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When it comes to ashfall, please don’t wait for your vehicles to be damaged when exposed to volcanic ash. There are several ways to protect your car, both when it’s exposed to ashfall and how to prevent it from further damage. In the meantime, what does it have to do with the aircon? You probably wonder, is it ok to use the aircon when there is an ashfall?
Before going any further, beautiful places located near the Pacific Ocean, mainly Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Ecuador, and many other countries which are included in the ring of fire, are the areas that have many active volcanoes. Every volcanic eruption in these places is always accompanied by volcanic ashfall from magma. If inhaled, the ashes can cause some adverse health effects.
The dangers of ashfall affect all living things (humans, animals, and plants); it also affects inanimate objects. For instance, inanimate objects, mainly cars, will be damaged during ashfall if not cleaned immediately.
Compared to ordinary ash, volcanic ash causes a different degree of damage. The particles that come out of the volcano are said to have more potential to damage vehicles than ordinary ash.
In other words, the effect of the damage is quite significant. Mainly, your car’s metal parts or other body parts will be damaged since volcanic ash contains corrosive acids.
Can ashfall damage your vehicle’s air conditioner?
Ashfall is magnificent volcanic ash that has a very high level of sharpness like broken glass. On the other hand, having a high level of silica properties makes it prone to corrosion which can cause vehicles to rust. So, what parts of the car should you watch out for from the volcanic ash eruption?
Of course, being hit by ashfall can cause scratches on the exterior of your vehicle (body, windshield, etc.). In addition to the outer body parts of the car, the engine components also need extra attention. This means that you must maintain the cleanliness of your car areas, mainly the drive belt (fan belt), idler bearings, brakes, radiator grilles, and the aircon condenser.
For that reason, cleaning the air filter must be more frequent and replaced if the condition is terrible (mainly covered in dust). This aims to minimize dust entering the combustion chamber and make scratches on the engine cylinder walls.
In this case, yes, an ashfall can damage your car’s aircon. Car ACs are one of the most vulnerable components to be damaged if exposed to volcanic ash. The primary cooling devices in the aircon, such as condensers and evaporators, will not function properly if exposed to heavy ashfall. This will cause the aircon to lose its cool power.
It is more dangerous if the ash gets into the blower and makes the air dirty if it’s turned on. In addition, if there are components that must be replaced, they should be replaced immediately not to endanger the people inside.
Is it safe to use AC when there is ashfall?
With the dangers of ashfall described briefly above, is it ok to use an aircon when there is an ashfall? The short answer is NO. In reality, volcanic ash has different materials than regular ash. If you take a closer look, it has a rougher surface in the form of particles such as small pieces of toothed rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass.
Another fact is that when driving under a splash of volcanic ash, it is recommended that all car windows are tightly closed. This is to avoid the dust particles from entering the car cabin. Then, set your car AC to indoor circulation mode so that the car cabin is in a clean and comfortable condition. However, you should stay home safely and try not to go anywhere during ashfall to avoid any dangers.
Effects of ashfall on aircon
If you live in an ashfall impact area, then it doesn’t hurt you to understand more that ashfall is terrible for your car in general. This impact will also affect your car’s aircon. In other words, besides being harmful to humans if exposed directly (causing skin irritation, eye inflammation, and even shortness of breath), ashfall, which is abrasive and acidic, can damage your car if not appropriately protected.
Another general effect of ashfall on the aircon is that it can damage your car interior altogether, mainly damaging the windshield, clogging the air filter, creating rust, and damaging the engine. The ashfall particles will be sucked into the car when you turn on the AC. Therefore, the air from the condenser will get dirty faster. Apart from making all passengers sick, the air conditioner’s function will not be optimal, plus the interior of the car will be full of dust.
Ways to minimize the impacts of ashfall to air conditioner
Volcanic eruptions release various materials that negatively impact the health of residents and all types of vehicles. For this reason, one of the main ways to minimize the impacts of ashfall on AC is to minimize outdoor activities and to avoid driving.
Other ways, when you have to drive, don’t open the windshield during ashfall because the ash will be sucked into the car’s AC circulation system, which tends to block airflow. Immediately clean the car cabin after passing through areas affected by volcanic ash, especially around the dashboard and under the front deck where the air from the car’s AC circulation system circulates.
How do you clean aircon after ashfall?
As for cleaning your car’s aircon after an ashfall, make sure to clean the whole car carefully at first and don’t rush. Also, make sure you do the following things:
- Turn off the aircon and close all car windows and other air ducts when cleaning the aircon.
- After the ash lessens, replace the aircon filter.
- Clean the evaporator, blower, and air ducts, so that the remaining ashfall in the AC system doesn’t damage the health of the people in the car.
Overall, if you have the option of not using your vehicle during the volcanic ashfall, it’s the best thing to do for your own safety. If your car parks outside, you should cover the car with a car cover.