What is Micro-Channel?
Close-up view of a Micro-Channel evaporator coil all-aluminum construction.
The number one cause of coil leaks is a type of corrosion known as formicary corrosion or "ant's nest," "ant dust," or "pin-hole" corrosion. All of these mean the same thing, a form of corrosion that is hard to detect, highly prevalent and causes refrigerant to leak out of traditional copper tube-in-fin coils.
Traditional copper tube-in-fin coils are prone to formicary corrosion because of several factors. The copper alloy that these coils are made out of is susceptible to a deadly triad of common household items (namely: oxygen, moisture in the air and organic acids found in numerous items).Ultimately they mean that refrigerant will leak out of the coils and result in a costly repair or replacement. What makes this so tricky? Often times homeowners and HVAC contractors won't notice the problem until it is too late. However, there is an effective way to help combat this type of corrosion, Micro-Channel coils.
An aluminum Micro-Channel evaporator coil manufactured by Nortek Global HVAC.
Anteater MC™ Micro-Channel coils are an all-aluminum, formicary corrosion-resistant evaporator coil found in Nortek Global HVAC's models up to 14-SEER. Because of the lack of copper, the reaction of moisture in the air, oxygen and organic acids that would normally occur in their copper tube-in-fin counterparts, doesn't happen. Although there have been tests with things such as coating the copper coils, the solution is found in eliminating one of the components. If there is no copper, it can't react with the other components to result in formicary corrosion.
These coils are tested up to 14-SEER and are undergoing testing for the 16-SEER models and above. Ultimately, if a homeowner is living in an area where instances of corrosion are prevalent, all-aluminum Micro-Channel coils are the way to go to avoid a costly repair or replacement.
Did You Know?
90% of formicary corrosion leaks are caused by organic acids working from the outside of the coil and moving in, not the opposite.