Shopping your options when it comes to industrial heating systems? There’s a lot to carefully consider when you’re upgrading or replacing your facility’s equipment, especially since new heating equipment is a hefty investment.
You want to be sure you’re making the right choice for your facility, both for now and for the long run.
If you’re like many of our customers, you end up comparison shopping between steam boiler systems and thermal fluid heating systems. The two, though very different, are heating system options that can work for a wide variety of the same processes.
Curious about which will work best for your facility? Although steam systems are still in place in many plants and facilities, the truth is that thermal fluid heating systems are the better way to go for a plethora of reasons.
Here, we review 10 key advantages of thermal fluid heaters and heating systems so you’re armed with information as you continue shopping your options.
Thermal Fluid Heater Advantages
There are a number of benefits that set thermal fluid heating systems apart from the systems they compete with. In fact, hot oil heaters boast advantages in most categories.
Some of these notable advantages of thermal fluid heaters include:
Efficient industrial heating is important for a variety of reasons – both within your facility and its daily operations, and on a larger scale.
Thermal fluid heaters are highly efficient, and significantly more efficient than their alternative heating system counterparts. They offer facilities the opportunity for decreased operating costs and decreased energy costs (which can contribute, in turn, to increased profitability), while being more environmentally friendly.
2. Installation Flexibility
Whether you’re retrofitting or working with facility constraints, finding the space needed to install a new industrial heating system can be a challenge. Some system types may be eliminated from the running because they can’t be configured within the space available.
Thermal fluid heating systems provide increased installation flexibility. Systems can be installed indoors or outdoors, and in some cases can be built to fit unique specifications. Because they don’t need to be immediately adjacent to the process they are heating, thermal fluid heaters can also be installed remotely. This flexibility is key when you’re working with limited floor space within your facility but you’re still looking for a highly efficient heating solution.
3. Minimal Maintenance
One of the major day-to-day advantages of thermal fluid heaters is the fact that they require minimal maintenance to keep them in prime operating condition compared to steam boiler systems. While they do need housekeeping and attention on a regular schedule for optimal performance, the effort required is not nearly as hefty as what’s required for steam-based systems.
4. Lower Operational Costs
Because they operate efficiently, require minimal maintenance, and don’t necessitate chemical treatment, condensation collection systems, a dedicated system attendant, etc. to operate, thermal fluid heaters boast lower operational costs than steam boiler systems and many other types of process heating systems.
5. Fewer Operational Headaches
As mentioned previously, thermal fluid heaters do not require steam traps, condensation systems, chemical treatments, or blow down maintenance. Additionally, thermal fluid will not freeze in cold temperatures and it is not corrosive. For these and numerous other reasons, thermal fluid heaters produce fewer operational headaches for facility managers on a regular basis.
6. Fewer Staff Requirements
Industry regulations necessitate that a specialized engineer or licensed operator be on hand when some process heating equipment that relies on steam boilers is being operated. As a result, facilities that utilize this type of equipment tend to have additional staff requirements.
This is an additional expense, and can present an additional challenge when it comes to facility operations.
Typically, there are fewer staff requirements associated with thermal fluid heating equipment. (Rules and regulations do change, so be sure you are familiar with the current codes applicable to your industry.)
Thermal fluid heaters are incredibly versatile and can be used effectively in a variety of processes and industries. They can also replace steam systems in many instances, and they can be installed in a variety of formats to suit the needs and layout of a specific facility.
This versatility is beneficial on a number of levels and is another key reason why thermal fluid heating systems have become a top choice among those shopping their process heating options.
8. No Need for Pressurization
Heating systems that rely on steam require pressure in order to function. This is not the case with hot oil heating systems, which are non-pressurized.
Because thermal fluid heaters don’t require pressurization, they reduce the risk of explosions and eliminate the need for constant regulation and monitoring of system pressure levels. This is a hugely helpful advantage for facilities in a wide variety of industries, and a key reason why hot oil heat is often the better option when compared to steam boilers.
9. No Need for Chemical Regulation
Water is required to make steam, but because water is a corrosive liquid it must be treated with various chemicals when used within steam heating systems. Like pressurization, chemical levels must be closely monitored and regulated to ensure that the heating system is operating effectively.
Thermal fluid heaters eliminate the need for chemical regulation entirely. They rely on thermal heating fluid, which requires no chemical regulation – another advantage that puts hot oil heaters ahead of their steam boiler competitors.
10. No Freezing in Cold Temperatures
Again, when comparing hot oil heaters to steam boilers, the hot oil heaters offer an advantage in that they don’t have the potential to freeze up in cold weather.
Thermal heating fluid will not freeze, which makes freezing temperatures a non-issue for this type of heating system. This eliminates safety hazards and operational issues that could occur in facilities relying on steam heat.
BONUS Advantages of Serpentine Coil Thermal Fluid Heater from American Heating Company
In addition to providing the benefits above, thermal fluid heating equipment from American Heating Company also offers the following advantages to facilities and plant managers:
It’s true that thermal fluid heaters are more efficient than other types of process heaters, but our state of the art serpentine coil thermal fluid heaters are 10-15% more efficient than standard thermal fluid heaters that utilize helical coils.
This increased efficiency combined with a competitive price point means that one of our thermal fluid heaters can often pay for itself in a little more than one year when replacing an older, inefficient unit.
Our heaters are designed to outlast those of other manufacturers. Built with high quality materials here in the USA, our thermal fluid heaters are some of the most durable, longest-lasting on the market.
The unique serpentine coil design we utilize allows for longer tube life, lower levels of fluid degradation, and efficient operation. Additionally, our heaters make maintenance and repairs easy. As a result, many of our heaters are 20-30 years old and still in operation!
Easy Maintenance & Repairs
Your American Heating Company heater should not need repair often, but when and if it does, the repairs can be handled faster and more easily than those required by helical coil heaters. This means less facility downtime and less costly investment in replacement equipment – a win win for your plant.
Higher Operating Temperatures
Typical hot oil heaters can achieve high temperatures at low pressure, but most still offer limited operation at fluid temperatures over 400°F. Our serpentine coil thermal fluid heaters can operate efficiently at temperatures up to 650°F.
Lower Level of Fluid Degradation
Despite operating at higher temperatures, our innovative style of thermal fluid heater provides a lower level of fluid degradation. This makes our heaters increasingly cost effective and efficient.
Longer Tube Life
The serpentine coils in our thermal fluid heaters typically last two to three times longer than standard helical coils. This means your heater will run efficiently for longer, saving your facility money and you the headache of frequent replacements and repairs.
Take Advantage of the Benefits of Thermal Fluid Heaters
Thermal fluid heaters outperform steam boiler systems and other process heating equipment systems while providing these – and other – advantages to the facilities and plant managers that implement them. If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your equipment, a thermal fluid heater is the way to go.
Interested in learning more about how thermal fluid heating equipment can benefit your facility specifically? Give us a call today at (715) 748-5888 or contact us online and we’d be happy to chat with you about how you can put our equipment to work for your business.
Have questions as you’re shopping your heating equipment options? Check out our industrial heating FAQs here for insight and answers.
Editor’s Note: This content was originally published in September 2019, but has been updated as of July 2022.