Top 10 Tips to Measuring Coils
Chilled Water Coils – Circuiting Made Easy
Circuiting chilled water coils is one of life’s great challenges in the coil business. You’re bound to run across folks with years of experience in the industry that can not effectively explain this concept. While not the most exciting of subjects, the necessity of circuiting chilled water coils can not be overstated. Capital Coil & Air has attempted to simplify the idea of circuiting as much as possible.
For starters, circuiting chilled water coils is ultimately up to the performance of those coils. Circuiting is really a balancing act of tube velocity and pressure drop. In other words, think of a coil as a matrix. Each coil has a specific number of rows, and a specific number of tubes within each row. For example, a chilled water coil might be 36 inch fin height and 8 rows deep. The coil has 24 tubes in each row, and multiplied by 8 rows, there is a total of 192 tubes within the coil. While you can try to feed any number of tubes, there are only a few combinations that will work.
- Feeding 1 tube – you will be making 192 passes through the coil, which will essentially require a pump the size of your car to make that process work.
- Feeding 2 tubes – equates to 96 passes, and your pressure drop will still be enormous.
- Feeding 3 tubes – 64 passes, which is still too many.
- Feeding 4 tubes – See above.
- Feeding 5 tubes – Impossible as 5 does not divide evenly into 192 (passes).
- Feeding 6 tubes – Still constitutes far too many passes, which again leads to additional pressure drop.
- Feeding 7 tubes – Same rule for feeding 5 tubes.
- Feeding 8 tubes – Same rule for feeding 6 tubes.
- Feeding 24 tubes – This feed consists of 8 passes, which is in the ballpark, and with a pressure drop you can live with.
- Feeding 32 tubes – 32 tubes will see 6 passes. You might see a slight decrease in performance, but it’s off-set by a continuously better pressure drop.
- Feeding 48 tubes – The magic combination, as 4 passes typically elicits the best performance and pressure drop simultaneously.
Rule #1: The number of tubes that you feed must divide evenly into the number of tubes in the chilled water coil.
Rule #2: The chilled water coil must give you an even number of passes so that the connections end up on the same end.
Rule #3: Based on the number of passes, you must be able to live with the resulting pressure drop. Acceptable tube velocity with water is between 2 and 6 ft. per second.
You’re bound to run into different terminologies depending on the manufacturer. More times than not, the different verbiage confuses more than it clarifies. However, understanding the basic tenets of chilled water coil circuiting will remove much of the perceived difficulty.
Coils and Counter-flow: 5 Common Questions
Chilled Water Coils & Moisture Carryover
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.
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!
Heating Season Will Soon Be Upon Us
Commercial Steam Coils; Lengths & Controls
Are Your Quick-Ships Shut Down When Needed Most???
Why are quick-ships so important??
Christmas season is in full-swing, and your current coil supplier has suspended all Quick-Ships with little to zero notice to its customers. Does that sound familiar these days? Additionally, the clock is ticking to complete those projects that need to be done by the end of the year. In this industry, this scenario is when “Quick-Ship” availability is an absolute must. Right now, the vast majority of coil manufacturers are scrambling to complete standard orders on regular lead-times, and if by dumb-luck they are able to temporarily offer any type of expedited build, the added premiums are so astronomical that very few customers can afford to use those options.
If you need a new coil, your first inclination will probably be to call the OEM. But more times than not, they are not flexible or nimble enough to handle your emergency within an acceptable time-frame. Quick-ships are generally based on emergency conditions, and that is precisely the worst time to discover that your regular supplier has suspended Quick-Ships.
So why do so many manufacturers seem to get so overwhelmed at various point every year? In short, many manufacturers take on a glut of OEM business, or other large projects with small profit margins. In many cases they do this simply to keep the factory running during the slower periods of the year. This has the effect of delaying standard lead times, and in many cases, cancelling Quick-Ships altogether. It is very hard to do business with companies that make themselves unavailable when you need them the most.
Capital Coil’s primary duty as the leading OEM replacement coil manufacturer is to fill in those gaps and work with you to help alleviate any emergencies. Whether you need a coil in (3) weeks, or (5) days, Capital Coil has got you covered.
Capital Coil does not try to be all things to all customers, and we’re most comfortable “staying in our lane”. Our #1 goal is to ensure that we have multiple quick-ship options open all year around…even if that means turning away an order to ensure sure that our Quick-Ships are ALWAYS available!!
