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From the Mahans Thermal Products team.

Hexavalent Chromium: A Groundwater Contamination Dilemma

In a modern, industrialized first-world country, the simple act of turning on a faucet and filling a glass, a pitcher, or a pot with water isn’t an action that typically comes with a lot of analysis.  For most, it’s like a second-nature process: You need water, you get water, and you move on.  However, all across America – as with many other first-world nations – water contamination is becoming an increasingly problematic issue.  Ever heard of hexavalent chromium?  Well, there’s a good chance that you’re at least familiar with the film, Erin Brockovich, which catapulted it into mainstream awareness.  Whereas the movie is a Hollywood depiction of a single contamination that took place in Hinkley, California, contamination of groundwater with hexavalent chromium is something that’s become more of a news staple, rather than a box office dramatization.

What’s the Issue Here?

The big question surrounding this issue is, of course, why is this a serious problem?  What’s up with hexavalent chromium?  For starters, it’s extremely toxic.  When inhaled – something most likely to happen in the case of industrial workers – it can inevitably lead to lung cancer and other respiratory ailments.  When it reaches groundwater sources and is subsequently ingested, it can lead to a variety of cancers – most commonly stomach and gastrointestinal cancers – as well as ulcers, kidney and liver failure, and more.  Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of hexavalent chromium, putting them at much higher risk for developing any of these medical conditions due to exposure to the toxin.

Key Contaminators:

So now you’re probably wondering, who’s even using this stuff in the first place?  Well, plenty of industrial plants, for one.  Hexavalent chromium is commonly used as an anti-corrosion agent, usually in industrial cooling systems.  Industrial and manufacturing facilities often rely on a heat exchanger system or cooling towers that circulate water through a system of pipes in order to draw heat away from machinery and equipment.  The water alone can lead to corrosion over time, especially if it happens to be slightly more acidic, but various chemicals are often added to the water in order to enhance the cooling process or to help break down mineral and bacterial buildups in the system, something that can also add to the corrosive property of the water.  The hexavalent chromium is therefore added in order to undermine any corrosive properties found in the water.

Other industrial practices create or use chromium due to completely different processes.  It’s a common feature in various leather tanning enterprises, as well as welding industries, textiles (dyes), and wood preservation.  Whether as an additive or as a by-product, hexavalent chromium pops up in all of these industries and, if not handled properly, can easily find its water in groundwater supplies.  This is precisely why it’s important for heat exchanger systems to be regularly cleaned and repaired, and for professionals to be consulted in order to find other options besides hexavalent chromium that can help combat corrosion.

Contamination and Clean Up:

Hinkley, California, isn’t the only city in America where hexavalent chromium has been found in drinking water.  At least 31 cities across the country have been shown to contain the toxic chemical, but the EPA hasn’t taken action because the levels are well below their maximum limit of 100 ppb (parts per billion).  The issue with that cutoff number is that it measures total chromium content, which includes other chromium chemicals that aren’t a health risk to people.  California has seen the most research and experimentation done regarding hexavalent chromium, with scientists deciding that anywhere from .02 ppb to .07 ppb would be the maximum acceptable values for human consumption.

Groundwater contamination continues to be a problem across the country, with plumes of the chemical spreading throughout aquifers, and therefore polluting more and more drinking water.  Various sites in California have popped up, as well as in New Mexico, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois, among others.  Groundwater contamination is extremely hard to combat though, as once chemicals and toxins enter an aquifer it’s difficult to stop them from flowing through it.  Clean up processes include pumping up groundwater and treating it in order to remove the toxins, or added non-harmful substances to the groundwater meant to interact with the toxins and cause them to break down into non-harmful elements.

A major stumbling block, however, are the limits being set for how much hexavalent chromium is allowed in drinking water? With the EPA yet to set a clear mandate specifically regarding hexavalent chromium, it’s likely that carcinogenic levels of the toxic chemical will remain in the drinking water of many communities.  Reliable supplies of freshwater are crucial for both residential and agricultural use, and, unless further change can be enacted regarding the safety of groundwater, we’re likely to see further problems down the road.

