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
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??
Top 10 Chilled Water Coil Facts
Every Chilled Water Coil selection is about balance. Your coil selection balances the rows/fins versus the cost of the coil pressure drops/performance. Trying to cut corners on your initial selection may save you money upfront, but you will inevitably pay it back down the line through added energy costs. This is a truism for every manufactured coil.
- Fins cost less money than rows/tubes. A good cost-cutting tool when selecting a coil is to choose 14 fins/inch. This will turn your (8) row coil into a (6) row coil, which will dramatically lower your costs. If you choose to go this route, one thing to keep in mind is that 14 fins/inch will be semi-inconvenient to any maintenance crew tasked with cleaning the coil. Don’t expect a Christmas card from them that year.
- That raises the question of whether or not you can even clean a deep (6) or (8) row coil? In short, you can, but it is not easy. Chilled water coils are especially difficult to clean because they are almost always wet. Due to this fact, they typically attract dirt and additional particles that other coils do not. Generally, when cleaning a coil, most of the dirt get pushed to the middle, and for that reason, 14 fins/inch may not be the best idea after all.
- Did you know that fins do approximately 70% of the heat transfer in a chilled water coil, while the tubes are only responsible for the remaining 30%? This is precisely why the fin/tube bond is so important. Without a perfectly crafted fin/tube bond, coils become inefficient very quickly. You pay for that inefficiency through increased energy costs.
- How long does a coil last? At what age can I expect my coil to fail? Unfortunately, there is no single answer to either question. Everything is dependent on a combination of maintenance, duty, and numerous other factors. If your initial selection was correctly chosen, and proper maintenance was kept, 15-20 years is a good timeframe.
- You may have a situation where your coil is 20 years old, and everything appears to be operating in good condition. There are no leaks and all looks ok. However, over that length of time, what you don’t see is that the fins have thinned and are no longer bonded to the tubes, and the coil is dirty in places that you cannot see. Again, while the coil may look to be running in top form, it’s probably only running at 60% capacity. Most likely, the tubes have also thinned over time, so when the next deep freeze occurs, you can guess the likely outcome.
- You really need to replace the coil, but have been told to make do with the current coil? To make up for the lack of efficiency, you might try to “jury-rig” your system. One method is to change the drive on the fans to deliver more CFM. This increases the air pressure drop, which in turn increases motor brake horsepower. Another option to help increase the coil’s efficiency is to lower the temperature of the chilled water from the chiller. We tend to mess with the system and apply temporary Band-Aids, when replacing the coil is the only guaranteed long-term solution.
- If you want to spend money wisely on a chilled water coil, simply make the tubes thicker. The tube thickness for a 5/8” tube coil is .020” thick, so increase the tube thickness to .025”. The same applies for a ½” tube coil, with a tube thickness of .016”. Increase it to .020”. By doing this, you get the added bonus of making your return bends thicker, which also helps to extend the life of the coil.
- Not quite sure about circuiting on a chilled water coil? You are going to have a hard time making an accurate selection unless you understand how to circuit a coil. Circuiting is really nothing more than selecting the number of tubes that you want to feed, and how many passes the water makes through the coil – depending on your GPM. Circuiting is one of the most important factors in ensuring that your coil is running at peak-performance.
- Curious about the balance between cost, size, materials, and maintenance? Every chilled water coil needs to be maintained for its entire life-span. If you’ve made your selection, and something seems off about the coils, chances are mistakes were made during the selection process. Some indicators include the coil being too big for the space allowed, or incurring out of control energy costs. What is the point of saving $500 on a chilled water coil if you have to spend $5,000 in maintenance over its life-span?
As coil replacement experts, we run into this issue every day. Our goal is to work with you to ensure your selections are correct the first time. The person in charge of budgets will be grateful to you over time. Capital Coil & Air welcomes the opportunity to work with you on your next coil project! We want to be your coil replacement specialists.
Chilled Water Coil Circuiting Made Easy
Chilled Water Coils & Moisture Carryover
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
10 Things To Know About Chilled Water Coils
1. Hot or chilled water coils are still water coils. There is really no difference between hot water coils and a chilled water coils in construction. Hot water coils are usually 1 or 2 rows and chilled water coils are usually 3 to 12 rows deep.
2. The vast majority of chilled water coils are constructed from either 1/2″ OD tubes or 5/8″ OD tubes. A lot of that depends on the tooling of the original equipment manufacturer and what is more economical. Either size can be used and substituted for each other, which makes replacing your coil that much easier.
