Why Are Fin Designs On HVAC Replacement Coils Important?

Replacement HVAC Coils

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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
    1. Fin Height: 36”
    2. Fin Depth: 12”, (8) rows deep
    3. # of fins in the coil: 768 (8 fins x 96”)
  3. Each fin has 192 holes stamped in the fin for 5/8” OD tubes (8 Rows x 24 Tubes), and each fin is identical.
  4. 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.
  5. Each fin is rippled at the entering and leaving edge of the fin to help create air turbulence.
  6. 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.

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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.

  • 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. Chilled Water Coil

    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!

 

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10 Things To Know About Chilled Water Coils

Chilled Water Coil

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!

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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.

Chilled Water Coil

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.

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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

Air Velocities

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!

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What Does “Splitting” A DX (Evaporator) Coil Mean?

“Splitting” a DX (Evaporator) coil is one of the toughest concepts to understand in the coil business. “Splitting” the coil simply means that (2) compressors can operate off of the same coil. One obvious advantage, or reason that you might “split” a DX coil is that you can shut down (1) of the compressors when the cooling load does not require it. This in turn saves energy, which saves $ when the cooling load is not operating at maximum design conditions. For example, let’s use a coil that is designed to give you (40) tons, but the coil is split so that (2) 20-ton compressors are feeding the same coil. If you only require ½ of the maximum load on any given day, you can shut down (1) compressor completely and operate the other one at 100%. This is a money-saving feature that you need to be aware of if you deal with DX coils on a regular basis. This requires special circuiting arrangements, and this is where the confusion starts with most folks. There are three primary ways to deal with this:

FACE SPLIT

Splitting the coil is nothing more than putting (2) completely separate fin/tube packs (coils) into one common casing. When you hear the term “face-splitting” a coil, you are drawing a horizontal line from left to right across the face of the coil and dividing the coil into a top and bottom half. It is like having two separate coils in one casing in that each half is circuited by itself. You hook up (1) compressor for the top half, and (1) compressor for the bottom.

In practice, this configuration is no longer used with much frequency because this arrangement leads to air being directed across the entire face of the coil. This disadvantage is especially apparent when only one half of the coil is in use because you’ll need a complicated damper/duct system to ensure that air is only directed to that portion of the coil in operation.

Row Split

“Row splitting” a coil is dividing the coil by drawing a line vertically and putting some portion of the total rows in (1) circuit, while putting the remaining rows in the other circuit. With this configuration, the air passes across the entire face of the coil, and will always pass across the rows that are in operation.

Please be aware that this configuration also comes with certain issues in that this kind of split makes it very hard to achieve a true 50/50 split. Let’s use an (8) row coil as an example. You would like to “row split” this coil with (4) rows/circuit, which would appear to be a perfect 50/50 split. The problem here is that the first (4) rows, located closest to the entering air, pick up a much higher portion of the load than the last (4) rows. In actuality, this coil’s split is closer to 66% / 34%, which will not match the 50/50 compressors. Another option is try to split the coil between (3) & (5) rows. While not 50/50 either, this configuration is closer. However, a new challenge arises because you have now created a coil that is very difficult to build and correctly circuit. In short, you need almost perfect conditions along with a degree of luck to achieve a true 50/50 split using this method.

Intertwined Circuiting

The most common to split coils today is to “intertwine” the circuiting. This means that every alternate tube in the coil is included in (1) circuit, while the other tubes are included in the (2nd) circuit. For example, tubes 1, 3,5,7,9, etc. in the first row are combined with tubes 2, 4, 6,8,10, etc. in the second row. The same tubes in succeeding rows form (1) circuit. You are essentially including every alternate tube in the entire coil into (1) circuit, which (1) compressoDX (Evaporator) Coilsr will operate. All of the remaining tubes not included in the first circuit will now encompass the second circuit.

The advantage of this configuration is that the air passes across the entire face of the coil, and, if one of the compressors is on, there are always tubes in operation. Every split is now exactly 50/50 because it cannot be any other way. Most DX coils are now configured in this manner due to these advantages.

Capital Coil & Air has years of experience measuring, designing and building almost every OEM DX coil that you’ll come across, so please let us help you on your next project. We want to be your replacement coil experts and look forward to the opportunity.

 

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Tips on Hand Designation & “Counter-flow”

Are your chilled water coils right hand or left hand?  Are you looking into the face of the coil with the air hitting you in the back of the head?  What exactly is counter-flow and why is it important?  Are you completely confused by why right hand vs. left hand even exists?  Most manufacturers probably do not know or understand the technical reasons themselves.

First, let’s figure out what coils even need a hand determination.  Chilled Water Coils, Direct Expansion (Evaporator) Coils, and Condenser Coils are the only coils that need this figured on almost every job.  Hot Water Coils, Booster Coils, and Steam Coils rarely need this determination!  The reason for this is when the coils are only 1 or 2 rows deep, they can be flipped over.  When a chilled water coil is 3+ rows deep, hand determination is much more important because it needs to be counter-flow.  With most suppliers determining hand designation with the air hitting you in the back of the head….do you want the connections on the right or left?

