PTAC with a Problem


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Old 11-29-15, 01:49 PM
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PTAC with a Problem

I am a NYC apartment-dweller with a heating problem concerning my old Trane PTAC.

Before I describe the problem, let me say that I really like this unit. Yes, it is very old but the A/C works perfectly and – this is key – it’s whisper quiet. A new R-410A unit in a different room runs very loudly; I can’t stand the noise. Keeping this Trane going would be my preference.

Problem: my Trane PTAC’s hydronic coil developed a split in the u-bend of the copper tubing. The coil, fed by my apartment building’s low-pressure steam, sits atop the PTAC, which blows air through it. It is the only source of heat for that room.

The coil is a very simple affair: approx. 5” across x 24” wide. It is only as thick as the one layer of 3/8” copper tubing (plus fins) that makes two loops then exits on the same end that it enters. I am told that Trane does not offer a replacement coil because the unit is so old. [See photo below]

I am hopeful that some of this forum’s members might be able to give me some clever options beside the ones I know of: (1) Buy a new PTAC unit [expensive and noisy] or (2) have a new coil custom fabricated [I got one quote: very expensive].

For example:
  • since the coil just sits on top of the PTAC (which itself sits within a spacious wooden enclosure), couldn’t I use virtually any size coil that was at least the size of my original, even if it extended far beyond the original space? If so, there seem to be quite a few economical options readily available.
  • is there a simple & reliable way to repair the split in the copper u-bend?
  • other ideas??

Many thanks in advance!
 
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Old 11-29-15, 03:07 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

One of us could obtain a replacement coil and change it.
"is there a simple & reliable way to repair the split in the copper u-bend?" Sure... it's only copper.

What are your plans..... hire someone ?
Do you have the ability to cut, solder and repair the coil ?
 
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Old 11-30-15, 10:19 AM
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Thanks for the welcome.

No, I don't have the ability to do the repair, so my interest is to find someone who can do so. If someone on the forum can help in that regard -- or direct me to someone who could -- great!
 
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Old 11-30-15, 10:25 AM
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Does the apartment complex have a house plumber ? That would be one place to start.
 
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Old 11-30-15, 05:18 PM
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There is no in-house plumber but the building has a plumbing service that provides support to the building. They are the ones who gave me a quote for a customer-fabricated coil.
 
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Old 11-30-15, 06:35 PM
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Several coil companies. The second one might have exactly what you need. The pic looks good.
If you try one of the other companies.... send them the picture you posted here as an aid.


This company makes custom sized coils....
Hot Water Coils

If you look down the page you'll see a coil almost identical to yours. I can't find a size listed anywhere on their site. They're in NY. You can contact them for a size.
PTAC Accessories - Ice Air

Another custom coil company...
Steam Coil, Replacement Steam Coils | Nationwide Coils
 
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Old 12-01-15, 03:20 AM
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If it is a split in a copper u-bend it can be repaired.
A clear macro pic of the damage would help.

My workplace is suffering from a badly installed upgrade to its DDC digital building controls which is giving me several frozen and broken coils to repair.
The split portion needs a high temperature braze that a competent refrigeration mechanic should be able to do and may be less expensive than replacing the coil.
Sil-Fos is one brazing rod that is common in HVAC that works well on copper.

Are you sure that the only damaged area is the u-bend and are you having condensate pool and freeze the coil?
 
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Old 12-03-15, 05:52 AM
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You folks are great! With your assistance, I was able to find a new coil that is a close (not exact) replacement to the original...and at a reasonable price. Thank you for the excellent leads.

Now, on to the next part of the process: finding someone who is reasonably priced and capable (...and insured, because our building requires it...) to make the installation. Because the connections are located in a different place on the coil (both still on the left side, but located differently) it will require a bit of re-routing of the tubing.

Other than blindly calling an HVAC company for this work, do any of you have particular suggestions for someone who could do this work in Manhattan?

Again, my thanks for the help that you all have provided so far. Excellent.
 
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Old 12-03-15, 07:33 AM
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What about the building plumbers ?
Are you required to use a specific company or can you choose your own ?

I couldn't really offer any help towards selecting a company in the city.
 
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Old 12-04-15, 04:55 AM
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The building has an outside plumbing service -- who I can use -- but they are quite expensive. I am able to use anyone I wish.

I know it's a very specific question, but if any of this forum's members can vouch for a good plumber (or HVAC pro) in the NY metropolitan area, I would appreciate referral.

Many thanks!
 
 

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