Anyone who’s ever had the unfortunate surprise of discovering rust damage on a tool, bicycle or boat knows how quickly it can ruin your day and blow your budget.
Turns out, the U.S. Department of Defense can empathize – on a very grand scale. The Government Accountability Office reports that corrosion costs the agency an estimated $23 billion annually, taking an estimated 16 percent of military assets (namely planes and ships) out of action. It was also reported that corrosion has been responsible for dozens of accidents and deaths within the department over the past three decades.
And that’s just in one federal department. NACE International reports that rust and corrosion collectively cost the U.S. a staggering $276 billion in direct losses every single year.
Prevention is the Most Cost Effective Approach
Just as corrosion can render your rifle or table saw unusable and dangerous, the corrosion of government tools, weapons, vehicles and equipment degrades their function and safe use. That ultimately leaves us less ready to respond to a crisis.
The Defense Science Board Task Force has estimated we could potentially reduce one-third of corrosion-related costs by investing in certain prevention and mitigation efforts, many of which are a fraction of the losses we sustain by letting nature take its course. One solution is the use of vapor corrosion inhibitors, or VCIs for short. In combination with other humidity-controlling storage methods, inexpensive VCI products have been found to extend the life of entire fleets of vehicles and equipment by years.
The DOD’s science task force report points to something those of us at Zerust have known for years: When it comes to rust damage, prevention is always preferable to dealing with it after the fact.
Consider, for example, where these consumer products are concerned:
- A good bicycle on average costs somewhere between $350 and $1,000. On the other hand, a Zerust bicycle cover for a single-rider bike is between $20 and $50. Take care of that bike by keeping it clean and storing it properly, it will last you many years with likely few repairs.
- Table saws at national hardware chain stores can run buyers anywhere from $200 to $4,000, depending on the make and model. Compare that to the Zerust table saw cover, which costs between $50 and $55 and offers up to five years of corrosion and rust damage prevention.
- Motorcycles can vary dramatically by price, but on average cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. A Zerust motorcycle cover, meanwhile, costs between $100 and $130 and can spare you the time and expense of costly repairs for up to five years.
It’s the same story for the VCI covers we sell for firearms, boats, ice skates, air conditioners, cars, ATVs, tools and more. The bottom line is that by investing a small amount in preventing rust damage, you save yourself a great deal of time, expense and grief in the long run.
The Never-Ending War Against Rust Damage
The cost of corrosion is nothing new. In fact, as noted by Jonathan Waldman, author of “Rust: The Longest War,” humans been battling corrosion and rust damage since we first started using metal. It just don’t typically make front page news. The reality is it costs us more than all other natural disasters – combined. Mitigation efforts are virtually always ongoing.
Corrosion and rust will continue to be a threat to the budgets of governments and consumers for as long as we’re using metal materials. The good news is that with the emergence of VCI technology, we have an effective, affordable weapon to fight back.
Contact Zerust for information on our rust prevention products by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.
That rust on your shower head? It’s a $6-billion problem for the Navy, cruise ships and more, Jan. 13, 2020, By Samantha Masunaga, The Los Angeles Times
More Blog Entries:
Fighting Rust: The Last Battle for U.S. WWII Ships, Other Historic Artifacts, June 9, 2019, Zerust Rust Damage Prevention Blog
There is something about brass that produces a great, rich timbre – perfect for musical instruments. Brass is a non-ferrous metal, meaning it contains no iron and therefore cannot rust. However, it is comprised of zinc and copper, which can tarnish and corrode over time when exposed to oxygen and moisture. A good brass instrument can last 100 years or more – but only if it’s properly cared for. The best way to prevent brass instrument tarnish is to keep the instrument clean and use Zerust VCI anti-tarnish capsules. (VCI stands for vapor corrosion inhibitor.)
Tarnish will cause brass instruments to appear duller, and could even result in degradation of certain components that could diminish the robustness of sound. The resale value of a tarnished musical instrument is often greatly reduced. Damage to the finish can be accelerated with exposure to the oil and dirt on hands and faces. That’s why many musicians are so fastidious about washing their hands before handling.
Although Zerust has historically served more mechanics than musicians, we have had several instrumentalists write to us in recent years to tell us how our anti-tarnish vapor capsules have helped them to protect their prized instruments from tarnish, rust and corrosion.
Many manufacturers and shippers rely on steel components in production. Some store valuable metal parts on shelves for months or years on end, with the assurance it will be available at a moment’s notice if needed. The last thing any manufacturer wants is to open that storage box to find important metal parts pocked with corrosion or rust. The parts may have to be junked for quality and safety reasons, but waiting on replacements can cause serious supply chain bottlenecks, sometimes costing more than the loss of the part itself. The better way to manage this risk is to prevent steel corrosion in the first place by storing these parts in VCI poly bags.