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Industrial Pollution: Health Risks and Control Methods

Whether through greater awareness or simply an increase in occurrence, it seems as if industrial pollution has become a very common thread of concern in our modern world.  As more countries continue to industrialize, it’s likely to become an even larger, more talked about issue than it already is—that is, unless more can be done now to reduce the likelihood of future issues and to reduce the impact of the ones that do occur.  One of the biggest steps in getting people talking about pollution and helping them understand what’s at risk is to discuss not only the ecological impact it has on the world around us, but to bring to the forefront of people’s minds the fact that human health is just as much at risk here.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the causes of industrial pollution and the subsequent health effects that stem from them.

The Hazards of Pollution:

There are several types of pollution, but the most common are air and water pollution.  These types of pollution are both common occurrences and common topics of environmental discourse.  This is because industrial activity more often than not creates pollutants that typically find it easier to enter either our atmosphere or our waterways/groundwater.  The activities of many industrial plants often create airborne particulates that are easily carried to residential areas where they lead to serious health concerns.  Scrap metal industries are one such type of industrial activity that often leads to such airborne particulates circulating through areas populated with humans.  Such particulates often contain very harmful components, such as lead, mercury, and other heavy metals.  These particles can lead to a variety of respiratory problems, as well as various forms of cancer and neurological ailments.

Water pollution is also extremely problematic because, as with air pollution, it’s very easy for particulates and chemicals to be dispersed to wider areas.  Pollutants enter waterways and can travel for miles, ultimately affecting an area many times the size of contamination sites where pollutants are contained to a certain area of soil, for example.  Water pollution particularly poses a series of challenges because so many plants and animals living in marine environments easily absorb toxins, chemicals, and heavy metals, often concentrating these deadly components and then passing them up the food chain.  Such pollutants also make their way to our own drinking water, either by entering reservoirs or trickling down into our groundwater.

Apart from these two main types of pollution, other forms include soil pollution and noise pollution, as well as toxic waste.  Noise pollution tends to be less talked about, but it’s just as important of an issue as other forms of pollution.  Whether referring to high levels of sound that workers or nearby residents encounter from an industrial plant, or to extremely busy transportation routes, constant exposure to high decibels can easily lead to hearing loss.

Methods of Control:

While we as humans seem to be rather macabrely talented at creating pollution, many are also rather creative and proactive about controlling or preventing it.  There are a variety of ways in which air pollutants are controlled, whether these pollutants are a type of gas or some sort of particulate.  The most common form of control involves different types of scrubbers, which act as filtration systems that absorb and trap harmful gases and particulates.  Organic gases can also be combusted in order to break them down into less harmful elements.  When it comes to prevention, one of the best methods is centered on the constant development of new industrial equipment and technology.  Regular maintenance and repair of various industrial systems is also key to ensuring that everything runs as efficiently as possible, as this helps to ensure that the potential for pollution to escape is kept at a minimum.

Preventing and controlling water pollution has a long history, one that’s brought us several effective methods for combating various water pollutants.  Water treatment plants are essential for filtering and cleaning sewage and runoff before it’s allowed to return to natural waterways.  This ensures that marine ecosystems are kept safe and that human health risks are avoided.  Management of pollutants by industrial facilities is extremely important, as this is the first line of defense in keeping them out of waterways to begin with.  Organic material is best dealt with by having it sent to facilities for combustion or conversion, as high levels of organic matter in waterways often lead to algal blooms that in turn kill off marine life.  The important thing to keep in mind, though, is that methods of prevention and control only work if people take notice and actually implement them.

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Is Your Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchanger Being Inspected Properly?

Heat exchangers can wear out in a relatively short amount of time if they are not subjected to proper inspection and maintenance. This is particularly true for shell-and-tube heat exchangers that require a considerable amount of attention from the professionals who are left in charge of taking care of the device.

One of the biggest problems that owners of heat exchangers face is that they are often left clueless as to whether a good job is being done by the technicians who are servicing the heat exchangers. This confusion mainly arises from a lack of knowledge about the specific procedures that should be followed when carrying out the inspection and maintenance of shell-and-tube heat exchangers.

You may not want to carry out the inspection or the servicing of your shell-and-tube heat exchanger for a variety of reasons, but that should not stop you from knowing what it takes to get these crucial tasks done properly. The following are a few things that you should pay attention to when technicians are dealing with your heat exchanger.

1) Signs of Erosion or Corrosion

This is one of the first things that the technicians should be doing when inspecting your shell-and-tube heat exchanger. Make sure that the technician checks for corroded regions on the face of the tube plates. Corrosion can also take place on the periphery of the tube plates. If the corrosion is too bad, then ask the technicians to replace the tube stack.

