It’s been a cold winter. Have you checked your coils for freeze damage?

April 6, 2023

With much of the country experiencing severe cold temperatures this winter, freeze-damaged coils have been a common problem. No matter how well built a coil may be, when water freezes inside the copper tubes, the ice can expand until the tubes burst.

Ruptured tubes will obviously leak, but small leaks can often go unnoticed – sometimes building up and resulting in severe water damage. So it’s important to routinely inspect your coils, especially after they have been exposed to extreme cold temperatures.

Heating coils present the biggest risk

Because they are full of water while in service in the winter, heating coils are at the biggest risk or freezing, and have the greatest potential consequences. If you rely on hot water coils or standard straight-through steam path coils to heat your building, freezing can cause major issues. Even small leaks can eventually lead to water damage. Plus, leaks will cause a loss of pressure that can severely impact both performance and efficiency of your system. And a major leak will completely take the coil out of service.             

Don’t neglect your cooling coils either

While they may be out of sight and out of mind in the winter, cooling coils can present freeze issues too. This occurs when coils are not properly drained after cooling season. Water left inside can freeze and lead to burst tubes. In climates that don’t typically fall below freezing, the simple but important maintenance step of draining coils is sometimes overlooked – resulting in damage that might not be discovered until that first hot day in the spring when you need your cooling coils to do their job.

How to minimize freeze damage

You can’t control the weather, but you can control how you respond to it. If your coils are exposed to extreme cold, don’t wait to check them for damage. The most obvious sign is leaking in or around the coils or air handling unit. So simply performing regular visual inspections can usually identify problems. Of course, if you have very good drainage, water won’t build up and be easy to see. In that case, you’ll need to look closely.

If you discover a leaking coil, it’s time to contact your Marlo representative to order a replacement (you can find your rep here). Because we custom design and build everything we manufacture, you’ll always get an exact replacement – or an upgrade if that’s what best meets your needs.

5 things you can do to avoid and/or cope with coil freeze damage:

  1. Choose Marlo Distributing Steam coils for your heating needs. Ideal for colder climates, their unique design means they are virtually freeze-proof. Learn more about steam coils.
  2. Always drain all water out of coils that are not in use. No water in the tubes means nothing to freeze and no chance for problems.
  3. Inspect your coils after cold temperatures to find any leaks early. Avoid water damage and other bad surprises.
  4. When you do need to replace damaged coils, rely on Marlo! You’ll always get quality design, quality materials and quality workmanship – and our industry-leading 3-year coil warranty.
  5. Need coils fast? We’ve got you covered with QuickShip! We can typically build and ship replacement coils in as little as 5 days. Contact your Marlo representative for details.

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