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One of the biggest, most persistent, questions we get is “Why do water, steam, and refrigerant coils fail?”. Even though coils are meant to last 10 to 15 years, that’s only possible when units are maintained regularly.

As you can probably guess, not everyone keeps up with cleaning. So, we’re seeing the lifespan of coils getting shorter, while the list of grievances is getting longer.

Importance of Coils

Why do coils matter so much? Essentially, they are the workhorses of your HVAC system.

In air conditioning systems, for example, evaporator and condenser coils are the parts of the unit that actually create cool air. When they fail, you’ll definitely start to feel the heat.

So, even if you are going through regular maintenance, it’s important to identify the potential causes of failure before they happen.

Main Causes of Coil Failure

Cause #1: Coil Plugging.

  • If you fail to clean your coils regularly, then they are likely to build up dirt and other deposits. That leads to coil plugging. Plugging significantly impacts heat transfer, increases air pressure drops, and forces the unit to work harder overall.

Cause #2: Vibration.

  • A little bit of shaking can have a big impact on coils. If coils are installed near vibrating objects, like a fan for example, leaks can develop. The cause of this is tube sheets that dislodge from their intended positions, eventually cutting through tubes.

Cause #3: Corrosion.

  • Operating near the beach? The salt air might be good for the constitution, but it’s terrible for coils. That’s because corrosive environments negatively impact coil performance. it’s not just external environments, either. The internal environment of the coil can be just as corrosive. To combat this, consider using more resilient materials like stainless steel or cupro-nickel, along with coatings.

Cause #4: The Cold.

  • Changes in temperature, especially those below zero, can actually cause coils to burst. This is very common and happens when the coil is not drained properly and ice begins to build up inside. That increases the pressure on the coils, especially along bends.

Cause #5: System Design.

  • Maybe failed coils aren’t your fault at all. Sometimes, the actual design of the coils is the problem. If you keep replacing poorly designed coils with the exact same ones, then you’ll encounter the exact same problems.

For the very unfortunate, the cause of your coil failure might be a combination of all these factors.

Units operating in environments with extreme temperature fluctuations, or intense natural elements, need that extra bit of attention.

To be clear, coil failure is an inevitability. Your goal is to ensure the lifespan of your coils is as long as possible.

 Are your coils failing? Give us a call today.