2) Fouling on the Device

Technicians should check for fouling across the face of the tube plate, as well as in the bore of the tubes. Upon finding any evidence for fouling, the technicians must promptly remove the fouling from the device. Much like corrosion, fouling, too, can take place on the periphery of the tube plate. Instruct the technicians to be extra careful when removing fouling from this region, since the peripheral face forms the sealing face.

3) Condition of the Baffles

The baffles of your shell-and-tube heat exchanger can become bent very quickly if the device is heavily used. The technicians who are employed to service the heat exchanger should have the ability and the tools to carefully straighten the baffles. Inability to do so will lead to a costly replacement of the entire stack.

4) Rusting on the Bore of the Shell

The shell or the housing of the shell-and-tube heat exchanger can be vulnerable to rusting or corrosion. This usually occurs when the condition of the shell side fluid is poor. Get the technicians to replace the fluid or condition it as per need.

5) Unclean O-Ring Sealing Chamfer

This part of the shell-and-tube exchanger does not usually get damaged too soon, but it does tend to become unclean. Lazy technicians choose not to pay any attention to the O-ring sealing chamfer (a symmetrical sloping surface at an edge or corner). The onus is on you to get them to clean this part of the heat exchanger carefully. After all, you are paying them to keep your device neat and tidy.

Allowing the technicians to inspect and service your shell-and-tube heat exchanger in whatever way they want marks irresponsibility and carelessness on your part as the owner. Keep an eye out for the abovementioned inspection procedures, and you will not be left in the dark about your heat exchanger malfunctioning.

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5 Selection Criteria for Heat Exchangers

A heat exchanger is one of the most in-demand devices in the world. It is a highly versatile device that has become an indispensable commodity in a plethora of industries around the globe. You can find heat exchangers in refrigerators, in cars, and even in chemical plants. That just goes to show you the immense significance of heat exchangers in the global economy today.

Heat exchanger brands attract a variety of customers. This is because the application of heat exchangers and the types in which they are available vary to a great extent. The heat exchanger which is used in a car can certainly never be used to run a chemical plant. This is why it is very important to understand the basic selection criteria for heat exchangers.

To make sure that you are not left in a state of confusion when shopping for heat exchangers, here is a list of 5 things that you need to take into account before pulling out your wallet:

1) Application

The first criterion that you need to consider is the specific application for which you will be using the heat exchanger. Your selection of the product will depend entirely on the purpose for which you need it. Think about how the heat exchanger needs to perform in order to fulfill your goals and expectations for the application. Do you need it for condensing, or do you need it for boiling? Do you need the heat exchanger to simply salvage heat, or do you need it for air-conditioning? These are a couple of examples of basic questions that you need to ask yourself before making your final choice.

2) Build Material

The build and the design of the heat exchanger must be taken into account before proceeding with the purchase. A lot of times, heat exchangers are installed in environments where they are exposed to extreme temperatures. This can put the unit at risk of suffering from thermal stress.

3) Available Space

You will be surprised to know how many people end up buying heat exchangers that are oversized. Before you even start looking for heat exchangers, you need to take exact measurements of the available space where you wish to install the heat exchanger. Do not try to look for the perfect fit. It is always preferable to buy smaller sized heat exchangers that leave a little bit of space, just in case there is a need to utilize that space later on.

4) Cleaning and Maintenance Routine

The amount of cleaning or maintenance required is the not the same for every type of heat exchanger out there. Some need heavy cleaning and maintenance, while others can have their functionality hampered due to regular cleaning.

5) Cost

You would think that it is quite silly for you to be reminded about keeping the cost of the product in mind. However, the reason why cost is such an important criterion in buying heat exchangers is because many people simply consider the cost of the heat exchanger and turn a blind eye to all the follow up costs. Other expenses such as the installation cost, the operational cost, and the maintenance cost are ignored, which leads to a budget constraint.

As long as your selection of the heat exchange is based on these abovementioned criteria, you are more than likely to end with a good investment.

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3 Warning Signs of Your Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchanger Malfunctioning

Although heat exchangers are one of the most essential devices in the modern global economy, engineering technology has not yet advanced to the level where heat exchangers can be made to last a lifetime. With proper care and maintenance, you can drastically increase the durability of your heat exchanger. That being said, all heat exchangers will inevitably undergo problems and failures throughout their lifespans.

