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I live in mid-western CT and this is the first time in my 40yrs ive ever seen this happen. Some of my tools and the Stainless steel Fridge we have in the garage are rusting!? Even the drill Chuck ends of my drills are rusting. It was really humid and hot out last week for like 5-7 days. But even before that the fridge was starting to rust... its stainless steel!!!?? My tool box is also stainless and its starting to rust some.. The garage is a 2 car attached to my house on 2 sides. And theres a playroom above it, accesible from inside the house upstairs. The house was built in 2006 and Ive lived in it for 3 years and this is the first time its happened. Central air in the house too. So it stays cool inside on the 2 walled sides. I put a fan in the garage and leave the door open sometimes when we pull our hot cars in to try and cool the garage down first. Anyone ever encounter this? I feel like something in the garage is causing things to rust... So strange.


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Nope no fertilizer or salt in the garage. It been goin on for months too. Everytime i would grab a beer or stuff out of the garage fridge my hands woud smell like rust. Thought it was my well water at first but then traced it to the fridge. The. Noticed other stuff was getting rusty. Honeslty never seen this happen before.
And i havent introduced any new objects into the garage that I can thinn would cause it. Weird! Maybe the fridge is causing it.. lol? I got to give it a good scrubbing.


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What you might think is stainless steel is likely only an alloy. With appliances stainless steel is a marketing term - it really isn’t stainless but is made to look that way.
Combine that with the fast that most consumer stainless is very poor quality. My brother just bought a "stainless" fridge and the first thing I noticed was all the magnets he had stuck on it. Duh! That ain't good. :)
 

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Combine that with the fast that most consumer stainless is very poor quality. My brother just bought a "stainless" fridge and the first thing I noticed was all the magnets he had stuck on it. Duh! That ain't good. :)
There are basically two categories of stainless,, 300 series, and 400 series.

The 400 series will stick to a magnet, and it will rust.
the stainless knife you have in your pocket is 400 series,,
the knife manufacturer tells you in the instructions, the blade will rust.

You can not sharpen 300 series stainless,,,

A note on the OP's rusting,, look for something that is causing it.
a car (or tractor) battery that is over 4 years old will start giving off sulfuric acid,,,, RUST!!

Even some flashlight batteries can give off corrosive fumes,,, :flag_of_truce:
 

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There are basically two categories of stainless,, 300 series, and 400 series.

The 400 series will stick to a magnet, and it will rust.
the stainless knife you have in your pocket is 400 series,,
the knife manufacturer tells you in the instructions, the blade will rust.
Technically, it has to do with the particular iron allotrope - for the purposes of this mention, meaning the crystalline structure of the steel - and whether it is martensitic or austenitic. 400 series alloys are martensitic and magnetic; 300 series are austenitic and non magnetic. I'm no metallurgist, but I believe that the crystal structure of austenite is what makes it more corrosion resistant and also harder to temper and sharpen.

Al
 

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Stainless steel is not "corrosion proof" it IS "corrosion resistant". Put it next to regular carbon or alloy steel and stainless will definitely have less corrosion. Stainless steel WILL rust/corrode, depends on environment.

Do you have a concrete floor/slab in your garage? Do you run your car into the garage in the winter? If so, you probably have dragged in salt from the roads that drips into the concrete floor. Most salts are chlorides and chlorides can attack stainless as well as other steels and metals. You may not store salt in your garage, but it's probably there from outside sources, even tracked in on our shoes and boots.

As for being magnetic or not, 400 series is more magnetic than 300 series, and how much magnetic 300 series is depends on how it was processed and heat treatment.

Not saying that this is the only cause, just my 2 cents.
 

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Technically, it has to do with the particular iron allotrope - for the purposes of this mention, meaning the crystalline structure of the steel - and whether it is martensitic or austenitic. 400 series alloys are martensitic and magnetic; 300 series are austenitic and non magnetic. I'm no metallurgist, but I believe that the crystal structure of austenite is what makes it more corrosion resistant and also harder to temper and sharpen.

Al
IMHO, not really allotrope (per the googled definition), but YES, crystal structure. 400 series is hardenable by heat treating, 300 series is not. Austenitic 300 series is non-magnetic because of it's crystal structure, but ferrite form is magnetic, therefore, depends on actual chemistry and heat treatment and what the ratio of ferrite to austenite is, and that determines how magnetic it is.

The hardenability/higher hardness of 400 series keeps a better edge (sharpness). You can "sharpen" a 300 series knife, but it's so soft that it wouldn't keep its edge very long, so it is not a good knife steel.

Corrosion resistance basically is controlled by the amount of chromium and nickel alloy in, amongst other factors like crystal structure/heat treatment.

Yes, can be technical and boring, so I'll stop here.
 

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I don’t have any real rust issues, but here is what I have seen in my garage. It has 2-9x7 doors, 1 outside window, and 1 door to the house. There are also 2 floor drains. My forced hot water boiler is also in the garage. The garage is under the kitchen, dining and living rooms. There is insulation in the ceiling, but no sheet rock. Adjacent to my garage is a finished room in which I run a dehumidifier year round. In the summer, the finished room is noticeably cooler and drier than the garage.
When it is humid, like it was last week, the cement floor gets wet. Well, more like damp I guess. But there is no condensation on anything…with one exception. All my plumbing for the upstairs is above the garage. It is all non-insulated PEX tubing, and when it is real humid, it sweats like crazy. But that is only if I leave the 2 doors open for a long time during humid weather.

