Pee Problems: The Danger of Dog Urine on Outside Air Conditioners

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It's not as though most dog owners are aware of where their dog urinates when in the backyard. Sure, there is another bodily waste that leaves a steaming pile of evidence, but unless there is an abundance of urine-inflicted discolouration on the lawn, you probably don't know where your dog pees. While you might not necessarily be interested in where your dog urinates, there is one place where their urine has the potential to cause costly damage. If you have ever observed your dog urinating on the external component of your split system air conditioner (or even if you suspect that this is happening), you need to take action.


In small quantities, the corrosive effects of dog urine are unlikely to do much damage. In larger quantities, the corrosion can cause extreme deterioration, as was the case when a lamp post toppled over in the city of San Diego after repeated exposure to dog urine (and as dog owners know, this is can be a favourite peeing spot for pooches). The danger is that is your dog repeatedly urinates on the external component of your split system air conditioner, then corrosion is certainly possible.

Your Air Conditioner

While the metal casing of the air conditioner can be affected, the real danger is what the corrosion can do to the unit's condensing coils. In extreme cases, if the coils are breached, then the refrigerant material that passes through these coils will leak. This greatly reduces the efficiency of the unit, and can even render it unuseable until repairs have been made. Many units will also feature metal fins which are attached to the coils to increase their surface area (boosting the efficiency of the unit). Again, if these fins suffer from corrosion, the unit will be unable to operate at its maximum efficiency.

What to Do

If you have noticed your dog urinating on the unit on a number of occasions, you will need to head off any damage before it becomes severe. Air conditioning maintenance should be scheduled to check for any damage to the coils, with repairs performed if necessary. To prevent this from happening again, you might wish to erect a small fence around the unit to keep your dog away (this fence still needs to allow the flow of air in order for the unit to operate). It is also possible to train your dog to only urinate in one particular spot in your backyard. You might also wish to install plants around the air conditioning unit that are known to deter dogs.

Hopefully your pooch would never urinate on your air conditioner. If it breaks, he will certainly be in the doghouse, so to speak.