It is therefore very important for the owners of heat exchangers to understand the warning signs that tell them that their device is failing in operation. The following are three symptoms of shell-and-tube heat exchanger failure that should compel you to call a technician for immediate repair work.

1) Oil and Water Mixing

If the oil and water are getting mixed together in the shell-and-tube heat exchanger, then this could be a sign of O-Ring failure. The O-Ring usually malfunctions when it is exposed to extremes in temperature or pressure. Oil and water mixing can also be a result of a split tube in the heat exchanger. The solution to this problem is not complicated at all. Usually, it takes a seal kit to get the repair work done. To avoid the problem in the first place, simply follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how much pressure and temperature the heat exchanger should be exposed to.

2) Tube Plate Erosion

If you can detect erosion on the tube plate during inspection, then this is a clear indication of the fact that the water velocity is a little too high. The solution to this problem can be simple or complicated, depending upon how much damage has been done to the tube plates. In the case of excessive corrosion, you are advised to replace the existing tubes with new ones that are made with a higher grade material, such as titanium. The problem itself can be prevented very easily. All you have to do is make sure that you are aware of the flow rate that is being used in the oil cooler of the heat exchanger.

3) Header Split

When the header splits, you can narrow down the cause of the problem to frozen water expanding inside the heat exchanger or the oil cooler. To get this problem fixed, you will require a new header kit as well as a new seal kit. When the colder days of winter set in, you can drain the water system from the oil cooler if it is not being used. This will prevent the ice expansion and the subsequent split in the header.

As soon as you detect any one of the abovementioned warning signs, you should immediately contact technicians to get the repair work underway without any delay. The longer you ignore these signs, the more the problems with your shell-and-tube heat exchanger will be aggravated.

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3 Tips to Make Your Heat Exchanger Last Longer

One of the main criteria that people focus on when shopping for a heat exchanger is the durability of the device. Heat exchangers are one of the most heavily used devices in the world, and therefore the durability of this product is of immense importance to consumers. If you end up buying a heat exchanger that has a short lifespan, you will have to repeatedly spend money on buying a new heat exchanger after every few years or so. This can spell a financial disaster for you or your business in the long run.

You do not have to go on a spending spree and buy the most expensive heat exchanger to avail yourself of a product with incredible durability. Sometimes all you need to do is take a little bit of initiative to make sure that your precious heat exchanger is in top notch condition. The following are three simple things that you can do to make sure that your heat exchanger does not get thrown away and replaced anytime soon:

1) Check for Correct Fittings and Pipe Work

The way you install the heat exchanger can have a huge influence on how the device will perform in the future. Whenever any heat exchanger is being installed, it is of the essence to make sure that the correct fittings and pipe work are being used. If you are unsure about this, simply consult with the manufacturing company of your heat exchanger. They will provide you with all the details on how you can successfully install the heat exchanger.

Faulty installation will cause the heat exchanger to suffer from problems and sustain damages from the onset. These problems will build up rapidly over time and compromise the durability of the heat exchanger.

2) Provide Accurate Design Data

There are certain manufacturers or distributors who allow their customers to send in specific data that helps them make the heat exchanger selection much simpler. Whenever you are providing this data as a customer, you have to make sure that the information is completely accurate. The slightest bit of inaccurate details can cause severe problems later on. Providing accurate data ensures that your heat exchanger is thermally efficient. A heat exchanger that is thermally efficient is bound to be durable for a comparatively longer period of time. Always consult with the manufacturing company in order to check whether its product is in line with your requirements.

3) Facilitate Regular Maintenance

Your best bet on improving the durability of the heat exchanger lies in regular maintenance and servicing. This is the only way to detect major and minor problems with the heat exchanger, and solve them in time, before the heat exchanger malfunctions completely. Besides regular inspection and repair work, you should also hire people to consistently clean your heat exchanger.

If you religiously follow these three guidelines, the longevity of your heat exchanger will be extended significantly. In other words, you will not be required to pay for a new heat exchanger on multiple occasions.

