OEM Replacement Coils: Repair or Replace???

When considering OEM replacement coils, there are multiple reasons why coils can fail prematurely. Sometimes, they simply freeze and can never be repaired. Other times, the coil was selected incorrectly, which in turn, made the coil significantly underperform. Many times, there is substantial corrosion or something else in the system that causes the coil to fail. However, most coils, when selected correctly, and in systems that are properly maintained, can last anywhere from 10-30 years!  10-30 years is also a pretty wide range, and there are many variables in how long you can expect a coil to perform. Factors, such as ongoing maintenance, air quality, and water/steam quality all have an effect on a coil’s lifespan.

OEM Replacement Coils

Reasons Why Coils Fail Of Old Age

  • While the coil’s tubes are considered the primary surface, 70% of all coil performance is performed by the finned area on a coil, which is known as the secondary surface. The fin/tube bond is easily the most important manufacturing feature in any coil. Without the bond between the tubes and fins, the coil could never properly function. Like all things however, over time the fin/tube bond becomes less efficient with constant expansion and contraction. While the construction of the coil, as well as the fin collars, does not allow the fins on the coil to move, that fin/tube bond naturally weakens a coil’s life over time after installation. Because of this, it is not a stretch to say that a coil is easily 30% less efficient after (20) years.
  • Cleaning coils often pushes dirt to the center of the coil, and this occurs even more so on wet cooling coils. Just remember that coils can become great air filters if not properly maintained. The BTU output of any coil is in direct proportion to the amount of air going through the coil. If you decrease the CFM by 20%, you are also decrease the BTU’s by 20%!
  • Cleaning agents often corrode aluminum fins. Since every square inch of fin surface matters in performance, corrosion of the fin surface is always detrimental to the coil’s performance.
  • Many times, there are coil leaks simply because of old age. No coils are immune to erosion. You might find the brazing in the tubes, as well as the brazing in the header/tube connections failing over time. Steam can be both erosive and corrosive under higher pressures. Water travels through the coil at 2 – 5 ft/second, so erosion is an enormous part of coil failure, regardless of how well-maintained. Erosion is always there, whether you realize it or not.
  • Water/steam treatment and the corrosive effects of bad steam/water can all be causes of coil failure…which then necessitates the need for a reliable manufacturer for OEM replacement coils.

So What Is The Solution?

Some coils can last 5 years, and some coils can last 30 years. As you have read, there are numerous factors that contribute to a coil’s life. In the end, there will most likely have been multiple attempts to repair that coil to make it last as long as possible. The depressing news is that most of these “Band-Aid” attempts do not work well. The most likely outcome is that you are buying a new coil anyway, so why waste the time and money on a temporary solution?

Coil failure is a “pressure event”, which is a fancy way of saying that a coil is leaking. We’ve listed some of the most common repair methods that you are likely to come across:

  • Drop leaking tubes from the circuit: Keep in mind however that every dropped tube reduces the coil’s performance by triple the surface area of the tube that is dropped. Again, while ok in the short-term, this is simply another “Band-Aid” fix. Over time, your energy costs will rise exponentially, and you will probably end up buying a new coil anyway.
  • Braze over the existing braze: As mentioned above, erosion has caused the original braze to fail, so all that you are really doing is pushing the pressure to another braze, which will then begin to fail as well.
  • High Pressure Cleaning: This method bends the fins, further restricts the airflow, and pushes dirt more to the center of the coil, which can never be adequately cleaned.

The real reason why coils need to be replaced rather than repaired is due to energy costs. If your coil is not operating near desired levels, you’ll need to increase the energy to make it work at its peak performance. Energy increases might be slight at first, but they are guaranteed to continue to rise over time. For example:

  • Somebody adjusts the fan drive for higher speeds, higher CFM’s and higher BTU’s.
  • Someone adjusts the boiler; the water and steam temperatures are higher.
  • Someone adjusts the chiller (1) degree higher for colder water to the chilled water coil.

Whichever method is used, performance begins to suffer and adjustments to the system occur. These adjustments cost energy efficiency and ultimately, money!

If you have ever experienced repairing a coil, then you know it is labor intensive and typically will not work as a permanent solution. With very few exceptions, repairs should be seen as nothing more than temporary until you’re able to replace that coil!

Capital Coil & Air has seen every “repair” method used, as well its inevitable outcome, so instead of putting yourself through that, call Capital Coil and allow us to be your coil replacement experts.

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Syracuse University Athletic Dome

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.Capital Coil

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!!

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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.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 (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’s engineering is unparalleled in the industry!

