Uncertain About Recent Changes with Replacement HVAC Coils?

Over the last 2-3 years, developments around replacement HVAC coils and their manufacturers have created more questions than they have answered.  As you know, all industries can experience periods of upheaval, volatility, and wholesale changes in leadership at one time or another.  As you may have recently experienced, the coil industry is not immune to volatility or changes in ownership either. And, when these changes occur, they tend to destabilize the market-place more often than not.  When a company is  purchased, a number of things can and usually do occur:

  • Employees of the old company are moved around and/or often let go entirely. What does that mean for your business? Your usual sales/service contacts are no longer there, continuity is disrupted, and the overall ease of doing business is much harder to attain.
  • The loyalty that you had with the old company, is in many cases, no longer present.  Loyalty and trust in business are gained and won over time.  You do business with who you like and trust, and you simply can’t operate with the same level of comfort when you’re dealing with an unknown entity.
  • Normal business operations, such as Quick-Ship programs, are disrupted and/or shutdown in response to changes in leadership. Existing factories are too small to handle even marginal increases in business, which can also lead to delays. CCA recognizes that success in the replacement market is contingent on speed and predictability, and we will not sacrifice either, under any circumstances.
  • Larger companies buy smaller companies for agendas that in many cases, do not coincide with yours’.  Sometimes it is to service their own OEM requirements, while in other instances, one company purchases another for their customer base.  Whatever the reason, it is solely in their best interest, and not to facilitate what is good for YOUR business.
  • New technologies and innovation can also be motivating factors. Company X needs the technology of Company Y, and they don’t think twice about acquiring Company Y, while moving plants and equipment to alternative locations.

The big thing to take away from any major changes to ownership is that it is their money, their company, and they can do what they want (and will). When reviewing new owners, please take into consideration their background. Do they have actual industry experience, or are they just looking to make a “value investment” for their shareholders?  Wouldn’t you rather deal with a company that is privately owned with more than a decade of industry knowledge and experience?  If your coil supplier sells to anybody and everybody, you have zero protection on any job and are essentially spinning your wheels. This “wild west” business model will affect you, regardless if you’re an OEM, a contractor, a wholesaler, or a manufacturing rep.  You develop long term relationships with suppliers in the hope that you will get preferential pricing and special help when needed, in addition to their loyalty and assistance if something goes wrong on the job. Although it feels and look this way currently, the coil business is not one big “auction”.  It’s an engineered product where engineering knowledge and market savvy come together.  Major changes in ownership usually create uncertainty and destabilization – neither of which is beneficial to the overall health of the industry.

When you call Capital Coil & Air, the same people that you’re dealing with now will be the very same people that you’ll be talking to and dealing with 10-20 years from now.  Like any business, we need customers, but we are far more interested in long-term relationships than one-off transactions.  We offer the best protection in the industry, as well as competitive and balanced pricing on every job.  We will stand behind you if there is a problem during any stage of your buying process and beyond. Give us an opportunity to earn your business, and you’ll see a dramatic departure from what you’re typically used to when it comes to dealing with manufacturers.


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Frozen Steam Coils: How Do You Prevent This?

Regardless if you have steam coils or steam distributing (non-freeze) coil, you can freeze ANY coil.  When freezes happen, everyone immediately looks to the steam coil as the cause.  When in fact, there are numerous reasons that must be looked at well before the coil.

Freezes generally happen in older systems, however if your new system is not maintained properly or correctly installed, your steam coil can and will freeze.  For instance, you’d be surprised at how many times dampers are left open, controls fail, freezestats don’t work, etc.Steam Coils

In a Standard Steam or Steam Distributing Coil, a freeze-up can occur when condensate freezes within the tubes of the steam coil.  The two most common reasons for freezing steam coils are the steam trap and the vacuum breaker.  The function of steam trap is to remove the condensate as soon as it forms.  Condensate usually collects in the lowest part of the coil.  If your steam trap isn’t installed properly, that condensate will lay in the coil and it will inevitably freeze as soon as it sees outside air.  The vacuum breaker also helps clear the condensate, minimizes water hammers, and helps with uneven temperatures. This must be installed on the control valve and always above the steam trap.

Unfortunately, there are no ways to determine exactly where your steam coil will freeze.  And a common misnomer is that the condensate turns to ice and the expansion is what causes the tubes of the coil to pop.  In reality, it’s the pressure that builds up between freeze points.

Here’s couple tips in your coil design that can help prevent your standard steam and steam distributing coils from freezing:

  • Standard steam coils should NEVER see any outside air below 40 degrees.  If it does, steam distributing is the only way to go!
  • 5/8” OD Steam distributing coils over 72” long are recommended to have a dual supply
  • 1” OD Steam distributing coils over 120” long are recommended to have a dual supply
  • Make sure your steam coil is pitched if possible.  This slopes the condensate to the return connection making it easier to remove the condensate

Give Capital Coil & Air a try on your next project. Our engineering, pricing and service is the best in the industry!


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