Because Quick-Ships make up such a substantial portion of our overall business, Capital Coil has hit 99.9% of our quick-ship requests over the last (2) years. An unfortunate forklift mistake makes up the other .1%. Throughout the first 6 months of 2022, approximately 80% of all orders were/are quick-ships, and they have either all been completed on time, or are 100% on schedule.
An RFQ that sits on a desk unanswered is useless to everyone involved. If you need a quote, you’ll have your price and any required submittals that same day. It really is that simple and easy! Working with Capital Coil will remove many, if not all of the annoying and unannounced shut-downs that come with other manufacturers, so please let us help you when you need it the most!
Uncertain About Recent Changes In The HVAC Industry?
Repair or Replace Your HVAC Coils?
10 Things You Need to Know to Buy Replacement Coils Effectively
OEM Replacement Coils: Repair or Replace???
When considering OEM replacement coils, there are multiple reasons why coils can fail prematurely. Sometimes, OEM Coils simply freeze and can never be repaired. Other times, the coil was selected incorrectly, which in turn, made the coil significantly underperform. Many times, there is substantial corrosion or something else in the system that causes the coil to fail. However, most coils, when selected correctly, and in systems that are properly maintained, can last anywhere from 10-30 years! 10-30 years is also a pretty wide range, and there are many variables in how long you can expect a coil to perform. Factors, such as ongoing maintenance, air quality, and water/steam quality all have an effect on a coil’s lifespan.
Reasons Why Coils Fail Of Old Age
- While the coil’s tubes are considered the primary surface, 70% of all coil performance is performed by the finned area on a coil, which is known as the secondary surface. The fin/tube bond is easily the most important manufacturing feature in any coil. Without the bond between the tubes and fins, the coil could never properly function. Like all things however, over time the fin/tube bond becomes less efficient with constant expansion and contraction. While the construction of the coil, as well as the fin collars, does not allow the fins on the coil to move, that fin/tube bond naturally weakens a coil’s life over time after installation. Because of this, it is not a stretch to say that a coil is easily 30% less efficient after (20) years.
- Cleaning coils often pushes dirt to the center of the coil, and this occurs even more so on wet cooling coils. Just remember that coils can become great air filters if not properly maintained. The BTU output of any coil is in direct proportion to the amount of air going through the coil. If you decrease the CFM by 20%, you are also decrease the BTU’s by 20%!
- Cleaning agents often corrode aluminum fins. Since every square inch of fin surface matters in performance, corrosion of the fin surface is always detrimental to the coil’s performance.
- Many times, there are coil leaks simply because of old age. No coils are immune to erosion. You might find the brazing in the tubes, as well as the brazing in the header/tube connections failing over time. Steam can be both erosive and corrosive under higher pressures. Water travels through the coil at 2 – 5 ft/second, so erosion is an enormous part of coil failure, regardless of how well-maintained. Erosion is always there, whether you realize it or not.
- Water/steam treatment and the corrosive effects of bad steam/water can all be causes of coil failure…which then necessitates the need for a reliable manufacturer for OEM replacement coils.
So What Is The Solution?
Some coils can last 5 years, and some coils can last 30 years. As you have read, there are numerous factors that contribute to a coil’s life. In the end, there will most likely have been multiple attempts to repair that coil to make it last as long as possible. The depressing news is that most of these “Band-Aid” attempts do not work well. The most likely outcome is that you are buying a new coil anyway, so why waste the time and money on a temporary solution?
Coil failure is a “pressure event”, which is a fancy way of saying that a coil is leaking. We’ve listed some of the most common repair methods that you are likely to come across:
- Drop leaking tubes from the circuit: Keep in mind however that every dropped tube reduces the coil’s performance by triple the surface area of the tube that is dropped. Again, while ok in the short-term, this is simply another “Band-Aid” fix. Over time, your energy costs will rise exponentially, and you will probably end up buying a new coil anyway.
- Braze over the existing braze: As mentioned above, erosion has caused the original braze to fail, so all that you are really doing is pushing the pressure to another braze, which will then begin to fail as well.
- High Pressure Cleaning: This method bends the fins, further restricts the airflow, and pushes dirt more to the center of the coil, which can never be adequately cleaned.
The real reason why coils need to be replaced rather than repaired is due to energy costs. If your coil is not operating near desired levels, you’ll need to increase the energy to make it work at its peak performance. Energy increases might be slight at first, but they are guaranteed to continue to rise over time. For example:
- Somebody adjusts the fan drive for higher speeds, higher CFM’s and higher BTU’s.
- Someone adjusts the boiler; the water and steam temperatures are higher.
