With approaching summers, ACs are going to be all the rage again. Right about now would be a good time to check your existing Air Conditioner and check the markets in case you want to buy a new one.
In this article we are going to discuss about which metal would be good for your AC – Copper coil or Aluminium coil and see who wins the battle.
However, going outside to check and enquire is not really preferable now. So, we bring you the opportunity to research everything at the comfort of your home.
We also have articles on other aspects of Air Conditioner buying. Check them out.
Why are Coils Important in ACs?
Before moving forward with our discussion, let’s just see, briefly, how an AC works.
So, an AC has primarily four major parts, namely- Condenser, Compressor, Expansion Valve, and Evaporator. The parts are connected with pipes and contain the Refrigerant gas.
Compressor starts when the AC is switched ON. It works like a pump and sends the refrigerant to the Condenser by increasing its pressure and temperature. Condenser, as the name suggests, condenses the refrigerant, i.e., changes it from gaseous to liquid state.
After the condensation, the now liquid refrigerant moves to Expansion Valve where it’s expanded, reducing the temperature and pressure. Finally, it comes to the Evaporator, where it’s used to cool the internal air with the help of the refrigerant and the Evaporator fan.
Coils are present in two of these 4 major parts- Condenser and the Evaporator. Coils are an important part of these parts. Obviously you need these coils to be efficient enough for the smooth functioning of the Air Conditioner. You have two options for this- Copper and Aluminium.
Let’s look at the different aspects of these coils which will help you in making your decision.
Points of Comparison Between Copper and Aluminium
Following are the points of comparison and difference between the two options.
Durability is an important factor to look for while deciding on any appliance parts of any electrical appliance.
Copper is more durable and is stronger than Aluminium. Copper also is less vulnerable to damage. Aluminium, because of this factor, needs to be kept in strong cabinets.
Malleability or Pliability
Before moving on, let’s first understand what Malleability or Pliability is. This is a distinguishing property of metals.
This property states the ability of a metal to be bent or extended in all directions or be made into thin sheets, without rupture or damage of any kind.
In other words, Malleability refers to the property of being Malleable which means that the said metal can be hammered into thin sheets without breaking. It is also called Pliability. We can also call this Flexibility as well.
So, back to the concern at hand.
Aluminium is more Malleable than Copper. Because of this, the amount of Copper needed for the coils of one AC, is three times more than the Aluminium required for the same purpose.
The cost of Copper coils is more than that of Aluminium coils. Because of this, ACs with copper coils will have higher manufacturing cost than ACs with Aluminium coils.
This leads to Air Conditioners with Copper Coils being pricier than their Aluminium counterparts. Also, we just saw that making copper coils requires three times more materials than making Aluminium coils.
So, this will also be heavier on the pocket.
Transfer of Heat is an important aspect in the working of an Air Conditioner. It draws warm air from inside and absorbs the heat, sending back cold air to cool the room.
Essentially, this task is carried on in Air Conditioner coils. So, the Heat Transfer Coefficient of the material used in making the coil is very important and should be high.
The Heat Transfer Coefficient of Copper is higher than that of Aluminium. In the matter of Heat Transfer, Copper is a wise choice.
Corrosion refers to a process of a material being corroded. Wikipedia describes Corrosion as a “Natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically-stable form”.
In other words we can describe Corrosion as a slow destruction process of metals cause of reaction with the environment. Rusting is used synonymous with Corrosion.
When dealing with an appliance such as AC, we don’t want a material which will easily be corroded.
This comparison is a little funny cause both, Copper and Aluminium, can corrode. Aluminium corrodes easily than Copper does but, they both corrode nonetheless.
Another factor comes into play here, given the fact that both of these metals have the ability to corrode, i.e., repairing. Copper can be repaired easily than Aluminium.
Can you check the Corrosion?
Many advents are being made to reduce or negate this factor of corrosion, to protect the coils from humidity and moisture or other corroding agents. One way is to paint them with Anti-Corrosive material.
This is universal to protect all the corrosive materials, not just AC coils.
Certain brands used Blue Fin Condenser to protect Condenser Coils from Corrosion. This was first used by Voltas.
This technology protects the Air Conditioner by keeping dust off the coils. If also stops the accumulation of water droplets, salts and acid on the coils.
This technology is helpful for people living in Coastal areas. Another way of reducing Corrosion is Micro-Channel Condenser.
Introduced by Samsung, Micro-Channel makes use of flat aluminium plates to create multiple tubes through which the refrigerant flows.
This technology is especially helpful for coastal areas. It was introduced specifically for coastal areas.
Repairing and Maintenance go hand in hand with durability. As we’ve seen, Copper coils are more durable than their Aluminium counterparts, which is why Aluminium coils need to be kept in strong cabinets.
Also, Copper coils are easily repairable whereas, Aluminium coils are not. Aluminium coils need to be replaced as repairing them is not easy.
As Copper is durable, it doesn’t need as much maintenance as Aluminium does. Aluminium coils are more difficult to clean than Copper ones as the former is kept in heavy cabinets.
Also, Aluminium Micro-Channels are difficult to clean when they’re clogged with dust and grime.
Both the coil types have their pros and cons. We tried to analyse both the types on certain important pointers. Hope this will help you in making your decision.