Replace Peed-On Air Conditioner Fins Before More Serious Repairs Are Needed

Male dogs mark their territory, regardless of who actually owns the property that they pee on and whether their habits cause damage. If a dog has been urinating on your air conditioner, you should have the unit's fins checked by a technician. They may be rusted, in which case they need to be replaced before the interior of your unit corrodes and more expensive repairs are needed.

Canine Urine Makes Air Conditioner Fins Rust

Air conditioner fins are made out of aluminum, an affordable and pliable metal that resists corrosion -- under normal circumstances. When exposed to air and moisture, aluminum holds up well. discusses a piece of aluminum that was exposed to the elements off of Sweeden's coast: After 20 years, the rust was only 0.15 millimeters deep -- not even 1/100th of an inch.

When exposed to urine, however, aluminum corrodes quickly, as K-9 Kondo notes. The acids in urine will eat away at aluminum. Since fins used in air conditioners are so thin, the acids will quickly create holes in the fins.

Damage to Air Conditioning Fins Can Be Hard to See

Even though you might not notice any damage to your air conditioning fins, small rust spots might be hard to notice for a couple of reasons. First, the holes are often small, sometimes just the size of a pin at first. Second, dogs often mark their territory near the ground, so the leaks are likely to be on the bottom portion of the fins. In order to spot tiny holes on the lowest part of your air conditioner fins, you'll need to get very close.

If there is any sign of damage, you should have a trained technician take a look at your air conditioner. You might want to call an air conditioning repair service even if you don't see signs of corrosion but have noticed a dog marking your unit consistently, as small spots will likely appear soon. A technician will be able to inspect your air conditioner's fins for damage and, if there is any, recommend a course of action.

Repairing Fins is Cheaper than Fixing Interior Parts

Small pinholes in your fins might not significantly affect your air conditioner's performance, but any larger spots of rust will probably require repair. If there's any significant corrosion on your air conditioner's fins, your technician will likely recommend replacing the fins. Like all repairs, this will cost money -- but it will be a lot cheaper than replacing interior components that could rust if the damage is left unchecked.

If you ignore the rust on your fins, the holes will continue to increase in size. Eventually, they'll let both rain and urine into the interior of your air conditioner, where they can corrode more expensive components. Lines that carry freon could rust through, which would create several issues. If this happens, you would need to

  • repair the rusted lines
  • clean up the leaked freon
  • recharge your air conditioner with new freon

Making these repairs would be more expensive than replacing your air conditioner's fins, as additional parts would be needed, and the work would take longer. You'd be better off asking your technician to repair any damaged fins than putting off the work until these more serious problems arose.

If there's a dog in your neighborhood that regularly urinates on your air conditioner, do everything you can to break it of the habit. Your air conditioner's fins have likely already begun to rust, though. Ask a technician from a company like A Bailey Plumbing to come and look at them before the inside of your air conditioner also corrodes, which would increase the cost of necessary repairs.