3. 1/2″ Tubes are on 1.25″ center to center distance. 5/8″ tubes are on 1.5″ center to center distance. For example, if a chilled water coil has a 30″ fin height, there will be (24) 1/2″ tubes per row or (20) 5/8″ tubes per row. The tube area of the coil is remarkably the same. They are almost interchangeable.
4. The quality of the coil often times is directly tied to the tube thickness. Many installations have water not treated properly or tube velocities that are too high. There are few perfect installations in real life. Increasing the tube wall thickness on a chilled water coil is a great way to ensure longer life.
5. Fins make great filters! Of course, they are not designed to be filters, but it happens. You can make any coil cheaper by making them 14 fins/inch with less rows rather than 8 or 10 fins/inch. Just remember that deep coils are very difficult to clean. Cheap is not the way to go most of the time!
6. Fins are designed for maximum heat transfer. They are much more complicated in design than they appear to be when looking at the chilled water coil. They are rippled on the edge to break up the air. They are corrugated throughout the depth of the fin. The tubes are staggered from row to row and the fin collars are extended. All of this to maximize heat transfer. Unfortunately, the byproduct of this is the fins can end up being great filters. Be careful in the design of any chilled water coil.
7. Fins are aluminum for a reason! They give you great heat transfer at an economical cost. You need a compelling reason to switch to copper fins as copper is very expensive, and you’re likely to double (or maybe triple) the cost of the coil. Coatings are popular for this very reason.
8. Many chilled water coils are built with 304 stainless steel casings. The casings are stronger, they last longer, they are stackable, and it’s fairly inexpensive. After all, what is the point of building the best coil possible and have the casing disintegrate over time around the coil? Sometimes, it’s money well spent!
9. Circuiting the coil is the tricky part of any coil. Circuiting is nothing more than the number of tubes that you want to feed from a header. There are two rules. You must keep the water velocity over 1 foot/second and below 6 feet/second. 3-4 feet/second is optimum. The second is the number of tubes that you feed must divide evenly into the number of tubes in the coil.
10. Replacing your chilled water coil is easy. Rarely do you have to worry about the performance. When you replace a 20 year old coil, it is dirty and the fin/tube bond is not good. The coil is probably operating at 1/2 of its capacity at best. When you put a new coil on the job, your performance will automatically be terrific. Your main concern is now making the sure the coil physically fits in the space allowed. And always have this in the back of your mind: Smaller is always better than too large. Smaller you can always work with, whereas too large makes for a very ugly and expensive coffee table.
There you have it – everything you need to know about chilled water coils. Interested in learning more, please reach out to Capital Coil & Air! We look forward to the opportunity to be your coil replacement specialists!
DX & Chilled Water Cabinet Coils
Coils and Counter-flow: 5 Common Questions
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
Top 10 Tips For Measuring HVAC Coils
1. When measuring HVAC coils, performance has very little to do with accurately measuring for replacement coils. Fitting the coil in the existing space with the least amount of labor has everything to do with measuring a coil. If you duplicate the coil in almost every respect, the performance will match and take care of itself. New is always more efficient than old.
2. If you’re ever in doubt about a dimension, smaller is always better than bigger. You can always “safe off” around any coil as long as you can fit it in the space. If a coil is too big, it makes a really ugly coffee table in your shop. Too big is the enemy of measuring coils.
3. The fin height and fin length are not the determining factors in measuring a coil. The overall casing dimensions are the most important, and you work backwards to determine fin dimensions.
4. The depth of any coil is the total casing depth in the direction of airflow. The height is the number of tubes high in any row. Depth is a function of rows deep and height is a function of tubes in a row.
5. Overall length (OAL) is not the fin length and it’s not the casing length. It is the length from the return bends to include the headers that are inside the unit. Again, it is necessary to work backwards to get the other dimensions once you know this critical dimension.
6. Circuiting is the number of tubes connected to the supply header. Generally, you just want to count the number of tubes connected to the header and that will tell you whether it’s full, half, or even a double circuit. It does not matter how the return bends are configured. Your goal is to count the number of supply tubes and all performance is based on that.
7. Fins are measured in fins per inch. Hold a tape measure up to the coils and count the number of fins in one inch. If you can’t get in to take the measurement, a safe rule of thumb is 10-12 fins/inch. That will work on almost every coil. The exception to that rule is a condenser coil. 14-16 fins/inch on a condenser coil is usually pretty safe.
8. Connection locations are difficult only if you are using the existing piping in the system (which are welded). Copper piping is brazed and can be changed easily. If a system is old and the piping is being replaced as well as the coil, the connection location is not a major deal. It’s very easy to match up!
