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Understanding Filter Driers: Desiccant

A large proportion of air conditioning systems being manufactured today include the component known as a filter drier. This useful part is responsible for capturing water and other contaminants that would otherwise contribute to wear, corrosion, and other serious problems. Of course, not all filter driers are made in the exact same way. This article will discuss differences in one key aspect of a filter drier’s composition: the type of desiccant material used.

The Basics 

Desiccants are one of the most important aspects of a filter drier. Just as with the desiccant packets used to eliminate unwanted moisture in packaged food, the desiccant in a filter drier is there to suck up any moisture that manages to get into the refrigerant lines. This is important because that water would otherwise mix with the lubricants used inside of the system, forming highly corrosive acids as a result. Such acids greatly accelerate the processes of wear and corrosion.

Desiccant Materials 

There are two main types of desiccant used in filter driers: molecular sieve and activated alumina. The particulars of how these materials do their job is somewhat complex; all you really need to understand is that each type has its particular strengths. Activated alumina is prized for its ability to absorb much large quantities of water. This acts to extend the lifespan of the filter drier.

Molecular sieve on the other hand, is prized for its ability to capture not just water, but also any organic acids that have formed as the result of that water mixing with lubricants. In other words, molecular sieve is capable of protecting your system to a much higher degree. Which type of filter drier you choose has a lot to do with the needs of your particular air conditioning system.

Contact Cunningham Associates today. We’ll be able to answer your air conditioning service questions or concerns.