Rheem Air Conditioning
Rheem Air Conditioner Units Sold With Defective Coils, Leaking Reported
Rheem Manufacturing, a leader in the air conditioning manufacturing and sales industry, is selling air conditioning units to consumers with the expectation that the air conditioners will operate appropriately and will last for years. Customers, instead, report being sold central air conditioner units that have been constructed with defective, leaking evaporator coils.
What’s more, according to a number of reports, Rheem does not appear to be honoring its warranty. Our firm is investigating claims for a Class Action Lawsuit against Rheem Manufacturing for selling air conditioning units constructed with defective evaporator coils.
AC Coils Leak, Warranty Not Honored
Rheem evaporator coils are reportedly leaking just after the unit has been installed, in many cases. When these leaks occur within the warranty period, Rheem has the option of replacing the defective coils. Instead, according to reports, Rheem has only been offering replacement costs for parts, not labor.
Should the customer discover the leak following expiration of the relatively short warranty period, consumers are expected to pay for replacement coils and labor, which may total about $2,000, despite that Rheem appears to be aware of the issue with their coils.
Science Backs Copper Coil Corrosion Theories
Experts explain that the corrosion seen in some Rheem air conditioner models causes the coils to leak. A prevailing theory is that contaminants in the air cause the corrosion, which occurs on indoor coils during the cooling cycle. The contaminants apparently become acidic when exposed to moisture, which causes etching on the coils, a phenomenon known as “Ant-Nest Corrosion” because the etching appears similar to ant nest activity. This corrosion thins the coils, eventually making the coils porous and very prone to leaking.
The coil’s copper surface “will be discolored adjacent to the corrosion pit(s). Surface films can vary from dull gray-black to red-brown or purple, depending upon the specific environment,” Peter Elliot of Corrosion Materials Consultancy Inc., and Richard A. Corbett of Corrosion Testing Laboratories wrote in a paper on the matter, according to an ABC News report. “The corrosion initiates from the tube surface and progresses rapidly into the tube wall,” they explained. The damage progresses rapidly; “Perforation usually occurs in weeks or months, not years.”
Researchers writing in Metal Madrid, report that the defect causes “the loss of refrigerant liquid and the consequent environment pollution. It is known that attack requires the simultaneous presence of moisture, oxygen, and a corrodent, usually an organic acid … or other volatile organic substances.” In fact, note the team, some 10 percent “of all premature failures of copper tubes used in the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) industry are the result of ant-nest corrosion” and “usually occurs in thin-wall copper pipes, especially when copper is de-sulphurized.
The paper authored by Elliot and Corbett provided the same explanation that, “Any nest corrosion will only occur when oxygen, moisture, and a specific corrodent, usually an organic acid, are simultaneously present on a copper surface. The damage is worse when stagnant fluids are retained against the copper surface, or when crevices are part of the unit design.”
Although the cause of the coil corrosion appears to be well understood and scientifically backed, Rheem continues to sell air conditioning units that suffer from this flaw and refuses to compensate consumers appropriately.
Help for Owners of Rheem Air Conditioning Units
We are available to help anyone who is in possession of a Rheem central air conditioning system. Whether your unit has failed or not, you may be entitled to compensation under product liability laws. To lean more about your legal rights, please complete our online form for a free evaluation of your case. You may also call our office at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today to speak with one of our product liability lawyers.