Talking of cooling appliances, the first thing that strikes our mind is the cooling and freshening environment created by an air conditioner. Once a luxury home appliance, AC is perhaps today a necessity especially for people who live in hot and tropical areas with soaring temperatures during summers and otherwise a warm climate throughout the year.
While buying an air conditioner is easy considering the vast options available in the market, having knowledge about their working and technology is equally imperative. With new technology redefining the working of air conditioners, it is important to understand how condenser coils, the major component of this appliance aids its functioning and what new technologies are making it efficient like never before.
How does a Condenser Coil in an Air Conditioner work?
An air conditioner is an appliance that is used to remove heat from a closed room area, by cooling the air and removing the humidity. The condenser that forms the core of this appliance is a device that is used to condense a substance from the gaseous to the liquid state by simply cooling it. The cooling process in an air conditioner takes place in four definite stages.
Stage 1: Compression:
The refrigerant gas is pressurized and is transformed into a high-pressured hot liquid.
Stage 2: Condensation:
This high-pressure hot liquid refrigerant then passes through the condenser coils where it is converted into a cooler liquid by releasing heat into the outside air.
Stage 3: Expansion Valve:
A valve then converts high-pressure liquid to low-pressure liquid.
Stage 4: Evaporation:
The low-pressure liquid again passes through an evaporation coil, where it absorbs heat from the room and changes the liquid into gas. This cool air is directed into the room. This process takes place indoor while all the other processes happen in the outdoor unit. The gaseous refrigerant is then passed through the compression process and condensation coils where the refrigerant condenses by releasing the heat into the outside air surrounding it. This is the warm air that comes out through the exhaust fan in the outdoor unit.
Thus, the heat from the inside air is transferred to the outside air and this major transfer process takes place in the condenser coils. The type of coils used in an air conditioning system hugely determines the efficiency of the appliance. Earlier only copper coils were used to make these coils, but that made air conditioners extremely expensive a copper is a costly metal. Later, to make these appliances more affordable, aluminium coils were used that are relatively cheaper.
Corrosion-A Major Factor Influencing Condenser Coils
Since an air conditioner is subject to external environmental factors, corrosion plays an important role in determining its life. Corrosion damages the condenser coils and affects the heat transfer process facilitated by the coils. Corrosion and constant wear and tear can lead to leakage of gas from these coils thereby affecting the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner.
Chances of corrosion are higher, where these air conditioners are used in areas with high humidity or in coastal areas with moisture-laden air. With corrosion, a non-conducting layer forms over the coils that reduce the heat exchange capacity.
To add to this, the fins or coils are thin and delicate that bends easily. If the coils bend the space between them reduces making it all the more difficult for air to flow freely. As a result, the compressor has to work harder to maintain regular airflow. This increases the strain on the appliance, reducing its lifespan and increasing the energy consumption as well as the cost of its maintenance and repair.
Modern technologies protect the condenser coils by coating them with an anti-corrosive material. Two of the most famous techniques used to protect condenser coils from corrosion are- the Gold Fin Technology and the Ocean Black Protection technique. Besides this, the Blue Fin technology is also popular.
Gold Fin Technology
Copper and aluminium are two principal metals that are used to make condenser coils in air conditioners. Both metals are good conductors of heat. However, copper is an expensive metal, because of which air conditioners using only copper coils are relatively expensive. To make air conditioners reasonable, most air conditioner manufacturers use aluminium coils welded to the copper tubes. As a consequence of this, the use of a combination of two different metals causes galvanic corrosion. However, with the use of a single metal, this problem does not arise.
Moreover, the condenser tubes of an air conditioner are in close contact with water. If you live in a coastal or humid area, then the air is laden with high moisture. This moisture, dripping water, salt, and acid can accumulate and settle on the surface of the coils, affecting the efficiency and performance of the AC.
To overcome this problem of corrosion, most manufacturers coat the condenser coils and evaporator with a material that is weather-resistant and protects the tubes from rusting and corrosion.
The fins are coated with an exclusive anti-corrosion gold nano-coating synthesized or obtained from titanium dioxide. This technology is called Gold Fin technology.
The micro-sized molecules of the substance closely stick or adhere to the surface of the coils forming a physical barrier between the fins and the corrosion causing environmental factors.
Thus this technology prevents the deposition of salts and corrosive acids and keeps the condenser coils free from rust, dust, and debris.
Ocean Black Protection Technology
As we mentioned above, constant exposure to moisture, humidity, salts, and acids can hamper the efficient functioning of the condenser coils and in the long run affect the life of an air conditioner.
To combat this risk, some manufacturers have introduced the Ocean Black Protection technology to protect the fins and coils from corrosion and rust.
This technology constitutes a weatherproof coating on the air conditioner’s external units to protect them from harsh environmental factors. The coating is complimented by a hydrophilic film that prevents the accumulation of water on the fins and coils thus reducing the possibility of salt and moisture deposits.
The Ocean Black Protection technology protects not only the fins and condenser coils but also other external parts of an AC like base pan, fan motor brackets, service valve supporter, and the outer metal panel. By reducing the effects and occurrence of corrosion the Ocean Black technology increases the lifespan of your cooling appliances.
Gold Fin Technology or Ocean Black Protection-The Better of the Two
While both are modern technologies that are revolutionizing the working of air conditioners, there is no doubt that Gold Fin technology has an edge over Ocean Black Protection when it comes to adding efficiency and longevity to the appliance. Some factors that make it outstanding and highly functional are:
- Gold Fin technology accelerates the defrosting process, thereby increasing the heat efficiency of the air conditioners.
- Protecting the condenser coils from rust, the Gold Fin technology provides added protection and durability to the coils.
- The Gold Fin technology is equally beneficial in coastal areas as well as other regions because of its versatile concept.
- The technology is designed to protect the fins and coils of the appliance from rust, dust, corrosive salts, and acids.
- As a 100% eco-friendly technology, it is neither harmful nor toxic to the environment.
With a better understanding of air conditioner technology and methods used by different manufacturers to combat operational hazards like corrosion and rust, you are now better placed to choose an air conditioner that is equipped with the best technology and design that too in a moderate budget. It makes you more confident to understand the claims made by different companies in their promotional campaigns and what it means in terms of operational efficiency.
So, the next time you go to buy an air conditioner, do check out the corrosion protection technology used by the manufacturers and how it can aid in giving your appliance a longer life.