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3 Simple Ways to Increase the Efficiency of Heat Exchangers

The performance of a heat exchanger is evaluated on the basis of its efficiency. The more efficient a heat exchanger is, the more value it offers consumers. The efficiency of heat exchangers may not worry you much if the only heat exchangers you are exposed to are the ones in your home air conditioner and refrigerator. However, if you are using an automobile or if you are in charge of running a factory, then the efficiency of your heat exchangers can have serious financial implications.

You will be genuinely surprised to know the amount of savings that can be made simply by increasing the efficiency of a heat exchanger by a minimal percentage. In the current global economic atmosphere, cutting costs even by the smallest percentage can make a massive difference at the end of the month or the year.

Most buyers take the word of the manufacturer on how efficacious a particular heat exchanger will be. Although it is always preferable to have a certain degree of trust in the manufacturer, there is no denying the fact that the efficiency of heat exchangers can be increased with a little bit of effort and perseverance on the part of the consumer. Here are three very simple ways for how you can get the most out of your heat exchanger:

1) Follow Installation Guidelines

Increasing the efficiency of the heat exchanger begins with getting the installation of the device absolutely spot on. If you have bought the heat exchanger from a reputable manufacturer, you are sure to have received a set of installation guidelines from the makers of the device. These guidelines should not be overlooked under any circumstances. Failure to follow the guidelines will not only compromise the efficiency of the heat exchanger, but may also hamper the basic operation of the device.

More often than not, the most efficient way of installing the heat exchanger is by keeping the fluids flowing in a counter-current arrangement. When it comes to air cooled heat exchangers, make sure that no part of the core is blocked. The slightest of obstructions will compromise the cooling capacity.

2) Changing the Flow Rate

Whenever technicians come in for routine inspection and repair work, you can ask them to check if the flow of the fluids in both the primary and the secondary side of the heat exchanger has the correct velocity. Increase flow rates enhance the capacity of the heat exchanger to transfer heat. That being said, you are advised to not excessively increase the velocity, as it adds on to the mass and makes it more difficult for the energy to be removed.

3) Removing Corrosion

If there is any corrosion on any region of the heat exchanger, then it should be removed immediately if you do not want the device to become inefficient. Sometimes the corrosion becomes so bad that you need to have the tube plates replaced. Make sure your technicians carry out all the necessary removals and replacements for the sake of a smoother operating heat exchanger.

A perfectly installed and well maintained heat exchanger is bound to remain efficient for extended periods of time. Put in the required effort to keep it running smoothly, and you will soon be rewarded with financial savings.

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Why You Need to Have Company Heat Exchangers Cleaned

Heating equipment is expensive and prone to failure if it isn’t taken care of properly. Most systems have a great deal of water or air running through them and are prone to contamination that has to be wiped away. That’s why many have filters that they rely on, but filters only work well when they are changed regularly. No other part of a heating system is more integral, or more prone to contamination than the heat exchanger. Do yourself a favor and make sure that it’s cared for properly each and every year.

The Heat Exchanger Is Vital

A heat exchanger helps the heat from your system get from the furnace portion to the transportation section. That means, without a good heat exchanger, all that heat that’s being produced will simply sit there, and you’ll experience a range of problems. If you make an investment to keep the exchanger clean, you’ll enjoy more efficient operation and a worry-free system that runs well for years.

Loss of Power and Performance

As a heat exchanger becomes dirty and worn out, it won’t work as good as it used to. This results in the loss of horsepower in your system overall and a loss in your ability to heat the office. Initially you’ll just have a system that is working harder, but eventually you won’t even be able to keep the office at the temperature that you want anymore. That’s the main reason you need to keep the exchanger cleaned regularly. It will help keep your system running efficiently and avoid running it more than it needs to be operated.

If the exchanger is left dirty, you’ll expend more energy than is necessary and run your equipment at hotter levels than you should. Not only does this wear down your other equipment, but it costs the company more money than it should be spending up front. By getting a dirty exchanger cleaned, you’ll save money on heating costs right away, and you’ll save even more in prevented problems down the road.

Preserve Your Investment

Keeping expensive heat exchangers cleaned at your workplace will help extend their lifespan and ensure that you get the most out of your initial investment. If heat exchangers aren’t cleaned regularly, you may suffer from unplanned repairs and other more expensive maintenance tasks that have to be completed. Keeping them in clean working order will reduce the number of other repairs that have to be made.