I realize that my set up is probably quite different than yours. However, you might want to consider putting a dehumidifier in your garage and leaving it on whenever you have the doors closed.
 

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Ferric chloride

Any ferric chloride (etchant) stored in the garage? Pool/spa chlorine? I agree it's likely some kind of chemical that's become air born.
 

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Another likely cause is that because its attached to your air conditioned home, everything in it is cooler than the outside air.
In high humidity conditions, this causes condensation on anything colder than the outside air temp when you open the door.
Now, your fridge could be causing issues, because there is a drip pan under it that collects water. That water gets evaporated by the fan, and goes into the air. If your garage isnt vented, well, thats just more moisture in the air.
If you believe the salt theory, or rather that you have salt in the concrete because the theory is sound, you could clean the floor well, then seal it with an epoxy coating. If my floor were in good shape, Id do that, but I have several cracks so it wouldnt look all that nice.

Ive been dealing with this for several years and am in the process of negating it as much as I can. I get it so bad I get moisture standing on the concrete floor (and no, its not coming up through it, Ive checked).
I have an AWFUL lot of money wrapped up in my tools, and cant have them rusting. In my case, I wipe them down with WD40 or Deep Creep to keep the moisture off after Im done using them. This works well, but is not a good solution.
The previous owner replaced the roof at some point, and had a ridge vent put in. Thats great, except there is no soffit vent to go with it. This creates an interesting effect of the warm moist air not being vented properly, and at night when it cools, more damp air comes in through that same ridge vent.
Im in the process of adding soffit vents to correct that problem, then adding an insulated ceiling.
I believe my problem also stems from the concrete itself getting well below freezing during the Winter and taking a long time for its temp to rise in the Spring and Summer because its shaded all day long, as is the ground around it. Thats another aspect of it too, getting sunlight to the garage.
That will increase the slab temp sooner, and heat the roof, which in conjunction with the soffit vents, create better ventilation as the hot air naturally escapes through the ridge vent.
Thats the greatly condensed (pun intended) version of whats going on at my place, but garages can be a pain when its humid.

One other thing you can do, they make a product you can place inside your toolbox that protects your tools from rust. Zerust is one. No idea how well they work. Id wanted to get a few, but since I started wiping my tools down, its not really been an issue.
My bare steel I use for fabricating sometimes has issues, but no way to correct that without correcting the moisture problem first, which Ill attempt with a dehumidifier once I get the ceiling and attic ventilation done should the sunlight not dry things out enough.
 

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Do you have any muriatic acid in gallon jugs or high power toilet bowl cleaners close by? Muriatic acid will become airborne even with the lid sealed. Those vapors will rust every metal within reach. Also sustained excess humidity with no airflow.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow! Thanks guys! All good reaponses and things to consider! And we may be onto somwthing here!

1. This stainless fridge will not allow a magnet to stick to it. Its was used inside my old house as our main fridge for near 10years. We moved to this house 3 years ago last month. Its been in garage the whole time and has never rusted till about a month or so ago.

2. No pool chemicals or any new chems introduced into the garage ever.

3. I will definitley pull the fridge tomight to check behind/around it and look at the drip pan underneath. Right after i jump my wifes car and move it out of the way.... which leads to..

4. Funny the battery thig was mentioned. My wifes Merc ML350 kills its battery roughly once every other month or so. She drove it yesterday for an hour and then parked it. And then the Dang thing wouldnt start this am. Its also died at the Airport for 3 days while we were away in Florida back in May 18-20. These later 2000 model mercs have been known to do this. I wonder if this is whats causing the corrosion!!! Its parked right next to the fridge and work bench where other things rusted!! - Now we may be onto something!!!



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Unless it's overcharging or leaking profusely, I'd bet not. Discharged leadcell batteries convert solution to water reducing the acid presence significantly.

And chemicals don't have to be newly introduced. Their presence makes them suspect regardless of their length of stay. I've had a sealed gallon jug of muriatic acid do exactly as you describe that had never been opened or disturbed for a number of years until one day I got a big surprise. I can tell you that cast iron table saw tops don't particularly appreciate it.
 

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Here's a WOG, cars with catalytic converters sometimes produce SO2 (sulfur dioxide - the rotton egg smell). Sulfur dioxide and water can produce sulfuric acid. After running, the car may still be have some SO2 remaining in the exhaust system just waiting to stink up the garage :laugh: and whatnot.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Something that stuck out for me - the OP said in humid weather his concrete floor gets damp.

I don’t know if concrete can absorb moisture from the ground or not - never had any concrete myself.

But I do know that salt or calcium, when embedded into concrete, will stay there for years. When it gets humid it will absorb the moisture in the air and appear damp.

So that might support the theory above of salt or calcium dripping off cars in the winter which gets a absorbed into the concrete.
 

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My tools in my garage will rust one year and then not rust up again for 4 or 5 years. I attribute it to the super high and prolonged humidity. When you are at 90%+ humidity that cold tool steel is where water condenses. When you have that happening for a few weeks on end, you have to expect that tools are going to rust. Luckily, we don't get this stuff that often up here in New England. It's usually a day or two of high humidity and then it blows on out of here.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow!! This is the best forum ever! You guys no your shtuff!
I found rhe culprit!! It was a chemical!
Apparently saving the “On Off” chemical boat wash after I sold my boat 4 years ago was a bad idea. The container was sealed. But somehow it still evaporated itself out in this heat the last month.
I completely dismalntled my work bench side of the garage where it was sitting in the back of my work bench.
Heres some pics.



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