VCI stands for vapor corrosion inhibitor, and these bags can be indispensable if you store metal materials or parts into boxes for any extended amount of time. In some environments, corrosion can happen very quickly. Even climate-controlled warehousing won’t necessarily protect your products if there is no little to no protection from humidity.
This is true even for stainless steel. As noted in research published by the journal Nature, steel is susceptible to rust because it contains iron, one of the three elements (in addition to oxygen and water/humidity) that together cause oxidation. Stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion (to varying degrees) because of its chromium content. However, it is by no means immune. Often with exposed stainless steel, we’ll see small pits start to form because of sulphide impurities and uneven distribution of chromium content in the metal part.
The rumble of snow plows, salt trucks and other road-clearing commercial vehicles is increasingly common as we enter the thick of winter storm season. Most regions in the U.S. experience snow and ice storms to some degree each year, and transportation departments rely on these machines to clear roadways, runways and parking lots. Problem is, the highly-corrosive conditions and materials (salt, snow, sand, liquid de-icers) these vehicles endure season-after-season means fleets can quickly go out-of-service. Local governments invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on this problem, and many struggle to replace existing units on a regular schedule. They have a vested interest in extending the service life of their equipment, so many have come to rely on VCI vehicle covers.
VCI stands for “vapor corrosion inhibitor.” VCI vehicle covers are manufactured with non-toxic, rust-repelling vapor molecules that provide long-term protection to the metal parts encased inside. Many municipalities and even the U.S. military have become evangelists for VCI products in recent years. Rust and corrosion costs the Pentagon more money annually than some of its most expensive weapons systems – up to $21 billion annually, according to a Defense Management audit last year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Another study by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration revealed direct costs associated with metallic corrosion just in the motor vehicle sector alone is $23.4 billion-a-year. Several noted “optimum corrosion management practices” – including the use of VCI vehicle covers – had the potential to slash these expenses by one-third.
Preventing boat rust isn’t solely about ensuring your ship shines. It’s about the assurance it stays seaworthy and protecting your investment.
Beyond just being unsightly, boat rust and corrosion can spring a huge leak in your bank account because, as noted by BoatUS Magazine, the majority of boat insurance policies expressly exclude coverage for this type of damage – even if a boat sinks from corrosion-damaged thru-hull fittings.
What’s more, boat rust a safety issue. More than one boat crash has been attributed to failed corroded steering fitting.
One of the best shipmates a recreational seafarer can ask for is a Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor. Zerust produces VCI Capsules for Boats designed specifically to guard against rust and corrosion damage to boats, which are are under constant assault from the elements as well as the risk of galvanic corrosion. Electrical systems, motor and propeller are among the vessel components most prone to corrosion and rust damage.
Top Causes of Boat Rust and Corrosion
So much misinformation abounds about the naturally-occurring processes of boat rust and corrosion. Boat-owning mariners must take time to get a handle on what hey are how best to combat them.
Both rust and corrosion are chemical reactions – the former involving metal exposure to moisture and oxygen and the latter typically due to one metal’s contact with another. Some boat owners may battle both. The type of “rust war” you’re waging generally boils down to:
- The type of metal(s) involved;
- The environment in which the boat is used;
- The care used in vessel storage.
Let’s start with aluminum.
Boating Magazine reports that in a single recent year, U.S. boaters purchased more than 77,000 boats made of aluminum. That doesn’t even include the many non-motorized personal watercraft, such as canoes, made with the material.
Aluminum is a desired material for both military and recreational boats because it’s inexpensive, light and it does not rust the way steel and iron do. However, aluminum is susceptible to galvanic corrosion, an electrochemical reaction caused by proximity to other chemicals. In fact, aluminum is particularly vulnerable to breaking down when in contact with other metals in saltwater.
Protecting aluminum vessels starts with manufacturing, and ensuring aluminium components of a boat aren’t in proximity to other corrosive active elements. There are also protective coating paints one can apply to help ward off underwater galvanic corrosion. Owners of aluminium boats need to be especially cautious before placing them in saltwater.
For maximum protect, Zerust high-performance Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor capsules provide a non-toxic, protective vapor seal against corrosion within a 1-to-6-foot enclosed area. (Larger areas can be protected with multiple VCI capsules.) This can shield electrical components on board, but it’s also a smart idea to install these cost-effective boat capsules to protect the vessels while it’s in storage.
Now let’s talk stainless steel.
Stainless steel is another popular boat-making material, but whoever named it “stainless” was likely an eternal optimist because the reality is: Steel boat rust is real, as steel is reactive when hit with the combined elements of water and oxygen.
