Ac’s are a common way of fighting off heat that is preferred by many. Ac’s help us keep the environment we are in cool by its subtly composition of mechanical parts. These mechanical parts consist of various elements that result in the effective cooling that the AC does.
One such component of AC’s is the coil. Let’s first start by knowing what a coil is and then jump to our main topic, i.e., which of the two coils are the best.
In the air conditioner, the coils are used to transform gas refrigerant to liquid refrigerant and vice versa, which is used to cool the area even more in which the AC is situated. In the old days, when the air conditioner era had begun, the manufacturers used Copper as a condenser coil because it had many advantages. This, however, made the ACs an expensive affair, and the middle class could not afford it. Since aluminum’s cost was much lower than that of copper, the cost of production of air conditioners has been drastically reduced.
Most manufacturers are starting to switch from copper coils to aluminum alternatives as condensers and evaporator coils for several reasons. Let’s know some of them and compare aluminum and copper coil based on that.
The copper coil is one of the essential elements of the air conditioning system. The coil is used as a path for the coolant to pass through the device’s parts and prevent it from leaking into the environment. Since copper is a metal, electrons can pass easily across the metal. So, they’re known as free electrons. They are also known as conduction electrons since they make copper a strong conductor of heat and electricity.
Aluminum coils are subjected to galvanic corrosion due to two metal contacts in the presence of electrolyte liquid. Corrosion happens as the aluminum coil enters the copper tubing and allows the coolant to leak. Aluminum is much thinner and more malleable than copper. Being a low-cost metal, it can be more cost-effective to install aluminum wiring, as it will generally cost about half the cost of copper wiring. When the current passes through aluminum wiring, it causes the metal to expand.
1) Coil Strength
Copper is much more rigid than aluminum, and, in the event of injury to the copper coil, it is easy and inexpensive to patch, although this is not the case for the aluminum coils. In most cases, the new aluminum coil has to be damaged. However, some of the firms are making thin copper coils at cost savings. This triggers high-pressure coolant leakage, which makes it less durable.
Generally, the coils are fitted in a condenser that is mounted outside the home, face harsh and hot environmental conditions, and be cleaned regularly for better performance and operation. Copper coils are strong enough to be weather-prone. Whereas the aluminum coils are weaker and must be kept in a robust and covered cabinet, it is challenging to maintain and clean the aluminum coils.
Corrosion harms the coils and causes the gas to leak, and makes it a torch. That’s why you need to save the coil from corrosion. A copper coil is subject to formal corrosion in the presence of oxygen, water, and organic acid. However, corrosion on copper coils can be avoided through regular maintenance and cleaning. Even though, in the worst scenario, corrosion damages the copper coil, it is economical to repair and reuse the coil.
Aluminum coils are subject to galvanic corrosion due to two metal contacts in the presence of electrolyte liquid. Corrosion occurs when the aluminum coil joins the copper tube, a tube used to connect the indoor and outdoor unit to the split AC, and causes the coolant to leak. The worst thing about the aluminum coil is that it’s tough to repair once damaged. In most cases, it has to be replaced with a new one.
4) Cooling Capacity
When we talk about cooling, we need to consider the coil’s heat transfer rate. People spend a fortune to feel cooler at home, and the quality of heat transfer is substantial for proper cooling. The refrigerant used in the AC unit requires a continuous heat transfer to ensure the maximum possible cooling.
Copper has a low specific heat value around 1 degree Celsius per unit at 384.4 J, which means that it is better for heat exchange and, therefore, cools faster and more consistently than aluminum with a higher specific heat value. Introduced to this, we know there is less energy loss using a copper coil, which will reduce your quarterly electricity bill.
Product pricing is a critical factor, isn’t it? Copper is more costly than aluminum. Owing to the less ductile design of copper pipes, the quantity of pipe material needed is also high, rendering copper pipe air conditioners a more costly option. Aluminum is inexpensive and much more bendable, so less material is required. Winner – Aluminum coils.
Copper-piped air conditioners have the advantage in most situations because many consumers like them. Yeah, they could be priced higher, but these versions will comfortably support you longer and help you save on energy bills when we consider their reliability and performance. In a way, they are recovering some of the added expenses.
Despite all the differences that have been compared in the above categories, choices and priority still play a functional role in choosing the best type of coil for your AC. If we talk about facts in the light of all the above, the best coil’s choice is obvious and straightforward. Copper dominates aluminum in every feature.
Each metal has its advantages, which make it an appropriate choice for evaporators and condensers. The downsides are often evenly distributed, so the customer always has a preference. Looking at both the pros and cons of copper and aluminum, both coils are used in accordance with space availability, the cost-benefit of installation and maintenance. Some equipment will operate well with aluminum and a few that will work best with copper.