Cut Downtime Issues

There’s nothing worse than downtime in the workplace. If your company is out because of a broken heat exchanger, you’re losing money in lost profit potential each and every hour that work isn’t being performed. This can put your company behind schedule and cost you a lot of money. You’ll suffer from less downtime with well-maintained heat exchangers that don’t need emergency repairs.

Notice Minor Problems Early

When you pay to have your heat exchangers cleaned on an annual basis, you’ll also receive the benefit of having an expert look at your system. The expert will likely spot any minor problems that can turn into major problems if left unanswered. Once an issue is spotted, you can pay to have it repaired and save money by keeping it from becoming worse over time. Treating an issue at once keeps costs down and helps you cut out problems before they transform into something serious.

Finding a Skilled Company to Clean

Now that you understand why it’s so important to have your heat exchanger cleaned on a regular basis, take a moment to learn why you need to be picky when choosing the company to do the cleaning. Some businesses are trained and have all the equipment needed to do the job right. Other companies don’t know what they are doing, but are still happy to take your money.

When you deal with a talented company, you’ll get a detailed cleaning that makes your equipment run better. Not only will the job be performed properly, but you’ll also get a basic checkup to your system that lets you know about any possible future problems you have to worry about. This helps you figure out how to keep your system running properly and can help you avoid downtime in the cooler months when you can’t afford to go without heat.

Make sure that you pick out a talented company to help you clean and evaluate your system effectively. The service should provide you with all the help you need to keep your heating system going strong and will help save you money over time through their expert help. Make an initial investment in your heating equipment, and you’ll save a great deal over time.

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Understanding How to Replace an Aging Heat Exchanger

When it comes time to replace an aging heat exchanger in your heating or cooling system, it’s important to know how to pick the right size and type of exchanger for your needs specifically. If you get an exchanger that is too large, too small, or the wrong type for your needs, it isn’t going to work as well as it could. On top of different sizes there are also different types of units. While you can often choose between more than one type for the same purpose, you should understand that there are major differences and benefits and downfalls between each of those types. After you understand the differences, you can make the right choice based on your needs.

Shell and Tube

Shell and Tube heat exchangers are widely popular in a range of commercial industries because they are simple, they are rugged, and they offer the widest range of allowable operating conditions. These units are the jack-of-all trades, and they’re relatively good at what they do. Unfortunately, as rugged and reliable as these exchangers are, they tend to be relatively inefficient compared to other options. This means that you’ll have to purchase a bigger system, and you’ll likely waste more energy operating the unit. If your heating and cooling needs fluctuate widely, and the system will be dealing with a variety of conditions, a shell and tube exchanger might be the right option for you.

Compact Exchangers

Compact heat exchangers are normally plate type exchangers that are smaller in size and normally more affordable. These exchangers offer improved heat transfer efficiency over shell and tube models, but they are easier to break, need more regular maintenance, and operate well under more specific circumstances. If you know the exact conditions you’re going to be using the exchanger in, and those conditions aren’t going to change, you can save some money in the initial purchase and in operating costs with this exchanger, but it will require more maintenance.

Air Cooled Exchangers

Finally there are air-cooled heat exchangers. These systems aren’t the first choice for most companies, but they can be very valuable when used in the right conditions. They are ideal when cooling high temperature process streams that are up over 80 degrees Celsius. At these temperatures it’s dangerous to rely on water as your cooling medium, and air is an effective alternative. These exchangers also work very well when water isn’t readily available, but you still need a good reliable cooling source. They are relatively expensive to purchase and they take up more space than the other exchangers, but you will save some money on maintenance and operating costs over time. They are more affordable than water systems are, over the long-term.

Reduce Your Power Expenses

When you have the right heat exchanger for your specific need, you can make sure that you get the most out of your heating or cooling system. Imagine that you’re running your system at full capacity, and the furnace is generating a huge amount of heat. Now imagine that only half of that heat is being sent where it needs to go, and the rest of the heat is left at the furnace to build up and transfer through the surrounding components of the system. Not only would this allow the furnace components to get hotter than they are supposed to, but it would waste a huge amount of heat over time. If you have an exchanger that isn’t large enough for your heating application, you end up with a system that simply isn’t being used efficiently. In a situation like that, it’s vital that you get the right sized unit as soon as possible. The sooner you replace the inefficient exchanger, the faster you’ll get back to improved efficiency levels during operation, and the less damage you’ll do to important system components.

