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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    20

    Outdoor unit with all-aluminum or all-copper coil

    First, I have a place on the Beach. There are two heat-pumps, both are Coleman's. The Coleman with an all aluminum coil and fins is enduring the weather OK. The aluminum fins are getting thinner as they oxidize away. The other heat pump has a copper coil with aluminum fins. At just 4 years old, the fins are basically gone (very heavy corrosion) and they are loose on the copper tubing. The 4-year old unit (copper/aluminum) is also losing freon but no visible signs. (R-22).

    I've called several local HVAC businesses and have demanded an all-aluminum coil/finned condenser or an E-coated coil. No one will provide a bid because they only sell copper coil/aluminum fins units. Also being told all-copper is not made for residential installs. It is "understood here" that your heat pump needs to be replaced every 4-5 years and that's what people are doing. I'm trying to get more life out of the unit.

    Does anyone have a list of manufacturers that use all-aluminum coil/fins? I know Trane does (spine-fins). I'm frustrated as no one will bid and year-end it almost here. Was hoping to get a 15 seer+ 2.5 ton unit that would qualify for the rebate or just get another R-22 condenser unit and retain the current 19 year old American Standard Air Handler. Also very open to recommendations. Running the 15KW heat strips is VERY costly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Palm Beach,Fl.
    Posts
    960
    The only current residential manufacturer i know of that use aluminum coils is Trane. Never heard of a Coleman having one, but they aren't very popular in Florida. If your air handler is 19 yrs. old i'd recommend the whole system be replaced. Copper coils are used almost exclusively for marine applications and there are no residential systems i know of that would use them. Too cost prohibitive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    1,012
    You might have one custom made just for a certain unit bitg bucks though, or once you get the new copper aluminum condenser you can try one of those zinc fittings that you attach to the copper lineset those are supposed to work well. IF ANYONE HAS FEEDBACK ON THAT IT WOULD PROBABLY HELP. I know when I was in the navy all the heat exchangers had to have a zinc plate in them to prevent corrosion of the brass. They worked very well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    S.E. Missouri
    Posts
    258
    York has some cooling only condensers that have an all aluminum coil.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,549
    If your calling a/c contractors in the phone book and "demanding" something from them. They're probably blowing you off. I know that if somebody called us doing that. We would politely decline their business. Cause if you take the job. It's most likely gonna get worse from there on in. You get more flies with honey than vinegar. They will be more inclined to help you if you're somewhat pleasant. It's a pain in the ass to research some of this stuff and it takes time that may or may not pay off.
    I like DIY'ers. They pay better to fix.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    20

    You may be right.

    My post, I used some poor verbage but you may be right BMathews. I actually "requested" the following: all-aluminum coil or e-coated coil in the 2.5 ton condenser unit. I suspect they only want to install what they carry so aren't looking into special order condensers. I did find that Carrier and Payne make a coastal unit with a coated coil but the local Dealer wants to install American Standard only. Looks at this point I'm out-of-luck on getting a heat pump installed before the New Year.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    20

    You may be right.

    My post, I used some poor verbage but you may be right BMathews. I actually "requested" the following: all-aluminum coil or e-coated coil in the 2.5 ton condenser unit. I suspect they only want to install what they carry so aren't looking into special order condensers. I did find that Carrier and Payne make a coastal unit with a coated coil but the local Dealer wants to install American Standard only. Looks at this point I'm out-of-luck on getting a heat pump installed before the New Year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,549
    Unless it's in stock right now. You're screwed until next year. Especially on any special order items. Look for a Carrier dealer around where you live. Carrier is everywhere I think. We're almost shutdown until next year except for emergencies. We all need time off and this is when we take it. You gotta take what you can give with Xmas only 3 days away. Find a Carrier dealer and expect to pay a few more $$$ for him to order it. Don't expect it for a few weeks, unless you want to pay some really high overnight shipping fees.
    I like DIY'ers. They pay better to fix.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Palm Beach,Fl.
    Posts
    960
    The American Standard is just a rebadged Trane so if you''re looking for an aluminum coil,thats the ticket. Unless your preference is the coated coil. I prefer the aluminum to the coated

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    20

    I honestlt don't know what's best for salt air/spray.

    Aluminum or coated? I don't have any experience to know what is best? I just see that my copper/aluminum fin unit has faired poorly, far worse than the all-aluminum sitting beside it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Palm Beach,Fl.
    Posts
    960
    I'll confess I don't know alot about the chemistry/technology involved with the different coating processes, but it seems to me that adding a coating has to have some impact on the overall capacity/performance. The fact is coated or not,dis-similar metals will always repel each other and cause a breakdown in heat transfer eventually.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
    Posts
    1,650
    if you live in a coatal environment aluminum, and a life expectancy of 5-10yrs depending on maint, and exact local. I live on the beach, I have seen Trane alum, Carrier coast coils gone in 5 yrs, I have some experiance with bronze glow coating, and it blows, actually lasted less time.. standard coils aluminum fins on copper tubing separate from each other in 3 yrs.

    Now Maytag has something and I am not sure of what it is, but supposed to be bad @ss. I know nothing about it though

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,087
    Most York (Coleman too) A/Cs are all aluminum microchannel coils. Nordyne is using them too. Not gonna find them in heat pumps though.

    That old Spine Fin holds up at the coast and is also found in heat pumps.

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