In the 80’s it was popular to manufacture condensing coils from aluminum. It was inexpensive and had good heat transfer properties. However, homeowners soon discovered that this was false economy. Aluminum coils simply cost more to maintain. Copper is now the material of choice for condenser coils. Reasons include superior strength, reliability, ease-of-maintenance and excellent heat transfer characteristics. Surprisingly, some manufacturers continue to use aluminum for their coils today, in spite of what was learned from the experiences of the 80’s.
- Superior heat transfer using ‘rifling’ on the inside of the tube. Not possible with aluminum.
- Hard to damage and easy to repair.
- Copper Microtube™ tube-aluminum fin coil more quickly transfers heat outside to maximize indoor cooling while resisting corrosion
- New engineering nearly eliminates galvanic action (corrosion)
- Carrier condensing units are very easy to clean. If you can see the dirt, you can easily clean it. This saves time and money.
(see Fig. 1)
- Price of copper has occasionally been higher historically in times of economic hardship.
- Easy to damage. Requires a heavy duty coil cabinet to protect the aluminum coil.
- Prone to leakage because of galvanic action (corrosion) at the copper connectors at the compressor and service valves.
- Hard to clean because of the heavy duty cabinet. Dirt lowers the efficiency and increases costs.
(see Fig. 2)
- Dog urine quickly corrodes aluminum coils.
- Aluminum is nearly impossible to fix. Usually you must replace the entire coil.
- Heavy duty cabinet (required by the manufacturer to protect the aluminum coil).
Here is an example of the Aluminum “Spine Fin” found in each of these units. The fins can very easily break off under a high pressure water hose, reducing heat transfer and efficiency.
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