Get the Right System for Your Needs

Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of each type of system mentioned above, you can work with a trained professional and try to figure out the best system for your needs. There are systems that each type of company should consider, but it’s vital that you make sure you’re getting the right one. If you want to pick one yourself, it’s important that you understand HVAC equipment and the heat transfer needs of your unit. If you don’t understand these things already, you are likely better off consulting a trained pro to get the information that you need and having him install your new exchanger. You’ll be thrilled at the efficiency improvements that you receive and the performance boost that your new exchanger can offer. Getting the right exchanger can also help improve the lifespan of your other equipment, and is an investment that makes a lot of sense from a monetary standpoint.

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Understanding Heat Exchangers and Their Importance in Your System

Heat exchangers are a valuable part of most heating and cooling appliances and systems at home and in the workplace. They are used to improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems in a pretty passive way. When you understand a heat exchanger and what it does more thoroughly, it will be easy to see why it’s so important to keep it in good shape in your own heating and cooling systems for proper performance.

What a Heat Exchanger Is

A heat exchanger is tool that pulls heat from one medium and adds it to another one. That sounds like a lot of work, but an exchanger does very little actively. In a heating system, an exchanger is usually just a series of metal pipes or fins that conduct heat passing by them. The exchanger could be a set of metal fins or pipes near a heat source such as a furnace. The fins and pipes would gather heat from the furnace and help transfer it to water, coolant, or oil flowing nearby. That material will then be carried to a new location where another heat exchanger will remove it and send it where it needs to go.  When a heat exchanger is being used, the two fluids that heat is moving between are both completely contained. Many times two separate passageways are set up with air running through them in opposite directions. The exchanger will help heat move from one passage to the other and bring more heat in or out of a location.

Why a Heat Exchanger Is Important

A heat exchanger is vital to heating and cooling systems because it’s the only way that these systems can move around heat effectively. Air conditioners use heat exchangers to pull heat from the air in your home and pump it outside where it won’t bother interior temperatures. They are used in vehicles to cool off the engine and heat up the interior cabin on cold days. In any environment where you want to move around heat efficiently, a heat exchanger is likely the tool in use. Without the exchanger, we would have very little control over where heat energy moved around. Vehicles would quickly overheat, homes would be too hot or too cold, and heat energy would be wasted in massive quantities.

The Many Different Types of Heat Exchangers

Since heat exchangers are used in a variety of different situations, they come in many different forms. The main types that are used today are shell and tube exchangers and plate exchangers. Both are valuable tools in adjusting temperatures, and it’s common to find both in a variety of appliances.

Shell and Tube Exchangers

The shell and tube heat exchanger relies on a simple setup to transfer heat. Essentially, you have a shell with a bunch of closed tubes running through it. Usually the shell is filled with a cooler liquid, and the tubes are filled with a hot liquid. As the liquid runs through the portion of the tubes in the shell, a large portion of their heat energy is transferred to the cool liquid and, by the time the liquid exits the other side of the tubes, it’s cooled down substantially. The liquid in the shell is also pumped in and out to move heat to a different location. This setup is common in radiators and is used to heat homes.

Plate Heat Exchangers

In plate heat exchangers, you have many thin metal plates mounted in a box over a series of pipes. These exchangers are spaced slightly, usually by an insulating material like a rubber gasket. On one side of all these tiny metal plates, a cool liquid is pumped through a small hole opened up in each and every one of them. On the other side hot liquid passes through a few holes opened up. The hot liquid transferring through the plates will lose heat energy to the plates, and the cool liquid will pick that same energy up. These systems have a very high surface area and are extremely efficient.

No matter what heating or cooling application is vital to your business, it’s likely that a heat exchanger is making it all possible. Make sure that these exchangers remain in good shape, and you won’t have to worry about a system failure or a lack of efficiency in the future. Having the systems cleaned is affordable, and it can help ensure that they continue running just as they should. Take care of your system, and your investment will continue paying off over time.

Mahan’s Thermal Products is an authority on heat exchangers. This business specializes in the commercial applications of heat exchangers for heating and cooling operations. It offers repair, maintenance, new installations and heat exchanger cleaning services. Mahan’s Thermal Products is also a top supplier of industrial heat exchangers. If you would like to learn more about what the company can do for you, visit or give the business a call at (770) 786-5555.

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