When the coils in an HVAC unit need replacement, many think they must use the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to obtain the correct part. While this may have been true in the early years of coil production, it is no longer the case in today’s market.
The belief that only OEMs can make a replacement coil that will fit and function in a unit is an enduring misunderstanding in the coil industry. In point of fact, any coil manufacturer that knows the required specifications can create a coil compatible with the original heating or cooling unit. Many companies are ready and willing to provide replacement parts for units they did not originally produce. These replacements will work well and cost less.
Let’s Look at the Big Misconception
We can examine the misconception by using an analogy with which most people are familiar. Let’s say your car is aging and its brake pads are wearing down. If you own a Chevrolet, you can buy new replacement pads from an AutoZone rather than purchasing them from the Chevy dealership. The AutoZone brake pads will cost less, fit your car, and work just as well as those purchased from the dealership. The same is true for replacement coils.
Many consumers, from large manufacturers and corporations to small business owners and homeowners, use heating and cooling units that run on a system of coils. From industrial cooling systems to residential basement units, coils are used for controlling temperature by heat transfer.
Coils that are damaged or deteriorated must be replaced for a system to run optimally. Consumers tend to either replace the entire unit or turn to the OEM for a replacement coil. This makes some sense, because the company that provided the unit’s original part should be able to adequately replace it. In addition, the documentation that comes with the unit often directs the buyer straight back to the OEM, or the unit is tagged with the OEM’s information. This further perpetuates the misconception that replacement parts must be ordered from the OEM to function properly.
But that is not the case – heating and cooling coils do not need to be replaced by the OEM with the existing unit. Purchasing replacement coils only from the OEM unnecessarily limits the buyer in terms of price, availability and quality.
"Ordering from an outside source rather than the OEM allows the customer to shop around for increased flexibility and ease of ordering"
In the past it may have been difficult or impossible to find a manufacturer capable of or willing to make a replacement coil for an unknown unit. Today, however, many coil manufacturers exist to provide competitive sale options. In addition, the Internet has set the stage for advertisement and sale of coils across the nation. Just like buying new parts for a car, there are coil manufacturers capable of producing a replacement coil that is compatible with a unit from another company.
Tools for Obtaining the Right Replacement Coils
A variety of tools help customers obtain replacement coils without returning to the OEM. For example, RAE Coils uses its Total Package2coil selection software (TP2) to allow customers to choose the coil length, connection type and location, sheet metal type, mounting holes, and casing and flanges surrounding the coil. Coils are available in flat, waffle, and sine-shaped designs. With these specifics laid out, it is not necessary to rely on the OEM to provide a perfect fit.
Ordering from an outside source rather than the OEM allows the customer to shop around for increased flexibility and ease of ordering. For example, RAE offers paperless order placement to simplify and streamline the ordering process. Also available is a “quick dates” program, which allows the customer to choose any delivery date, rather than pick from a predetermined list of shipping options. The program allows buyers to track order processing and shipping data, allowing them to monitor every aspect of their order.
A New Way to Replace
Once consumers know they do not have to go back to the OEM to replace a failed coil, they are free to browse for the best balance of quality, availability and price. Now that coil manufacturers can reach customers all over the country through the web, it is easy to find someone to replace a single part without going to the original source. The replacement industry is changing, and with the precision and customization possible with today’s manufacturing techniques anyone can get the replacement coils they need without having to resort to calling their OEM.