Part of your air conditioner’s performance depends on its coil design. Along with other factors, such as the compressor and air handler you choose, a more effective coil design can help improve your system’s overall efficiency.
Your A/C’s coils are key to its operation. Your system has two sets of coils, one indoors in the condenser and one outdoors in the evaporator. Refrigerant flows through the coils, extracting heat from your home, then moving outside and releasing the heat into the air. (The refrigerant absorbs and releases heat as it changes state — between liquid and gas — inside your system.)
Coil design has changed dramatically over the past few decades, and new technology has enabled A/C coils to contribute to greater overall system efficiency. In particular, coils are now designed with larger surface areas to accommodate refrigerant — without taking up more space.
There are three basic coil designs:
- An A-shaped coil can accommodate enough refrigerant so that your A/C will work fairly efficiently.
- N-shaped coils get much better results, however, because they allow for more overall coil surface area inside the unit, allowing them to accommodate more refrigerant and absorb or release more heat — without requiring larger equipment.
- Slab coils, while less common than the other two types, generally consist of coils that are in a straight line. They’re less efficient.
In addition, high-efficiency coils, like the N coil, can get better results because they use:
- Enhanced, more efficient tubing materials inside the coil
- Better fin design on the external portion of the coil
- A better valve, usually a thermal expansion valve (TXV), to meter how much refrigerant the coil needs at any given moment
In the past few years, to comply with governmental regulations, manufacturers have had to produce these more efficient coils to meet efficiency standards. And experts agree that these coils can boost system performance and home comfort and lead to better system reliability. To get the most out of your investment in a new cooling system, be sure that coil design will optimize performance.