 

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Four Things To Know When Buying Replacement Coils

While building numerous types of coils for various customers over the years, we’ve discovered the four main things that you need when replacing HVAC coils. We’ve found that most customers are searching for many of the same things, and also share many of the same priorities. Based on numerous conversations with our customers, we’ve compiled a list of the primary factors that you need to consider when purchasing an HVAC coil.

  • Marketing and advertising experts’ claim that a person needs to see and/or hear something an average of 3-5 times for the brain to really absorb the message. And so, in light of that claim, think DELIVERY, DELIVERY, DELIVERY, and DELIVERY! Every coil job has a degree of urgency to it, which is why the speed of delivery is so significant. Either you are beginning the process of replacing coils for a system that is shut Quick-Shipdown, or you are in the middle of a job and discover that you need coils to be delivered as soon as possible. In either scenario, you need a coil supplier that works on your schedule – not their own, independent timetable. Capital Coil’s Quick Ship Program allows the coils to be built on your timeline, not the manufacturer’s.
  • The coil MUST fit in the space allowed! You can purchase the highest quality coil ever manufactured, and if it does not fit, then you have nothing more than exquisitely manufactured scrap metal. So when measuring a coil, always remember that a little smaller is always better than a little bigger. There are 100 different ways to make a smaller coil work for you. On the flip-side, if a coil is too big, then you have no choice but to start over.
  • Performance matters! As with any purchase, it’s important to have an idea of what you are trying to accomplish. The simple act of duplicating a coil can sometimes work, but more often than not, additional performance information is needed. This is precisely where Capital Coil & Air can help. We’ll work with you to come up with a simulated performance schedule, even if you do not have all of the necessary information. Working in consultation with our clients tends to lead to an outcome that is acceptable to all parties.
  • Lastly and very importantly, there is cost. Everyone has budgetary constraints, and no one wants to break the bank paying for coils. However, buying a coil is often more than simply price alone. Taking into account required delivery times, sizing of the coils for the job, performance, and price, buying a coil can be a balancing act. While price should not be minimized, buying the cheapest coil is seldom the best coil for your job or application. The adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies when it comes to coils. Capital Coil’s main goal is to help lessen your overall price, without sacrificing performance and quality.
 
 Performance options, size options, and shipment options will help you to spend your money in the most effective way possible. Capital Coil’s job is to give you the options and information that will allow you to make the best decision in your buying process. Your success is our success, so our goal is to have an on-going, consultative relationship that works for both parties. Call us on your next job, we’d love the chance to earn your business.
 

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Guidelines For Air Velocities

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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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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Differences Between Commercial & Industrial Coils??

The best performance you can get out of commercial coils is with copper tubes/aluminum fins. An extremely important fact to take into account is that when you change the materials of construction to an industrial coil, there’s always a drastic change in the performance. 

The explanation is really quite simple: when we build a stainless steel or 90/10 cupro-nickel coil, the materials don’t match up in terms of heat transfer to copper tubes/aluminum fins. So what does that mean? Using a chilled water coil as an example – you have a (4) row chilled water coil with copper tubes/aluminum fins, and you want to change to stainless steel. You will need to move to an (8) row coil to meet that same performance.                                                                                                                                                                          Commercial Coils

What conditions require these types of materials? The most common is with high pressure applications. Anything above 200 psig requires that you change construction materials from copper tube/aluminum fin to a special material that is able to work better under those conditions. The other instances are when you’re dealing with high temperatures or corrosive atmospheres. 

Capital Coil & Air manufactures and designs a wide assortment of heavy-duty industrial coils to withstand the environment of industrial applications.  Standard and custom designs are available for new and retrofit installations.  Our industrial coils are manufactured from quality materials that are heavier grades and thicknesses.  This ensures dependable performance and longevity, even under the most demanding conditions. While most manufacturers throw out astronomical prices or lead times that can better be explained as “months” rather than weeks, Capital Coil’s lead times are (4-5) weeks for cupro-nickel and (5) weeks for stainless steel.  

Whether it’s for boiler air preheating, pulp and paper drying process, lumber drying process, textile drying process, chemical heating process, Capital Coil & Air provides high quality industrial coils designed for easy maintenance and low operating costs.  With capabilities to build fluid coils for water, glycol, oil, and other liquids as well as refrigerant coils and steam coils for high pressures, we can easily meet all of your industrial coil requirements!

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Boca Raton Hospital Covid-19 Care Condenser Coils

In (3) days, Capital Coil & Air Manufactured and Delivered (4) Large Condenser Coils!!

