Heat Exchanger Cleaning and Fouling

Consider heat exchanger fouling in the following terms:

  • Heat exchanger performance
  • Cleaning frequency
  • Ease of maintenance

If a heat exchanger unit does not perform according to specifications, excessive cleaning frequency required or regular maintenance is difficult to accomplish, there might be a problem. One of the other problems is when anything blocks access to the heat exchanger surface, preventing it from performing well. Some problems can be easily corrected, some are difficult to determine. Sometimes corrections are even more costly than a heat exchanger itself. In turn, loss of being off-line may be even greater.

Some types of heat exchangers in food industry are cleaned daily, while others can run a year or more between cleaning schedules. Heat exchanger cleaning and handling should be made simple if it’s done often. While difficulty of maintenance becomes less significant if it’s done once a year or at a longer intervals. Just a cleaning difficulty itself may reveal that one design of heat exchanger is more preferable to another.

In case when it is more beneficial to production to perform heat exchanger cleaning yearly than on a monthly basis, the excess maintenance problem can be solved in another way. For example, by adding more surface to allow more fouling, or selecting a heat exchanger to simplify cleaning efforts.