Every year with the summers comes the responsibility of installing air conditioners in your homes and offices. But with this responsibility a major confusion that arises is that whether you should be using copper or aluminium AC systems. This debate on copper vs aluminium AC is quite old and widespread too. To start with copper was the major element used in the ACs till 1970s, but then aluminium came into the market and this debate took new importance altogether.
In this article, we’ll compare the two types of air conditioning systems and also conclude which one is better than others.
To have a clear understanding of this fact we need to understand which coil is better, copper or aluminium. Let’s get started.
- The condensing coil
Every AC unit has three crucial components – evaporation coil, compressor, and condensing coil. This is where the condensing coil comes in picture. When you are looking to decide between copper vs aluminium AC, the first thing you’ll come across is the coil used in the AC based on which it is classified as such.
- Price of the entire system
Money matters. Everytime you go to buy a product in the market, the first thing that you consider is the money. Money is the major criterion which governs your choice of the air conditioning system. If we consider pricing, then aluminium is always a better choice than copper. Almost every house and office needs an AC and therefore it also makes sense to buy something which is cheaper comparatively.
- Quantity of material used in manufacturing
Aluminium is more ductile than copper and therefore can be easily bent and formed into the desired shapes. This is one of the reason for its popularity. It is a proven fact that three times more copper material would be required for the same amount of work done by the coil than aluminium. So, considering the amount of material consumed in making of the AC’s coil, aluminium is preferred over copper AC.
- Thermal conductivity of the material used
If we consider the thermal conductivity of the coil material used in the AC, copper has much higher conductivity than aluminium which is almost twice of it. Air conditioners work on the principle of removal of heat from a given space and the material which does it faster will perform well. Considering the thermal conductivity, copper is far better than aluminium.
- Specific heat or rate of cooling
The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature by 1 degree celsius is known as the specific heat of a material. Copper has a specific heat capacity less than half of that of aluminium and therefore it heats and cools quite quickly. Therefore, this speed of cooling also plays a crucial role In deciding which is better when we compare copper vs aluminium AC.
- Oxidation and durability
Oxidation is the major phenomenon that causes wear and tear of the material used in AC. We all know that aluminium oxidises much faster than copper, but once oxidised, it does not damages further as the further oxidation stops. Aluminium forms an oxide layer which is impermeable, but copper form a porous oxide layer which can further be degraded. Aluminium thus forms a better and more durable material than copper.
Apart from the above mentioned ones, fragility, tensile strength, corrosion, etc. form other features that need to be taken into consideration when you are deciding between copper vs aluminium AC. Thus, we’ll suggest that you go for the one with lower initial capital costs involved.