Chilled Water CoilsYou’ve probably heard the term “counter-flow” countless times, but here’s the simplest explanation.  For peak performance, you want the air and the fluid traveling in opposite directions through the coil.  Is it the end of the world if your coils are not counter-flow?  The short answer is no, but you will lose anywhere from 12-15% of the output.  So if your coils are piped incorrectly, don’t expect to get the full performance.  Steam and hot water coils are 1 or 2 rows deep, so again, counter-flow is pretty much irrelevant.  However, it can make a BIG difference with any chilled water or direct expansion coils (3-12) rows deep.

We also get asked many times “what is the proper way to pipe coils?”  Put simply, steam coils should always be fed on the highest connection and the return on the lowest connection.  Water coils should always be fed on the lowest connection and returned on the top connection to ensure that all of the tubes are are fed the same volume of fluid. 

Hand designation and counter-flow are two pretty simple concepts when they are properly explained.  When dealing with a HVAC coil manufacturer, partner up with one who will walk you through the engineering and explain it along the way.  Capital Coil & Air has well over a decade of experience in handling pretty much any scenario that you may come across, so we want to be your coil resource for any and all projects. Please give us a try on your next job!

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Is Your Quick-ship Shut Down When Needed Most??

Why are quick-ships so important??

With winter already well upon us with various “polar-vortexes” swarming over most of the country, time is not on your side if your current supplier isn’t able to meet your needs. Generally speaking, most jobs require some form of “quick-ship“.

Approximately 70% of all Capital Coil’s orders over the last (3) months have involved some sort of quick-ship. Quick-ships are an integral part of Capital Coil’s overall business structure, and for that specific reason, unlike other manufacturers, Capital Coil & Air NEVER shuts down its quick-ships!!! Quick-ship

You can call the OEM, but more times than not, they are not flexible or nimble enough to handle your emergency within an acceptable time-frame. Whether you need a coil in (3) weeks, or (5) days, Capital Coil has got you covered.

Quick-ships are generally based on emergency conditions, and that is precisely the worst time to discover that your regular supplier has suspended their quick-ships. When we call Capital Coil reliable and dependable, one of the main reasons is because of our ability to keep our quick-ship program open 12 months/year.

Capital Coil does not try to be all things to all customers, but quick-ships are an integral part of our business. Keeping our quick-ship program available all year is a top priority, and this has allowed us to hit 99.9% of our quick-ship requests over the last (3) years. An unfortunate forklift mistake makes up the other .1%. Through the last 3 months of 2019, approximately 75% of all orders were quick-ships, and they have either all been completed on time, or are 100% on schedule.

So why do so many manufacturers seem to get so overwhelmed at some point every year? 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.

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 removes many of the annoying and unannounced shut-downs that come with other manufacturers, so please let us help you when you need it the most!

 

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Large enough to service all of your commercial replacement coils, but small enough to care about what you think

With replacement coils, as a customer, you have more choices than ever. But don’t you ever get tired of dealing with largely nameless corporations with high staff turn-over? As you’ve probably Replacement coilsexperienced first-hand, there are plenty of companies in the HVAC industry that fit this description. You are simply a number or a project instead of a customer/partner with a name and face. If given the alternative, would you rather deal with a company who knows you and is interested in your success, or a company who’s sole interest is finding out when your check is in the mail? Don’t you want somebody that values your business, regardless of the $ amount, and will go the “extra mile” for you when you need it? Capital Coil & Air places a great emphasis on those attributes in our business relationships, and common sense tells us that you probably do as well.

Capital Coil & Air was created as a family-owned business, with Matt and Dan Jacobs as joint owners and partners. What differentiates Capital Coil & Air from our competition is that we are big enough to handle all of your coil requirements, but still small enough to know who our customers are and what they need. We have decades worth of knowledge and expertise, and because of that, we have learned to not try to be all things to all customers. Capital Coil’s knowledge and experience is in the replacement and design/build market, and we are very disciplined at “staying in our lane”. Additionally, we’d much prefer to have customers and relationships that last years instead of one-off transactions. Working with Capital Coil is as simple and easy as it gets, and here are some examples:

  • When requesting a quote, we almost always respond within the same hour, or within 24 hours at the latest.  We recognize that there is an urgency to almost every coil order, and your time is valuable. In the end, a 3 day delay for a quote and/or revisions to said quote, is the same as if the manufacturer shipped your coil 3 days late.
  • When you place an order with us, we’ll send you an order acknowledgment within 24 hours detailing what you ordered, overall costs, and when it is going to ship.
  • We understand the value and necessity of clear communication. To minimize mistakes, we attach submittal drawings for every quote and order. We want to communicate with you throughout the entire buying process to make sure we are building exactly what you need.  More communication leads to less mistakes and wasted time.
  • We follow up on our shipments very carefully. We’ll work with both you and the carrier to help track your shipments to ensure your order gets to you the fastest way possible.
  • We will not ignore you simply because a sale is complete. Before, during and/or after installation, we’re here to answer your questions and help in any way possible.
  • If you need some help on pricing, we’ll do our best to work with you. While every job is unique, we want to work with you for the next 20 years, rather that a one and done purchase.

