Condenser Coils Failing? Here’s probably why….

Did you recently turn on your DX systems only to find your Condenser Coils are not working?  Simple fix right?  Unfortunately, no.  If you get lucky, you can send us the model number of the unit, and there’s a great chance we’ve already built it.  In the case that we do not have that model number on file, you have two options.  You can go back to Carrier and wait two months for an OEM part while paying through the roof.  Or you call Capital Coil, and we’ll walk you through the engineering it takes to replace a condenser coil.                                                                      Condenser Coil

Very rarely do condenser coils ever freeze so the first thing you’re going to want to know is if your coil died of corrosion, old age, or possibly vibration.  Old age is obviously preferable because with a few easy dimensions, we’ll have enough to price up your duplicate coil.  Condenser coils are usually outside and are easily accessible for measurements and digital pictures.  With just the size, the rows, and fins/inch, you can get a price.  And digital pictures of the headers and return bends will give us a good idea of the circuiting and sub-cooler circuits. 

If the coil has been eaten away by corrosion, it was an improper design to begin with.  Most people don’t know that salt in the air will ruin aluminum fins within a year or two.  There are two ways to combat this.  The first option is to make the switch to copper fins and stainless steel casings.  While this will extend the life of your coil considerably, most people are not too happy about the additional cost over aluminum fins.  The second option is to use a coating.  Coatings are the much more popular choice.  They are a fraction of the cost as copper fins and only add one week to your lead time. 

When your HVAC coils are installed near a moving piece of equipment, vibration can occur and cause leaks.  The area where these leaks occur is very important and will clue you in to if the problem is vibration.  If they are near the tube sheet and look like they are slicing through the tube, the coils should be isolated from the rest of the system to prevent vibration from causing damage.  One way to combat this is by oversizing the tubesheet holes, but many manufacturers will not do this.  Condenser coils are usually the most common victims of vibration.

The last concern is with cleaning condenser coils.  Since condenser coils see outside air almost exclusively, they need to be cleaned more than other coils.  The reason for this is most condenser coils have fin spacing of 12-20 fins/inch.  With fins that tight together, the coil can and will act like a filter.  And when the coil is clogged up, the performance suffers greatly.  Recently, we’ve been getting more and more calls about using a heavier fin thickness.  This is to help with high pressure cleaning and corrosive cleaning agents. 

When dealing with an 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 and has seen every issue to make sure your everything from the quote to the installation go smoothly! Give us a try on your next project!

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Direct Expansion & Chilled Water Cabinet Coils

There are lots of ducted cooling applications with chilled water and/or DX (Evaporator) coils where you need to add incremental cooling to an existing system. However, there is an important difference when using heating coils. Because it’s a Cabinet Coilheating coil, there is no humidification occurring or water/condensate to draw. Due to these factors, cooling coils require a little more creativity and labor to install.

At Capital Coil & Air, we have removed all of the guesswork out of the application. Capital Coil manufactures Custom Coil Cabinet sections from as small as 12” x 12” sections to as large as 54” x 90” sections. We manufacture these units in both Chilled Water and DX (Expansion), as well as in 1/2” & 5/8” copper tube coils. You have the option to select anything from (3) rows to (8) rows. Additionally, we will custom-design the Cabinet around whichever site you select. Cabinet units include both insulation & drain pans, while the supports and casing allow you to connect directly to the ductwork. We can also add a Heating Coil inside the unit for more dehumidification if needed. Cabinet Coils are perfect for either heavy or light-duty installations.

All Cabinet Coils are available on Capital Coil’s Quick-Ship Program as well. As you are probably all-too-familiar, trying to custom design coils in the field is a pain. Using Cabinet Coils will greatly ease the whole installation process. Please see our Insulated Cabinet Coil Brochure for more details on available custom sizes.

Capital Coil & Air looks forward to the chance to your coil replacement specialists. Please give us a try on your next project!

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Chilled Water Coil

1. A water coil is a water coil. 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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The Smart Approach to Buying HVAC Coils (and Saving Money)

HVAC coil replacement does not have to be cost prohibitive. As you are all aware, money is tight these days, and budgets for maintenance and upkeep are constantly being cut. People are asked to do more with less, so every dollar spent must be spent wisely. In our previous newsletters, we have outlined various reasons about why you should do business with Capital Coil & Air. However, one of the most compelling reasons is cost and how you spend your money.

We now live in an age where you can skip “middle men” and buy direct from a manufacturer or supplier. Think about your own life and how your own personal shopping habits have changed over the years. When was the last time you used a travel agent to book a trip? In 2020, you’re much more likely to go to Tripadvisor or an airline’s website and make travel reservations yourself. Greater access to more choices gives you the opportunity to save money in the process.

Spending money in business these days is no different. Consumers have access to more information than ever before. Consumer studies show buyers get 60% of their product information from a firm’s website before ever speaking with a sales rep. The days of an account manager or manufacturer’s representative being the sole source of information are over. Right now, you can access Capital Coil’s website and see our entire HVAC product offering, including dimensions, quick-ship programs, and our Coil Selection Program. With information at the press of a button, Capital Coil’s expert customer service will consult with you to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you need, when you need it. Working with Capital Coil & Air directly cuts out that “middle man’s” costly mark-up and saves you money without sacrificing quality. Avoiding the “middle man” and having a direct line to the manufacturer also ensures quick response times, and helps to make sure that no information gets lost in translation.

Capital Coil & Air does have a select number of exceptional representatives in a few areas, and because they are valuable assets in the HVAC industry, we are comfortable passing your project information along to those representatives. But if not in one of those areas, you are free to work with us directly.

At the end of the day, technology has allowed you as the consumer to buy smarter, faster, and cheaper. Aside from those previously mentioned “middle men” who does not want faster and cheaper? Capital Coil & Air would like the opportunity to be your “direct supplier” on present and future projects. Give us a call and test us out!

 

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Chilled Water, DX (Expansion) Coils & Moisture Carryover

Moisture carryover is present on DX 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.Chilled Water Coils

  • 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 coil 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’s engineering is unparalleled in the industry!

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Chilled Water Coils
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

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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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IN NEED OF A COIL YESTERDAY??

Why are quick-ships so important??

With winter and various “polar-vortex’s” in full swing, 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!!! Steam Coil

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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