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When to change heat exchanger tubes

When to change heat exchanger tubes

With so much going on inside each tube, failure in just one heat exchanger tube could shut down operations – a risk that most business can’t afford to take.

To minimise risk and ensure maximum efficiency, here are 3 signs it’s time to change your heat exchanger:

1. Decreasing temperature change

A decrease in performance naturally occurs as contaminants build up and cause heat exchanger tubes to gradually deteriorate. However, a sudden temperature change is a sign of failure – foreign material, like corrosion or heavy particulate, could have entered the tube.

To determine whether a heat exchanger tube is doing its job, you can use a handheld heat sensor. If the temperature change is little or not at all, this is a clear indication that the tube isn’t performing as it should and you might want to consider replacing it with a new one from reputable tube supplier, USEL Tubular Division.

2. Increasing pressure drop

Difficult to spot without the appropriate equipment – a drop in the pressure is something else you need to be mindful of when inspecting heat exchanger tubes. Whether you’ve observed an increased drop in pressure over a short or long period, this usually suggests there is a blockage preventing the heat exchanger from functioning efficiently.

An internal leakage, caused by damaged or punctured tubes, can also result in a pressure decrease. But rest assured, tube suppliers, like USEL Tubular Division, can quickly deliver suitable replacement tubes.

3. Contaminated fluids

The job of a heat exchanger tube is to prevent fluids mixing or coming into direct contact – exchanging their thermal properties only. 

Cross-contamination generally occurs as a result of tube failure – either when heat exchanger tubes puncture, rupture or corrode, having become so thin they are unable to contain the pressure of fluids, causing them to leak.

The best way to get the most out of your heat exchanger tubes is to have them periodically inspected and cleaned to prevent failure and identify signs of deterioration before it’s too late. Timely replacement of tubes will also prevent tubes wearing too thin.

Contact USEL Tubular Division

For expert advice on when to change a heat exchanger, you need a tube supplier you can trust – and USEL Tubular Division is more than happy to help. Whether you’re looking for new heat exchanger tubes to replace faulty or damaged ones, or to find out more about maintaining their performance, feel free to call 0191 587 1777. Alternatively, email tubesales@usel.uk.com or complete the online enquiry form.

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