- Someone adjusts the chiller (1) degree higher for colder water to the chilled water coil.
Whichever method is used, performance begins to suffer and adjustments to the system occur. These adjustments cost energy efficiency and ultimately, money!
If you have ever experienced repairing a coil, then you know it is labor intensive and typically will not work as a permanent solution. With very few exceptions, repairs should be seen as nothing more than temporary until you’re able to replace that coil!
Capital Coil & Air has seen every “repair” method used, as well its inevitable outcome, so instead of putting yourself through that, call Capital Coil and allow us to be your coil replacement experts.
Is Your Quick-ship Shut Down When Needed Most??
Four Things That You Need When Buying Replacement Coils
Replacement HVAC Coils: 10 Common Ordering Mistakes
5 Work Day Quick-Ships on HVAC Coils – Why Capital Coil does it right
Day 1 – 38% of all orders sent to Capital Coil are on some kind of quick-ship, whether it be on a (5 day, 10 day, or 15 day). We enter the order immediately so that all departments in the plant have the project in their systems and are ready to move on it right away. The coil is engineered, routing sheets are sent to the shop floor, and everybody now knows what needs to be built.
Day 2 – Sheet metal casings are cut and sized, headers and connections are fabricated, while tube sheets are fabricated.
Day 3 – All tubing and fins are cut, stamped and assembly begins. You can see what the coil will look like upon final assembly at this point. Coils can be seen sitting on assembly tables.
Day 4 – Tubes are then expanded into the fins, and keep in mind that this is not a short process. Headers are then brazed to the tubes, and if there are return bends, they are connected. The coil is completely assembled and moved to the testing tank. The coil is tested under water for 20 minutes at 550 PSI. About 3% of coils have small leaks someplace in the brazing and are sent back to braze again.
Day 5 – The coil is crated and sent to shipping for routing to the customer. Then most importantly, your coil will be shipping in the guaranteed (5) days.
As you can see by this description, with quick-ships, there is not a lot of room for error in the timing and shipping with OEM HVAC replacement coils. We’ve been doing this for a while now, and we’ve had an approximately (97%) success rate fulfilling all quick-ship requests. We offer quick shipments 365 days per year, with both (10) day shipments & (15) day shipments also available for lower premiums.
How to make your HVAC OEM Replacement Coil Buying Process Easier??
Why Are Fin Designs On HVAC Replacement Coils Important?
At first glance, fin designs on HVAC replacement coils seem about as exciting as watching grass grow. “Why would I ever care about fin designs on any coil” was probably your initial response to our question. Nevertheless, we would not dedicate a newsletter to this subject if fins were not important.
One of the primary reasons fins are so important is that you want to keep your coil as clean and maintained as possible. In order to properly maintain your coil, you need to have an understanding as to how HVAC replacement coils are constructed. While fins do not look like much, they are MUCH more complicated than what you can observe at the entering or leaving airside of the coil.
To begin, fins are responsible for a surprising 65% – 70% of the heat transfer on any coil, while tubes are responsible for the remaining 30% – 35%. Additionally, in order for your coil to work at optimum performance, you need to have a terrific fin/tube bond, (which we will discuss below).
- Fins are known as secondary surface, while tubes are referred to as primary surface. While this may seem counter-intuitive, the secondary surface is responsible for twice the amount of heat transfer as the primary surface.
- There are special dies (see picture) that stamp out aluminum or copper fins with the correct thickness, height, and depth to make the coil the correct size. For example, a coil might be 36” (height) x 96” (length) x (8) rows deep x 8 fins/inch.
- Fin Height: 36”
- Fin Depth: 12”, (8) rows deep
- # of fins in the coil: 768 (8 fins x 96”)
- Each fin has 192 holes stamped in the fin for 5/8” OD tubes (8 Rows x 24 Tubes), and each fin is identical.
- Each hole has extruded metal, which is more commonly referred to as the fin collar. The collars are sized to self-space the fins and allow for later expansion of the tube into the fin collar. This practice is also known as “bonding” and is essential to having your coil run efficiently/correctly.
- Each fin is rippled at the entering and leaving edge of the fin to help create air turbulence.
- Each fin is corrugated in the direction of airflow to allow for greater air turbulence. This is important to remember because turbulence creates heat transfer.
So again, what is the point of understanding the importance of fins in HVAC coils? While coils can be built with flat fins for various reasons, the vast majority of coils are built with enhanced fins. Enhanced fins help to ensure that the airflow is not running straight through the coil.