A large HVAC contractor in South Florida recently contacted Capital Coil & Air with a request to modify an existing system of Carrier 38 Series Microchannel Coils with (4) large condenser coils on an emergency basis. The main goal was to change over from microchannel to standard copper tube/aluminum fin condenser coils. The one expressed requirement for this project was that this change needed to happen very quickly. See below for a summary and timeline of the project:

Condenser Coils
  1. Monday – The contractor reached out to Capital Coil & Air with the required information needed for new condenser coils.
  2. Tuesday – Capital Coil calculated the changeover from microchannel to standard coils for this retrofit. Capital Coil & Air then provided all of the necessary engineering and pricing data for the order. Included were all of the condenser coil drawings, ready for the customer’s approval, as well as all of the needed IOM’s (Installation, Operation & Maintenance Manual) for eventual installation.
  3. Wednesday – By Wednesday morning, the contractor approved the drawings and allowed the project to move forward. Construction on the coils began that afternoon. In less than 1.5 days, this job went from a brief phone discussion into full production!
  4. Friday – The coils were completed, crated and made ready to ship in less than 48 hours after production commenced. Capital Coil then contacted FedEx to ensure that the coils would be picked up that same Friday and overnighted to South Florida for Saturday delivery to the jobsite.
  5. Saturday – The contractor received the condenser coils and installation was completed that same weekend!

In all, the time from the original phone call to installation occurred in less than a week. Capital Coil takes great pride in our response times, as well as our ability to handle projects in emergency situations.

For various reasons, the HVAC industry has always required quick-shipments. Capital Coil’s 99% success rate with quick-shipments over the last 5+ years has us particularly well-suited to handle whatever situations may occur during the Covid-19 emergency. Please do not take any chances with “untested” manufacturers right now, and please consider Capital Coil for all of your quick-ship needs!!

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10 Things To Know About Chilled Water Coils

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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Coil Costs: What Will Make Your HVAC Coils More Expensive?

We get questions all the time about how we build our HVAC coils, and what will add costs and what will not. This post will address the many inaccuracies other “mass production” manufacturers Hot Water Coilshave put out there. It’s very simple. There are only three areas on a coil that will add costs: the casing, the tubing, and the fins. Now we’ll deal with the many inaccuracies that most manufacturers try and “upsell” to you.

  • Connection sizes: There should be no additional cost switching from a 2” MPT connection to a 3” MPT connection. Only on rare cases with a 4” or 5” connection, should you ever see an adder in price.
  • Pitching the casing in a steam coil: All steam coils should be pitched. There is not some mysterious adder you need to pay to have you coil built the right way.
  • Casing depth and dimensions: Whether you want your coil 4” deep or 8“ deep, or want a 2” flange instead of a 1” flange, there should be no cost associated with simply more sheet metal.
  • Distributors on a DX Coil. This is our favorite. We actually had a call from a contractor who asked how much extra it was to get a distributor on his DX Coil. Distributors come standard with DX coils!
  • Flanges for “stackable” coils. This is just standard practice to meet the needs of your customer.

Coil Casing Adders: Most HVAC coils we manufacture are built with 16 ga. galvanized steel casing. We offer 3 other options that are slightly more expensive, but it all depends on your application if any of them are actually needed. Stainless steel casings are used in a corrosive atmosphere and are the most expensive option (even then, it’s only 10-15% more). 14 ga. galvanized steel casings are used primarily in coil banks where you might have between 2-4 coils stacked on one another. This adder for 14 ga. casing is only roughly 2-3% per coil.

Tubing Adders: There are many materials options in tubing and we offer all of them. Whether you need stainless steel, carbon steel, cupro-nickel, or standard copper tubes, we can build exactly what you need. Like any product, the more unusual the material, the more expensive the cost is. For most jobs with just copper tubes, adding a thicker tube wall will add only 10-15% in cost to the job and could double the life of your coil. For just a couple hundred dollars, that coil that would last 10 years could last 20. Some applications, like high pressure steam coils, require a thicker tube wall or more durable material or the life span of that coil will be extremely short. You’d be surprised at how many other manufacturers’ coils we’re asked to rebuild with the correct materials.

Fin Adders: Most coils are offered with aluminum fins with a thickness of .006”. The adders to go up in fin thickness are not much, but always remember, the thicker the fin, the more air pressure drop it’s going to add to your coil. The most costly adder you can do to a coil is adding copper fins. It will double the cost of your coil, and in some cases, be 2.5 to 3 times more expensive. This wasn’t the case 20 years ago, but the price of copper has risen over the last few years. We usually recommend coating your coils instead. It’s far more economical and only adds a week to the lead time.

Capital Coil & Air understands that people do business with you like and who you trust. Coil manufacturers should be an open book with this information. Unfortunately, most try and prey on what you don’t know. Hopefully, this helps with any confusion. Capital Coil & Air looks forward to working with you!

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