Before buying an air conditioner, most people check for tonnage, efficiency, air quality, speed, maintenance, and so on. Still, we tend to overlook the need to buy a good quality condenser.
Sometimes, we even avoid purchasing a condenser because of the false marketing strategies, which confuses us regarding which condenser is good.
Have you ever faced such a situation? If yes, we have a solution for this.
Today, we will discuss what a condenser is, types of condensers, features of the different types of condensers, its pros and cons, etc.
In this article, we will look at these in detail to provide a better understanding of condensers and which one is the best.
What Is A Condenser?
When an air conditioner functions and produces a cooler atmosphere, the appliance gets heated. So, the role of a condenser is to absorb heat and release it into the atmosphere outside the room.
Placing the condenser outside the room, exposed to all sorts of climatic conditions, makes it essential to choose a condenser made from good quality material. When we talk about the material used in a condenser, we refer to the material of the coil used inside the condenser.
How Does A Condenser Work?
To explain the working in simple terms, there are two types of coils- evaporator and condenser coils. These coils connected via an expansion valve helps to reduce the pressure of the hot gas vapor known as refringent.
Evaporator coils are a part of the indoor unit. So, when the AC starts functioning, these coils become colder than the room temperature. With the help of the heat present in a room, the refringent converts from liquid form to gaseous. So, when heat is absorbed, the chamber becomes cooler.
Then, the heat passes through the condenser coils, which are a part of the outdoor AC unit. Through the compression process, heat is released back into the outdoor atmosphere. Most outdoor units have fans attached to them. It ensures that the heat escapes quicker and the appliance does not get damaged.
Types Of Condensers
As mentioned before, types of condensers mean the type of material used to make the coils present in the condenser. Since metals like aluminum and copper are known for their conducting properties, they are the most commonly used coils in a conductor. Apart from these two, alloy coils are also used.
Alloy coils are made up of two metals- the most common types are copper alloy and aluminum alloy. Some of the reasons alloy coils are used are because copper is expensive, and it also has a high chance of oxidation or corrosion.
Also, the aluminum condenser has low efficiency, so the mechanical strength can be improved using alloy condensers.
Difference Between Aluminium Condenser And Copper Condenser Based On A Few Feature
Below are some crucial differences between an Aluminium condenser and a Copper condenser.
Transfer Of Heat And Cooling Performance
As discussed above, the primary function of the coil is to transfer heat to facilitate the cooling process. The heat transfer rate should be constant and continuous for maximum cooling.
Compared with an aluminum condenser, a copper condenser has low specific heat, i.e., it heats up and cools down quicker than aluminum condensers. It also has a higher heat transfer coefficient which means that heat is transferred faster and more efficiently.
Coefficient Of Expansion
COE or Coefficient of Expansion states how much a metal expands when heat is applied. The higher the value of the CEO, the lower the cooling output.
The coefficient of expansion per degree Celsius * 10^-6 for the copper condenser is 16.6, while it is 23 for aluminum condensers. So, a copper condenser has more cooling output.
Malleability or plasticity directly affects tensile strength. The tensile strength of a copper condenser is roughly 40-50% more than an aluminum condenser.
This means that copper condensers have a 40-50% more chance to withstand any form of rupture caused while shaping it.
This also means that it’s more difficult to shape a copper condenser. Hence, a copper condenser is costlier than an aluminum condenser.
Pliability Or Flexibility
We have seen how copper has more tensile strength. This means that it is more difficult to shape and bend than aluminum. So, when we consider the pliability/ flexibility (how easily it bents), aluminum coils overtake copper coils.
Another reason copper is more expensive than aluminum is that it takes about three to four times more copper wire to produce the same amount of aluminum coil.
There is no doubt about this- copper condensers are more expensive than aluminum condensers. However, due to the low specific heat in copper coils, there is less energy loss.
So, on average, the running/ maintenance cost will be less in the case of copper condensers. But most companies manufacture low-cost ACs using aluminum condensers since the price of copper is high.
If you value the quality more, I suggest buying a copper condenser to reduce the running cost. There is a high chance that the running cost of an aluminum condenser will be more than the initial cost of a copper condenser.
So, why settle for less!?
Strength And Durability
It is a known fact that copper is stronger than aluminum, so it will definitely be more durable. Generally, the aluminum coil does not last long, so it needs to be constantly changed, and the repair cost, in the long run, will be high.
However, copper can withstand heat, moisture, dust, and other climatic changes to an extent. And with proper care and maintenance, you will not need to repair it often, and even if you do, it can always be improved and reused.
Corrosive/ Anti-Corrosive Properties
Corrosion happens over a while when the metal comes in contact with water, moisture, and dust, affecting the quality of both aluminum and copper coils.
If the coil is damaged, the heat transfer process is disturbed, leading to refrigerant leaks and the overall functioning of the AC.
Aluminum coils are more prone to galvanic corrosion, while copper is more prone to formicary corrosion. The former is harder to avoid, while the latter can be avoided if properly maintained and cleaned.
We have mentioned how it is hard to avoid galvanic corrosion in aluminum condensers. The only solution for deterioration is to replace it. We can try to prevent or slow down this deterioration process by playing with the condenser in a heavy-duty cabinet but eventually, it will rust.
On the other hand, copper condensers are less prone than aluminum condensers if adequately managed. Also, as mentioned above, we can repair and reuse the copper condenser if damaged.
If you are highly concerned about the environment, you might be against copper condensers. It is because the extraction process emits a lot of acidic gases, which can destroy crops, pollute the land, air, and water, and destroy buildings.
From this article, we can conclude that a copper condenser is always better than an aluminum condenser in the longer run. A copper condenser has low specific heat, a higher heat transfer coefficient, and more cooling output. The copper condenser had more tensile strength and was more durable if maintained properly.
Compared to the overall maintenance cost of an aluminum condenser, the copper price is low, even though the initial cost is high. Proper maintenance and regular cleaning are necessary for any condenser, whether made of copper, aluminum, or alloy.