it is cheaper buying a new one than calling an HVAC guy.
I'm not a fan of waste either.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 08:22 AM
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Coastal areas are tough on equipment. There are several companies that address corrosive environment applications. Here's a link to one:

https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/16693...EX%20IECEX.pdf
 
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Old 07-04-20, 08:25 AM
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We can inspect your air conditioners and you haven't even given us many solid clues so that leaves us guessing. Since you are coast I'd suspect corrosion is not helping. A weekly fresh water rinse of the outside portions can help slow down corrosion.

Other than that and keeping the air filter clean there really aren't any user serviceable parts. They are sealed units so they generally work or they don't. Many seem to die from refrigerant leaks. This leaves them running but they don't cool. Because the units aren't designed to be serviced there is no easy way to replace the refrigerant. Even if you do recharge them there is still the original problem that caused it to fail in the first place.

Most modern window AC units are cheap and of rather poor quality. It's not unusual for them to last only a few years while an old AC made long ago might not be very efficient but it keeps running strong. Still, you should expect to get more than one season. I have never heard of koldston ac and a Google search did not find that brand either so I suspect it is a cheap, Chinese import. With such short lives I would certainly be looking at the warranty to see if they are covered.

You can try reading reviews to find higher quality air conditioners. I would avoid review sites that have Amazon links to the units as they are usually just looking for your clicks and most don't actually test the units they are reviewing. Someplace like Consumer Reports would be a good place to check. You can also ask others in your area and AC companies if there are window units that last longer.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 09:00 AM
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Zinc anode, $13 from big-box store.



If you check around the local small -boat or scrap metal shops, you could probably pickup zinc-boat-anodes at pounds-per dollar prices, BUT you'd have to cut them into mountable pieces.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 10:23 AM
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I agree with PD, in that I have never heard of that brand. I too suspect its a cheap brand & obviously, made with cheap parts & workmanship like fittings not soldered well & the Freon leaks out or the cheap solder breaks cracks etc.

I built a 16X24 shop in 2001 & put a Hampton Bay (Home Depot) 10,000 btu window unit in the wall. That thing would frost the windows on a 110 degree Louisiana August day.... and did so until we sold that place in 2017. Never had a minutes trouble out of it.

On the other hand, my brother bought a storage shed about 4 years ago. The mfg installed a 12,000 btu heat/ac & it quit cooling this year. I dont know the brand.

I just bought three 7500 btu heat/ac units this year for two portable buildings. These were LG's..... we'll see. I just hope they are as good as that Hampton Bay was.

In short, regarding my advice based on the info you provided, I'd try some name brand, good quality window units. And make sure you're buying an ac that will easily cool the area you need cooled. For goodness sakes, dont buy one too small.

Good luck.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 10:31 AM
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Wild guess, Koldfront air conditioners from WalMart?
 
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Old 07-04-20, 10:50 AM
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What specifically is failing that requires replacing the unit? Coil corroding? Refrigerant leaking?
 
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Old 07-04-20, 01:07 PM
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My apologies, it's koldfront by edgestar model WTC8001W, thatothat died and had to replace, the Fedders is the one that blows air but not cold air, I cleaned the filter,.opened it up and cleaned the inside, nothing seems corroded. My apologies for giving wrong information.

Pictures
 
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Old 07-04-20, 01:52 PM
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That beautiful sea breeze, where you can literally smell and taste the sea, ALSO means that sea salt will eat your A/C units in 24 months.

You are effectively "on the water" in the same way that a boat tied up in your back yard is "on the water."
This means that the ultra-thin steel or aluminum that makes A/C units efficient (cheap) will quickly corrode and develop pin-holes that kill the A/C units.
This means you have to maintain your A/C units like a steel boat in saltwater: you want to connect a block of zinc to the A/C unit metal, so that the block of zinc corrodes and protects the expensive steel or aluminum pipes and cooling fins.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 03:23 PM
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Anodes don't work like that. You can't just bolt one to the fender of your car and expect it to prevent corrosion. That's why you only see them used underwater. They need to be immersed in the electrolyte (water) and electrically connected to the metal needing protection.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane
They need to be immersed in the electrolyte (water) and electrically connected to the metal needing protection.
Agreed. But humid air acts or condensation acts as an electrolyte and connects the galvanic circuit.

1) Based on the time I've spent in Florida (Ft. Lauderdale) there is LOTS of humid air. And A/C units in humid conditions dump huge amounts of water.
2) The A/C units are grounded. Within a few feet of a salt-water bay.
3) Based on the number of kids with lead poising in Miami-Dade, it looks like there are plenty of lead drain pipes in the Miami metro area. Which means the lead pipes in contact with saltwater are completing a galvanic circuit.

When you add 1) + 2) + 3), you can conclude that humid salt air and saltwater in contact with the ground wire beneath the house is likely electrically connected to lead drain pipes which would create a galvanic circuit that quickly corrodes steel and aluminum that are grounded to saltwater-saturated soil.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 07:02 AM
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Where would you put the zinc anode bar? Have you had experience, you are in Ft Laudy which is not far from me so we face the same coastal breeze.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 07:16 AM
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Water vapor in the air is not an electrolyte. If putting anodes on something in the air worked you wold see them on almost everything metal. Have you seen them on cars, trucks, bridges, sign posts... If you want further proof take a look a boats on the hard, dealers lot or in on a trailer in someone's driveway. The anodes do nothing to protect against corrosion while the boat is out of the water.
 
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