Compact Heat Exchangers – Small in Size, Big on Performance

Is there anything called as compact heat exchanger? Even if there is one, is it any good? For most people heat exchangers still are the decades old shell and tube heat exchangers. So, is there really anything better than the traditional heat exchangers in the market? Well, there certainly are much better heat exchangers available in the market and they are revolutionizing the way heating and cooling is now done in every modern household.

Before discussing what these compact heat exchangers are, it is important to understand why you need them in the first place. Compact heat exchangers are required for domestic floor and wall heating as well as for heating domestic water supply. However, with ever increasing realty prices and the reducing size of homes, one can no longer accommodate the bulky traditional heat exchangers. Also, with increase in size of a heat exchanger, the cost of maintenance as well as the cost of installation increases proportionally, and not everyone is in a position to afford the same.

Not only is it affordable, a compact heat exchanger is easy to maintain and much more convenient to use when you need to provide heating for a swimming pool at home or heat a spa. Small heat exchangers are also required in modern households which use solar energy for partial or complete domestic heating since the solar panels and the associated accessories themselves eat up a lot of space.

But what are these small heat exchangers? Well, have you heard about flat plate heat exchangers or brazed plate heat exchangers? These are the best examples of compact heat exchangers. These heat exchangers are made up of metallic plates and not concurrent metallic tubes like the traditional heat exchangers. The material usually used for construction of these plates is stainless steel since it is strong, flexible and transfers heat quickly.

The biggest advantage of a small heat exchanger like a brazed plate heat exchanger is that it is significantly smaller in size. In addition, it significantly increases the surface area of the fluids which enables faster heat exchange. Also, the corrugation on the plates of such a compact heat exchanger further increases its efficiency by increasing turbulence in the flowing fluids.

In addition, these compact heat exchangers are extremely versatile and can work under higher fluid pressures and extremely low temperature difference between the hot and cold fluids. In comparison to this, the traditional heat exchangers lose their efficiency rapidly when temperature difference is below 5 deg C. This is why small heat exchangers like a brazed plate heat exchanger can be used even when an extremely small rise or drop in temperature of the desired fluid is required.