The Importance of Heat Exchanger Maintenance

Heat exchangers are at the core of many critical industrial systems. From power plants to industrial chemical plants and everything in between, the heat exchanger in all its forms is a critical aspect of heat management systems. Therefore, all organisations must take heat exchanger maintenance extremely seriously, because a heat exchanger failure can be a potentially deadly event due to risks of fire and explosions. Proper cleaning is crucial in ensuring that your heat exchanger is functioning well and efficiently.

Heat exchangers work in many ways, but their ultimate function is always the same; heat exchangers allow systems to transfer heat out so that they can maintain temperature and pressure. Build-up of waste products, however, such as oil or dirt, can keep these systems from working properly. From blockages or the hindering of internal mechanisms to bridging heat exchange gaps, industrial and environmental build-up can silently and quickly compromise a heat exchanger’s ability to perform its function which can cause harmful heat build-up within the system.

Heat exchanger cleaning is a complex, multi-step process that involves many steps. Further, proper cleaning must be carried out by a certified technician so that there is certainty that all steps are performed fully and that all regulations are followed. A few of the things that a heat exchange technician will perform include:

Multiple inspections

From as-found inspections that document that conditions of the heat exchanger when the technician arrives, to post wipe-down and after-job inspections, the heat exchanger technician will carefully inspect – and document – the state of the heat exchanger throughout the entire heat exchanger maintenance process. This helps managers and maintenance personnel to understand the condition of their equipment, to better predict when maintenance will be necessary, and to develop an overall picture of the health of their heat exchange systems.

Complete tube cleaning and coating

The exchanger tubes are essential for all heat exchangers, and these tubes must remain clean and properly coated to ensure that the exchange of heat happens efficiently. Thus, heat exchanger cleaning technicians will perform thorough cleaning and re-coating of all exchanger tubes, utilising only industry certified techniques and materials.

Cover removal, cleaning, inspection, and replacement and tube plugging

The tube covers must be clean to ensure that there are no breaks in containment seals. Thus, heat exchange maintenance professionals will perform a thorough review of all aspects of the covers, cleaning and repairing or replacing them as necessary.

Heat exchanger maintenance and cleaning is a complex procedure that must be carried out by licensed, experienced professionals. Any mistake made during the maintenance procedure can have lasting and drastic consequences if they result in a heat exchanger failure. That is why all heat exchanger professionals are licensed, certified technicians before they are allowed to work in the field.


Combustion and Heating Systems is a reputable boiler & burner company and was established in Johannesburg, South Africa during 1990. The company’s reputation is still respected within the industry for over 27 years. We are a boiler and burner company that offers efficient, friendly and personal service. Our staff have many years of experience and knowledge to pass on to our customers.

Here at Combustion and Heating Systems we supply, install, service and maintain heating equipment such as oil and gas burners, hot water boilers, heating systems and all the associated parts. In our Johannesburg store, we have one of the biggest stock holdings of package burners and spare parts in the country. We distribute all over South Africa and neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola and as far north as Nigeria.

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