Regardless of fin type, keep in mind that HVAC coils can and will act as great “filters”. The tubes are staggered and not in-line; while the fins are designed to help break up the airflow and not facilitate an easy, straight-through air path. Dirt and/or other particles in the air get caught easily, which again, is why coils can act as great filters. Additionally, coils with more rows will usually get dirtier than coils with less rows. Lastly, chilled water or DX coils are typically wet coils, which results in them catching virtually everything in the air.
The amount of BTU’s through any coil is in direct proportion to the amount of air through the coil. For example, if you are only getting 90% of the design air through the coil, then you are only getting 90% of the BTU’s.
Coils require good filtration and periodic maintenance. If not done correctly, you’ll pay the price of higher energy costs on an inefficient coil.
By now, you have hopefully come to the realization that HVAC coils are much more complicated than they appear, and that fins are an integral part of the coil as a whole. Again, while admittedly not the most exciting topic, understanding the role and importance of fins in HVAC coils cannot be overstated. Capital Coil & Air is here to help you with any and all coil selections, and we look forward to working with you on your next project.
Top 5 Reasons HVAC Coils Prematurely Fail
Are You Asking Your Coil Supplier These Questions?
Chilled Water, DX (Evaporator) Coils & Moisture Carryover
Moisture carryover is present on DX (Evaporator) Coils or Chilled Water coils where dehumidification happens. Many people do not think it’s a problem…until you have moisture running down ductwork or spewing all over the inside of an air handler. If you’ve ever experienced that then you probably know all of these rules regarding moisture carryover.
- Capital Coil does not typically build chilled water or DX (Evaporator) Coils over 50”. For example, with applications that call for a 96” high coil, we will build (2) 48” high coils and stack them with an intermediate drain pain. We do this for a couple reasons: first, the shipping & handling is far easier and there’s less chance for damage before the coil even gets to the job-site. Second, the drain pan in the bottom of the unit for a 96” high coil would be enormous, and it would be practically “raining” off the top of a coil 96” high.
- Air velocity for Chilled Water or DX (Evaporator) Coils should never be higher than 550 feet/min!!! Anything higher and you are asking for complications. You’d be surprised how many manufacturers won’t tell you that to keep you out of trouble.
- Entering air temperatures of 80/67 of return air in the Northeast carry far less moisture than an outside 95/78 entering air temperature in Florida. Outside air always has more moisture.
Your location plays a part as well. The drain pans will absolutely have be sized differently. Florida’s will be much larger in size.
- Fin design is irrelevant when it comes to moisture carryover. Whether you have copper corrugated fins, or aluminum flat fins, plate fins or even the old fashioned spiral fins, none of it has any effect on moisture carryover.
- Lastly, be careful when installing a new chilled water or DX (Evaporator) Coils in a system. Many end users like to increase the airflow on older coils because those old coils can act like filters, the fins are covered in dirt/dust and you’re not getting the same airflow through the coil. This dirt on the coil also semi-prevents moisture carryover. When that brand new chilled water coil is installed, the airflow might be higher than that 550 ft/minute and that, of course, will cause moisture carryover problems.
Please give us a call with any questions about your coil, your system or its design. Capital Coil is here to help you avoid situations like the one described in this post, and we would love for the chance to work with you!
10 Things You Need to Know About Chilled Water Coils
Top 10 Chilled Water Coil Facts
Syracuse University Athletic Dome Renovation
Capital Coil & Air prides itself on its ability handle all jobs – large or small! We quote anywhere from 25-50 projects/day, and there is typically a very diverse mixture of equipment and overall size & scope of projects that need to be engineered and quoted. The majority of our business comes from repeat customers because they know that we treat every job and request with the same importance – regardless of size. Today’s newsletter highlights one of our largest jobs to date to illustrate the fact that Capital Coil has the ability handle any job…no matter the size and scope.
Capital Coil has long understood that your businesses and customers depend on fast responses, fast engineering, fast shipping, and top-quality products. Again, whether it’s (2) small hot water duct-coils that you need overnighted, or banks of chilled water coils, Capital Coil wants you as our customer to be satisfied that you got a “fair-deal” with us on each and every job.
The Syracuse University Dome (SU Dome), in Syracuse, NY is currently being renovated at a cost of $205 million. The old roof was air-inflated/supported and is being replaced with an updated design-frame roof. As part of the total renovation, the building is also changing out it bathrooms, Wi-Fi, LED lighting, and entire HVAC system. As part of the renovation, Capital Coil was asked to build (64) chilled water coils as a part of the air conditioning renovation project.
