A Summerville water-heater manufacturer hit with a large legal judgment filed for bankruptcy protection today in Columbia.

Eccotemp Systems LLC identified the $757,000 jury award as its only debt.

An Upstate plumbing company, Amo, sued after it installed 75 Eccotemp tankless heating units in new homes in Richland and Lexington counties.

Eric Bland, a Columbia attorney representing Amo, said that around 2008 the heaters began failing once the outside temperatures dropped. About 70 percent of the units froze, causing pipes to burst in some of the homes, he said.

A Dorchester County jury sided with Amo on March 1.

Mike Elrod, the founder and owner of Eccotemp, told The Post and Courier earlier this month that he didn’t think his company was at fault. Elrod did not respond to telephone and email messages left at Eccotemp today.

The filing essentially freezes all efforts by creditors to collect money from the company. The case is classified as a reorganization, not a liquidation. Day-to-day operations typically are often not affected in those type of business bankruptcies.

Bland also said he will ask that Eccotemp’s filing be dismissed.

See Saturday’s editions of The Post and Courier for more details.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.