Rust can make just about anything look old before its time, including your air conditioning unit. Your first inclination upon seeing the brownish menace is to treat your A/C cabinet to a couple of coats of rust-inhibiting paint. But don't break out the brush and paint bucket just yet!

There are plenty of good reasons why giving your rusty A/C cabinet a new paint job could do more harm than good to your air conditioning system.

Paint Overspray Can Clog Coils

When it comes to DIY fixes, painting an air conditioner is one job you can't afford to be sloppy with. Paint overruns are common and even the pros must exercise caution to prevent it from happening. Errant droplets of paint can easily land on the condenser coil and create blockages between the coil fins. The dried droplets not only prevent air from passing through the coils, but they can also disrupt the heat transfer process at the coil's surface.

Overly thick coats of paint can make exterior vents shrink and even close up altogether. The end result is the same as clogged coil fins – less air is able to make it past the vents. Clogged vents can reduce your A/C system's ability to keep your home cool, plus you'll run an increased risk of the air conditioner overheating and failing under intense stress.

Paint Only Hides Deeper Issues

Repainting a rusty air conditioner may fix its outward appearance, but the presence of heavy rust buildup signals other, more serious problems lurking underneath. Rust isn't just a surface-level problem – it can also attack other components within the air conditioning unit. While it's possible to repaint your A/C cabinet cover to tackle rust, the same can't be said for other components, including the condenser fan and compressor.

Extreme rust buildup can also affect how those A/C components work. Rust buildup can damage bearings and create excessive friction and noise, resulting in a negative impact on your A/C system's overall performance. Rust can also hide other problems with your A/C system, including refrigerant leaks.

Depending on the age and overall condition of your A/C system, you may be better off with a complete replacement rather than spending the time and expense repainting your A/C cabinet. Once you have your new A/C system in place, consider taking measures to rustproof your system. These measures include the use of sacrificial anodes on rust- and corrosion-prone areas of your A/C unit.

For more information, reach out to a company such as ABCO Mechanical Corp.