9. With replacement coils, the concept of “left hand vs. right hand” doesn’t actually exist. Connections are “top left-bottom right” or vice versa. Ideally, all coils should be counter-flow which means that the water and air flow in opposite directions. The air hits row one first and the water is piped into row eight first. However, there are lots of installations that are piped backwards, and they work just fine. Just match them up, and the coil’s performance will be equal to the old coil.
10. Connections are not measured from the top of the header! They are measured from the top of the casing to the centerline of the connection. Or the bottom of the casing to the centerline. You need a point of reference, and the header height can be anything just as long as it doesn’t stick above or below the casing height.
All of the above “suggestions” or “secrets” are in no particular order. They are just things that you should know to ensure that you are selecting the correct replacement coil. While most seem like common sense, your best bet is to talk with the sales team at Capital Coil & Air, who can walk your through the entire process and help you to fill out coil drawings when trying to measure the dimensions.
Replacement HVAC Coils: 10 Common Ordering Mistakes
The Smart Approach to Buying HVAC Coils (and Saving Money)
Guidelines For Air Velocities
The height, length and resulting air velocities greatly figure in everything in determining the size and performance of a coil. Step # 1 in determining the size and performance of a coil is dependent upon understanding face & air velocities of air across the coil. Whether you use CCA’s coil selection program to help size the coil, or you are replacing an existing coil; the height, length and resulting velocity determine everything.
Hot Water Booster Coils
Every coil has a specific, optimum velocity, so you want to make sure you are within 30% (+ or -) of that number. For example, booster coils have an optimum velocity of 800 ft/minute. That means that you can drop your velocity to 600 ft/minute, or conversely, increase the velocity to 1,000 ft/minute. The duct velocities are almost always higher, which means that you will need to transition to a larger coil. Try to get to as close to 800 ft/minute as possible, while sizing your coil to make the transition as easy as possible. Everything with coils is a balancing act.
Hot Water & Steam Coils
Like booster coils, hot water and steam coils should also have face velocities at approximately 800 ft/minute. Both steam & hot water coils have only sensible heating, which is why their face velocities can be the same. Face velocities ultimately control the coil’s cost, so 800 ft/minute really is a heating coil’s “sweet spot”.
If you are purchasing an air handler unit, oftentimes the heating coil is smaller than the cooling coil because the face velocities on heating coils can exceed those of cooling coils. Due to water carry-over, cooling coils cannot exceed 550 ft/minute, while heating coils only deal with sensible heat.
Chilled Water & DX Coils
Due to the limited face velocities of cooling coils, your choices are more limited. With cooling coils, your face velocity must be somewhere between 500 ft/minute-550 ft/minute. Remember that when dealing with cooling coils, you are dealing with both sensible and latent cooling, so the coil is wet. When you exceed 550 ft/minute, water carry-over occurs past the drain pans.
If you are purchasing an air handler unit, you probably will not have worry about the coil’s face velocity as most coils come pre-sized at the acceptable face velocities. Fan coils also come pre-sized with the correct CFM’s. However, if you are replacing an existing cooling coil, the face velocity must remain at or below 550 ft/minute!!
Air Stratification Across The Coil
Air does not travel equally across the face of a coil. If you were to divide a coil into (9) equal sections, like a tic-tac-toe board, you would see a high percentage of air travelling through the center square, rather than the corner squares. In a perfect air flow scheme, 11% of the air would travel through each of the 9 squares, but that is not what happens. Because more air travels through the center of the coil, you want to avoid putting a fan too near the coil. Due to central air flows, most systems are draw-thru, rather than blow-thru. This is also why you want to avoid installing your coil near any 90 degree angles/turns in the ductwork. Avoid any situations that contribute more than the “natural” air stratification to help ensure your coil is at maximum efficiency.
In some situations involving cooling coils, you will have water carry-over even when the coil is sized correctly. How can this happen? Think about the tic-tac-toe board again. Air velocities are exceeding 700 ft/minute in the coil’s center, while the corners are around 300 ft/minute. This cannot and will not work.
Coils do not have any moving parts. They simply react to the air across the outside of the coil and whatever is running through the inside of the coil. Coils are 100% a function of your entire system, as well as the installation in general.
Capital Coil & Air is here to help with any coil selections that will help avoid costly missteps that lead to wasted time and money. Call us on your next project, we greatly look forward to working with you!
Chilled Water, DX (Expansion) Coils & Moisture Carryover
Tips on Hand Designation & Counter-flow