You now have some insight into our values and who we are at Capital Coil & Air. Please contact us for any future coil requirements. We greatly value your business and look forward to be your coil replacement partners on your next project!

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How Did The HVAC Commercial Coil Replacement Market Originate???

How in the world did the commercial coil replacement market start? This specific newsletter is more of a story than anything technical that we have covered in most of our previous emails or blogs. Rather, this is the story of how one manufacturer’s representative, Robert Jacobs, almost by accident, stumbled upon the concept of the coil replacement market back at a time when the only way one could get a replacement coil was to go through the original equipment manufacturer – (OEM). In full disclosure, Bob Jacobs is the VP of Business Development with Capital Coil & Air.

Way back in the day – (1970’s) – HVAC coils were not stand-alone pieces of equipment as they are considered by some now. Coils were nothing more than a single part in an Air Handling Unit (AHU) or a bank of coils. Like a bearing, a drive, or fan wheel, coils were simply part #’s that one needed to reference with the OEM in order to get a replacement built. This situation was a very good deal for the OEM’s because much like car parts, they could charge upwards of 3x’s the original cost of the coil or “part”. And, it was built according to their schedule/timeline, not yours’.

In the 1970’s, Bob Jacobs was a manufacturer’s rep in the Philadelphia-area, and his main line of equipment was Bohn Aluminum & Brass. Bohn was a division of Gulf & Western and competed against many of the top manufacturers, such as Trane & Carrier. For comparison-sake, Bohn was very similar to what Dunham-Bush is today.Commercial Coil Replacement

During this period, Bob Jacobs was asked by numerous local contractors to replace old and/or broken coils. Due to the lack of a quality alternative, he initially used Bohn for coil replacement projects, but replacing coils was not exactly Bohn’s “sweet spot”. It should be mentioned that during this period, replacement coils were not really on any manufacturer’s radar as a separate product – hence the point of this story. Regardless of the OEM, standard lead-times were upwards of (12) – (14) weeks, and those “replacement parts” were very expensive. It was during this period that he realized that there was serious potential for some kind of HVAC coil replacement market. To test this theory, he initially spent $75.00 on an ad deep within the classified section of “Air Conditioning & Refrigeration News”. It was the old type where one had to “circle the bingo card” to request additional information, and this single ad received over 525 inquiries from across the country!! This eye-opening initial response to his idea made him realize that he had come across something good, but now the challenge was how to satisfy this new market. Bob Jacobs initially contacted Bohn to see if there was any interest in building replacement coils, as well as marketing the idea across the United States. Bohn essentially laughed at the idea and countered that he’d be violating his sales rep agreement by going into the territories of other reps. This was very flawed reasoning as none of the other reps were engineering or selling replacement coils in the first place! Within a week, he had canceled his agreement with Bohn and was looking for alternative vendors. He also decided to run a second ad that received another 450 inquiries; furthering his idea of the need for a coil replacement market.

The next step was to reach out to Singer Coils (yes, like the sewing machine), who was located in North Carolina. Because they had built coils for other manufacturers, he pitched his idea to them along with the request that they build his special or “custom” coils. While initially skeptical of the concept, the doubters were proved wrong as his firm gave Singer over $3,500,000 in business in that first year alone. Admittedly, that $ amount in the first year in a brand new market is impressive whether it’s 1971 or 2021!!

One must also remember that these were the days before fax machines and most certainly before email and the internet. Quote requests for coils were received via USPS and were hand-drawn sketches written on things, such as legal pads, envelopes and pretty much every way imaginable compared with today. Because everything was starting from scratch at this time, there were no coil model libraries or other materials to cross-reference, so going through a random building trying to locate the correct coil to replace could be torturous. However, over the next 6-8 years, his business grew quite rapidly, and he was able to collect and build a substantial reference library of coil drawings and other relevant information. The experiences of the prior 8 years, coupled with his firm’s knowledge of commercial coils, eventually allowed his company to begin building their own replacement coils for the 1st time, rather than relying on a 3rd party manufacturer.

Bob Jacobs’ original coil replacement company developed relationships with literally thousands of customers and laid out the initial blueprint for success in the coil replacement business. Due to that success, you now have approximately (10) alternatives that have attempted to copy his model as it’s become obvious that this is a lucrative market. Even OEM’s have recognized that they need to have a piece of the replacement market. But an important point to remember is that just because a company says or even advertises that they are in the coil replacement business does not mean that they are any good or even fully understand how the replacement market operates. For example, most coil manufacturers today are still more interested in the production of larger quantities, so replacement coils are “special” to them. In other words, sometimes these manufacturers want to be in the coil replacement business, and other times, without telling you, they do not. And not knowing where a company’s focus or priorities lie makes it extremely difficult to work with them under emergency conditions.

Bob Jacobs was there at the beginning and is still quite active within Capital Coil. Having daily access to a resource that literally invented the coil replacement market is what separates Capital Coil from all other competitors. Capital Coil will continue to be your coil replacement experts, and we greatly look forward to the chance to work with you on future projects.

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