Why Your Hot Oil Heater is Burning Up Your Heating Fluid

Orange Flame Representing Thermal Heating Fluid Burning Up

Orange Flame Representing Thermal Heating Fluid Burning UpYou did your research ahead of time, paying careful attention to specifications and requirements in order to select the ideal heat transfer fluid for the industrial hot oil heater in your facility.

You checked and double-checked to make sure you ordered the right product.

You’re sure everything has been installed and implemented correctly, from the thermal fluid heater itself to the heat transfer fluid flowing through it.

The equipment in your facility is running as expected. You can’t find any aspect of the industrial heating system that might be malfunctioning.

So why is your heating fluid burning up in your thermal fluid heater if everything seems to be working correctly? What’s going on with your heating system?

The bad news: If you’re having this problem, you are not alone! Many plant and facility managers have experienced this before – it’s not uncommon.

The good news: Here at American Heating Company, we know why this might be happening in your facility – and we have the solution that will help you to solve the problem so you can get your industrial heating system working efficiently again.

Why Thermal Heating Fluid Burns Up In Your Thermal Fluid Heater

The reason that your thermal heating fluid is burning up in your thermal fluid heater might be more obvious than you’d think. And it’s likely no fault of yours. Here’s what’s probably happening inside your industrial thermal fluid heater (hot oil) heater:

Within a thermal fluid heater, the film layer is where the degradation of the fluid takes place. This is the location where the heat transfer fluid will be exposed to the hottest temperatures – and the place where heat transfer fluid ends up burning up.

Heat transfer fluid suppliers market and sell their fluids based on bulk or operating temperature – the outlet temperature of the heater when it is in operation. Heater suppliers on the other hand build heaters based on film temperature – the temperature that occurs in the film layer along the edge of the pipe where the heater is the hottest. This discrepancy is often what causes thermal fluid to unexpectedly burn up in heaters – and is just one of the reasons why film temperature is so important to take into account when purchasing a thermal fluid heater!

With a helical coil heater, the film temperature can be 100 degrees higher than the bulk temperature. While the outlet temperature for the heater may be listed at 550 degrees, the film temperature could be 650 degrees. As a result, if you purchased thermal heating fluid based on a bulk temperature of 550 degrees, your fluid is likely going to burn up because the maximum film temperature is most likely less than 650F! (You can learn more why helical coil industrial heaters are less efficient in this blog post.)

What To Do If Your Heat Transfer Fluid Is Burning Up Inside Of Your Heater

There are a couple of ways to go about fixing the problem of heat transfer fluid burning up inside of your industrial process heaters.

1. Purchase Heat Transfer Fluid Based on Film Temperature

If you want to prevent your heating fluid from burning up inside of your heater, pay closer attention to the film temperature and less attention to the operating temperature when purchasing heat transfer fluid. While operating temperature is important, when it comes to thermal fluid you want to make sure you’ve purchased something that can withstand the higher temperatures that occur on the film layer where the fluid degradation takes place.

Keep in mind that heat transfer fluid becomes more expensive as bulk temperature increases. Purchasing fluid that can withstand higher temperatures will likely cost you more, but it will help to prevent the fluid from burning up in the heater and keep your thermal fluid heaters running more efficiently.

Learn more about factors to consider when choosing your thermal heater fluid.

2. Invest in a Serpentine Coil Thermal Fluid Heater from American Heating Company

At American Heating Company, our standard thermal fluid heater design features innovative serpentine heating coil technology. Compared to traditional helical coils, our serpentine coils offer a number of benefits. One of those benefits is a lower film temperature.

With traditional helical coil heaters, film temperature can be 100 degrees higher than the operating temperature of the heater. With our serpentine coil thermal fluid heater, film temperatures are generally only 50 degrees higher than the operating temperature. This is because our heaters are designed with space between the piping.

With American Heating Company thermal fluid heaters, you can use less expensive heat transfer fluid without the fluid burning up inside of the heater. This can save your company thousands of dollars in operating costs each year! Purchasing heat transfer fluid is much easier as well since you can purchase the fluid recommended by the literature without having to worry about the fluid burning up.

Learn more about the difference between serpentine and helical coil thermal fluid heaters.

Stop Burning Up Your Heat Transfer Fluid!

If heat transfer fluid burning up inside of your thermal fluid heater is a consistent issue at your plant or facility, there are solutions to solve the problem!

Here at American Heating Company, we have decades of experience providing heating solutions for organizations in a variety of industries. We can help you identify what’s causing your heating fluid to burn up and offer you assistance when it comes to solving the problem!

Don’t settle for inefficient process heating and an industrial heating system that doesn’t offer peak performance. Give us a call today at (973) 777-0100 or contact us online to find out how our industrial heating equipment can help you get your facility running smoothly and efficiently.

Interested in learning more about why you should trust us when it comes to all things thermal fluid heater related? Read more about why so many plant and facility managers have chosen to work with us!

Looking to extend the life of your industrial hot oil heater? Learn strategies you should be incorporating into your typical maintenance protocol if your industrial heating system includes a thermal fluid heater.

 

Editor’s Note: This content was originally published in 2016 but has been updated as of June 2019.