Modular Comfort Systems, located in Syracuse, contacted Capital Coil & Air during the planning and budgeting phase of this project. Modular Comfort Systems is a large and highly respected HVAC Representative in central New York State. After purchasing coils from CCA, they re-sold those same coils, as well as other HVAC equipment to the also very highly respected Burns Bros. Mechanical Contractors – also located in Syracuse. Burns Brothers has been working in HVAC, plumbing and process piping for more than 100 years. Both of these companies are the types of companies that Syracuse University would entrust with such an important and high-profile job.
Capital Coil built (64) free-standing chilled water coils in sizes ranging from (33” x 93”) – (33” x 118”). All (64) coils are (8) rows with 304 stainless steel casing, increased tube wall thickness of .035”, with connections built and oriented at 90 degrees to facilitate ease of piping. The coils have all been highly engineered and are exactly correct for this application/project. Each coil weighs over 1,000 lbs, so Capital Coil split up the total order into (2) separate shipments, two weeks apart, in order to help the contractor receive the delivery.
The point of this case-study is to show how proud Capital Coil & Air is to have been tasked with building coils for such a high-profile project. Capital Coil is also proud to have worked with professional organizations like Modular Comfort Systems and Burns Brothers Mechanical. But regardless of the size of the project, you’ll receive the same attention and support as anyone else who reaches out for our assistance. Please contact us as we look forward to working with you on your next project!!
Boca Raton Hospital Covid-19 Care Condenser Coils
10 Things To Know About Chilled Water Coils
Coils and Counter-flow: 5 Common Questions
1) Coils and counter-flow?
The first thing to remember about coils and counter-flow is that chilled water coils are always built to be piped in counter-flow. This means that the air flows in the opposite direction as the water. For example, with counter-flow, the air flows through rows 1-8, while the water runs through rows 8-1. Water always travels through the coil in the opposite direction of the air; hence the term “counter-flow.” Direct Expansion Coils (Evaporator Coils) are also piped in the same manner.
With that said, what happens when you do not pipe cooling coils counter-flow? Almost all coil selection programs you will see or use will be based on counter-flow conditions. If you opt to not counter-flow a chilled water coil, you’ll have to reduce the coil’s overall performance by a certain percentage. That percentage reduction varies based on each coil’s unique dimensions, but a reliable estimate is a loss of 8-12%. Simply piping the coils in the correct manner from the beginning would seem to be the easiest and most cost-effective solution.
2) Why do you feed from the bottom of the coil?
You always want to feed a water coil from the bottom connection so that the header fills from the bottom on up and feeds every tube connection evenly. All tubes must be fed evenly with the same amount of water. If you try to feed the header from the top, you greatly increase the risk of “short circuiting” the coil and having a higher water flow through the top tubes in the coil.
3) What is a Water Hammer in a Steam Coil?
On a long Steam Coil, you will be hard pressed to get the steam through the length of the coil. Slowly but surely, that steam converts into condensate, which is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to any system. If not evacuated, the condensate just lays in the coil when the system is shut off. This problem comes into play when the steam is turned back on and meets the condensate laying inside the coil. In addition to the noise, the steam and condensate cause huge amounts of additional stress on the coil’s joints. As a result, over time, your coil will inevitably fail.
4) What else happens if you do not evacuate condensate?
When you cannot or do not evacuate the condensate on long steam coils, the condensate ends up blocking the steam. A steam coil should never feel cool to the touch, but when condensate blocks steam, one part of the coil will be warm while the other will be cool. Again, that should not happen. Steam coils are interesting in that they are more dependent upon the system and installation than any other type of coil. A steam coil must be pitched to the return end of the coil. Obviously, steam is not water. Traps, vacuum breakers and other steam accessories must be installed and located properly for the system to function.
5) Is it necessary to pipe steam and/or hot water coils in counter-flow?
Simply put – no! Circuiting a coil is only necessary to ensure the connections are on the side of the coil that you want. The rows and tubes in the coil dictate how and where you feed, but the steam supply always needs to be the high connection. This method ensures that the leaving condensate is on the bottom of the coil and below the lowest tube within the coil. Whatever else you do, know that the condensate must leave the coil!
If you have any questions or need assistance with ordering and/or installation, please contact a sales engineer at Capital Coil & Air. We will walk with you step-by-step through your entire project should you require any assistance. CALL OR E-MAIL US! We look forward to the opportunity to work with you on your future projects.
Tips on Hand Designation & Counterflow
Chilled Water Coils & Moisture Carryover