Your Place: A voice of experience on beach-house cooling

Another Jersey Shore reader has weighed in on the effects of sea air on air-conditioning systems, and his experience makes him one of the frontline experts I've been seeking.

Adam Cerbone of Windsor, Conn., has - "had," he added in his e-mail - a house on the beach block at Ortley Beach that is being rebuilt because Hurricane Sandy dumped 42 inches of water into it, causing it to float "like a little ship."

In an earlier column, I discussed various models designed for use in coastal locations, and Cerbone "specified the Carrier coastal model of air-conditioning condenser" I'd mentioned.

He offered a suggestion on how to prolong the life of a condenser at the Shore based on his experience, so I will pass it on.

In 2006, he added air-conditioning to the Ortley Beach house, with the condenser a standard Bryant model that had no special coastal treatments.

"Every year in the fall, and sometimes in the spring, I would spray the unit with a desalination product called Salt-Away," Cerbone said, "and finish it off with clear water."

Salt-Away, he said, is designed for neutralizing salt when flushing boat engines, or even when rinsing the boat hull. Though Salt-Away is what he used, "there are other brands of similar products."

First, fill a hose-dispensing unit that mixes the concentrate with a water stream. Since the condenser is designed for rain, dousing the fins and all exposed surfaces is simple enough.

"I am not saying that there was no salt or corrosion on the fins at all, but they did not look that much different than my unit well inland here in Connecticut," Cerbone said. In fact, with the unit running, it helped disperse the fluid and assisted drying.

Before adding the central air-conditioning system, Cerbone had window units.

"The corrosion after 10 years was unbelievable, the performance over time de- graded, and they became more and more noisy," he said. But after six years, his Bryant condenser was in great shape.

"The flood killed it, but otherwise I bet it would still be fine today," Cerbone said. Even though the new house is getting the coastal version, "I plan to follow the same process moving forward." or write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.