The EPA has recently registered copper for use in protecting heating and air conditioning equipment surfaces from bacteria, mold, and mildew. Odors and fouling can cause these HVAC systems to function poorly, and copper may provide a solution to common problems.
The Department of Defense has begun testing AC units made with copper at Fort Jackson, SC, and comparing them to the traditional aluminum. The results of this study are expected to show that copper units suppress the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew.
Bacteria and mold have been longstanding offenders in the dark, damp, hard-to-clean areas of HVAC units, but research has shown that copper surfaces stymied the growth of microbes, leading to increased energy efficiency. Standard AC units use aluminum components that are vulnerable to these contagions.
Copper surfacing may offer new options for efficiency in HVAC systems.