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How to remove rust from electrical connectors?

When I turn on my air conditioner at the thermostat the vents kick on but nothing outside. Also the last time that it worked it took a few minutes to get going and was pretty loud. I checked the electric all the way from the breaker box to the outside fuse box for the air conditioner and everything was good.

The unit is about 3-4 years old. When I took off the side panel I noticed a lot of rust and found that some of the electric tabs were ready to fall off.

Here are some pictures:

There was a yellow wired that just crumbled when I touched it. I am guessing that was the culprit but could be any or all.

So questions are.

Is this a normal amount of rust for the inside of an air conditioner after a few years? The outside looks brand new, it sits under and overhang, and the area where the compressor is looks brand new.

All of the connections to both of these pieces is heavily rusted. What is the suggestion to fix? Where can I buy the items and all that good stuff? I am good with electric, just have never used caps or worked on air conditioner.

And lastly - how can I keep this thing from rusting out so fast in the future?

3 Answers 3

I would strongly encourage you to replace this unit (the Siemens component, not the entire AC) and replace the ends to those electrical wires. Simply put if the rust situation is that terrible I wouldn't be at all surprised if the integrity of the unit is already compromised, i.e. ready to fail you at any time. Your yellow wire is almost certainly why it's not working now, but it's a pain to fix it, and then have to fix it again only a few days/weeks later.

This is not a normal amount of rust; a great deal of humidity is getting to it, more than usual. I'm a Florida resident who had a 12 year old AC unit at one point that had been through a number of hurricanes and tropical storms, and it was only slightly oxidized, no rust. (Though I had to regularly open it for service because for whatever reason ants loved to commit suicide by throwing their bodies in between the electrical contacts)

To fix the rust you'll need to find where it's getting exposed to so much humidity from. Likely a seal or gasket is bad. You can either replace the broken seal/gasket or there are after-market products used as essentially spray on sealants. I recommend fixing it properly and replacing whatever seal or gasket is broken, but in a pinch squirting some sealant into the location that's leaking (with the AC OFF and given enough time to dry) will resolve minor leaks (depending on the severity).

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