Copper vs Aluminium Coil in Air Conditioner

Summary
Most of the air conditioners nowadays come with copper coiling and it is rare to see aluminium coiling in it. Aluminium coil is difficult to repair once gas leakage occurs. A copper coil is easy to repair, provides better cooling efficiency but is costly along with low flexibility than aluminium.

Since the beginning of the air conditioner era, ACs were made with copper coiling but a few decades ago purchasing an AC was a “luxury” for middle-class people.

Then in 1970, aluminium coil was introduced in ACs, this brought down the price of this appliance and made it somewhat affordable.

After which many companies started to make AC with aluminium coiling.

Currently, if you examine the market you will not find many ACs with an aluminium condenser.

With the advancement in manufacturing, the price for air conditioners has become affordable by the masses and so it has reverted back to copper coil condenser. 

If you want to know the difference between copper and aluminium coil in air conditioners.

Then let me tell you copper is better in every aspect while aluminium coil is unreliable.

To get more insight on this topic, I asked Mr. Nainesh who is an engineer at “Daikin”.

nainesh sorathiya answer

He clearly states that aluminum is not reliable.

Further, he says.

nainesh sorathiya answer

According to him, aluminium is infamous for leakage and cannot be repaired. But note aluminium is used for fins in most ACs.

In the next section, you get a detailed explanation for each point.

1. Cooling Efficiency

The main function of the coil inside the AC is to hold the refrigerant gas and allow heat exchange.

Cooling efficiency depends on the heat exchanging capacity of the AC.

If an AC is better at heat exchange it will have better cooling efficiency and will cool the room more effectively consuming less power

Copper material has approximately twice the conductivity then aluminium material when it comes to heat transfer.

Hence, a copper coil is better for cooling.

2. Ease of Repair

When it comes to fixing a gas leakage in the system, repairing aluminum coil is difficult than repairing a copper coil.

It is not that aluminium coil cannot be repaired, it is just difficult to do so and most technicians refrain from fixing it.

When it comes to durability copper is a more durable material than aluminium.

However, today manufacturers make the copper tube very thin making it not so durable.

But still, copper coil is easier to repair than aluminium.

3. Price

The cost of copper material is higher than that of aluminum making the overall cost of an air conditioner with copper coiling expensive. 

This does not stop here.

Copper coil is less flexible or difficult to bend than aluminium. 

For making the same coil more copper is needed. It is estimated that we require 3 times more copper than aluminum to make the same coil, eventually increasing the cost higher.

To reduce the price of AC with the copper condenser, manufacturers make the coil very thin.

4. Corrosion

The outdoor unit which contains the condenser coil is exposed to dust, humidity, and chemical fumes which makes it more likely to corrode.

In polluted cities, regions near the coastline, and areas with drainage systems your AC is more prone to corrosion.

It does not matter if the AC has copper or aluminum coiling. Both are susceptible to corrosion with time.

Corrosion can lead to gas leakage.

To protect the condenser unit, companies used anti-corrosion technologies for protecting the appliance from corrosion and thus increasing its life. 

Make sure to look for these at the time of purchase.

What does 100% copper coiling mean in AC?

It indicates that both the indoor and outdoor unit of an air conditioner contains coiling made of only copper material.

Reference: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/87135-aluminum-vs-copper-the-great-condensing-coil-debate

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