Confused by the contrary claims made by different brands and wondering which type of condenser is actually best for your air conditioner, then you are reading the right article. In this article, we will explain the importance of a condenser in an AC unit, different types of condensers, different metals used in manufacturing these condensers and the best among these options. Lets start.
What is a Condenser?
Condenser is a very important part of an air conditioning unit. Its function is to release the heat absorbed by the refrigerant from inside the room to the atmosphere outside the room. This is done with the help of a compressor, condenser coil, fins, and a fan. All of these are present in the outer unit of the split air conditioner.
Condenser determines the efficiency and durability of your air conditioner and therefore its very important that you choose the right one.
Because the condenser unit is placed outside the room and is exposed to air, rain, pollution, sand, and dust, its important that the material used to manufacture condenser coil is resistant to corrosion. Every company claims that the condenser they use in their AC is the best, but this can not be believed.
Type of Condensers
Aluminum Condensers – RTPF (Round Tube Plate Fin)
The basic idea behind designing these condensers was to save money and prevent galvanic corrosion due to the use of two metals in original copper-tube-aluminum-fin type condensers. However, this type of condensers failed miserably as the performance of these condensers was poor due to lower heat transfer rate of Aluminum, and the problem of air conditioner corrosion worsened.
Corrosion occurred at the point where aluminum coil joins with copper tube used to connect the indoor and outdoor unit. This resulted in frequent gas leaks and it was not easy to repair this type of condenser. In most cases it needed to be replaced.
Pros and Cons of Aluminum RTPF Condenser
|Low cost||Less efficient|
|Difficult to clean|
|Not easy to repair on field.|
|High maintenance cost|
Aluminum Alloy Condensers – MCHE (Microchannel Heat Exchange)
To fix the problem of low efficiency and high corrosion rate in RTPF Aluminum condensers, a new type of non-copper condenser was designed. It was called PFC or MCHE or microchannel heat exchange type condenser. This new design resulted in 30 percent less refrigerant charge and 10% increased efficiency compared to other heat exchangers.
Pros and Cons of Aluminum MCHE Condenser
|Increased efficiency||Difficult to clean|
|Compact design, less weight||Not easy to repair on field.|
|Corrosion resistance if metal used is alloy and coated with epoxy||Corrodes easily compared to copper condenser|
High maintenance cost
Copper Condensers – RTPF (Round Tube Plate Fin)
This type of condensed are the original condensers that were used in air conditioners originally. Companies tried to innovate to save cost and increase efficiency but failed.
The thermal conductivity of a copper tube is high and is approximately 8 times more than that of aluminum tubes. Also, repairing copper tube is easy and can be done on the field.
Latest air conditioners coat copper condenser coils and aluminum fins with hydrophillic epoxy coating to prevent galvanic corrosion. Copper as metal itself is also corrosion resistant as the surface oxidation adheres tightly to the surface, preventing exposure to further environmental corrosion.
Further, the modern copper condensers come with copper tubes with rifling or grooving inside the surface of the tube. This increases the surface area of copper tubes, resulting in more efficient heat transfer. It significantly increases the overall performance.
With all these innovations, and epoxy coating on condenser, the copper condensers are clearly the top choice for the type of condenser you should choose in your AC. Don’t fall for any marketing trick. Copper condensers, with grooved copper tubes/coil, epoxy (bluefin/goldfin/ocean black) coating, and inverter dual compressor make the best combination for your AC. Not only will it be durable and efficient, but also easy to clean and will cost less for maintenance.