The good news is a fair amount of marine-grade stainless steel is high-quality and designed to reduce boat rust and corrosion, particularly with prevention of pitting, which can be disastrous for a steel boat in saltwater. Stainless steel made with higher chromium content will fare better.
However, many boaters with stainless elements like screws exposed to damp deck cores have discovered a type of corrosion known as “crevice corrosion,” which can cause substantial weakening. Some boat owners are caught completely by surprise when they find out a fastener they thought was stainless steel is in fact zinc or cheap-plated steel, in which case they’ll soon note rust rot. A good test of whether your boat has a solid, high-grade stainless steel fittings is whether those components are attracted by magnets. If they do, that’s not a good sign. Those fittings are typically not what you want on your boat.
Combat Boat Rust and Corrosion With Zerust VCI
Zerust VCI capsules to prevent boat rust and corrosion are an inexpensive and effective way to provide top quality protection for your vessel.
If you have questions about the proper type, size and use of Zerust VCI boat rust capsules, our friendly, knowledgeable team of rust prevention experts is here to help.
Contact Zerust for information on Vapor Capsules and boat rust prevention by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.
Protecting Aluminum Boats From Salt Water Corrosion, Feb. 12, 2013, By David Seidman, Boating Magazine
Ten Boating Myths Dispelled, September 2008, By Charles Fort, Boat U.S. Magazine
More Blog Entries:
Zerust Boat Rust Prevention Keeps Corrosion at Bay, May 15, 2018, Zerust Boat Rust Prevention Blog
An estimated 10.5 million people in the U.S. live in homes wherein one or more resident owns an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Through the mud, snow, ice or other rough turf, we put our ATVs through a world of punishment – and these machines are tough enough to tackle most all of it. However, one challenge your ATV is unlikely to easily overcome is rust.
Some ATV owners use an ATV cover, but unless the cover specifically has rust prevention technology woven into the fabric, it’s unlikely to prevent rust from forming in either temporary or seasonal storage.
ATV rust can be a real drag, almost always requiring some repair, which is expensive, especially if you don’t catch it right away. It also means between the time the rust is discovered and you can get your quad back from a mechanic, you’re sidelined. The high cost could mean you’re grounded for weeks. If you plan on selling the ATV soon or even just somewhere down the line, that rust is going to be a direct blow to the resale value. If you ignore the rust, you could be risking the safety of you and your riders (particularly children under 16, who account for an estimated 28,000 serious ATV injuries annually).
Rust on electronics is an increasingly common problem in our modern world. Your PC, home entertainment gear, gaming equipment, electronics in your car or boat – all of it may be vulnerable to rust damage. Because rust on electronics and their components might not be readily detected, consumers often overlook it as a catalyst when there is a device or component failure. In reality, corrosion is becoming a significant factor in the reliability of electric and electronic equipment.
We often don’t think of rust on electronics as being a serious issue because it’s often invisible unless we can see inside. You may not notice a problem initially, but over time, the rust and corrosion can set in, causing the device to stop working.
Replacing these items can be incredibly expensive. One study published in The Open Corrosion Journal posits rusting of electric equipment costs an estimated $5 billion in the U.S. for repairs, downtime and replacements.
If you live in a cooler climate, chances are you aren’t giving much thought to your air conditioner right now. You should.
Air conditioner covers can help prevent system failures that require expensive repairs and replacement. Protecting your HVAC unit through heat pump and air repair by Green Street HVAC is important not just for winter, but year-round. While your air conditioner may be equipped to endure rain and snow, it’s probably not built to keep out leaves and other contaminants. These elements contain moisture that can inhibit the system’s built-in drainage components, resulting in corrosion. If you live in a warm, coastal environment, a good air conditioner cover is a must to fight corrosive salt in the air.
CED Engineering reports corrosion is responsible for 40 percent of all equipment failures of industrial HVAC units. It’s worth considering similar damage to residential outdoor air conditioning units.
Zerust HQ – Workbench
Despite the fact that rust never sleeps, it’s that time of year when we set our burden down, and take stock of all that we are thankful for. And so, on this day before Thanksgiving, we’d like to express our gratitude to you, the Zerust customer.
Fighting rust and providing the world with reliable rust protection technology is our passion. Delivering that rust proofing technology to you, the Zerust customer, has been our pleasure.
From our rust inhibiting Zerust Skate Guard Covers to our nifty Zerust vapor capsules – you demanded newer, longer lasting rust inhibitor products, and we aimed to deliver. We keep going, fighting the good fight against rust thanks to you.
And so, on behalf of everyone here at Zerust Headquarters, and the eggheads behind the Z-HQ Workbench Blog, here’s wishing you and yours the very best this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!
May joy and peace surround you,
Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now,
And bless you evermore.