Thermal Fluid Heater Repairs: Helical Coil Heaters vs. Serpentine Coil Heaters

Here, we’ll take a look at how two common repairs (fluid replacement and coil replacement) will differ when repairing helical coil heaters versus serpentine coil thermal fluid heaters.

We’ll also compare two major factors when it comes to thermal fluid heater repairs (downtime and expense) and explore how they differ between helical and serpentine heaters.

Common Thermal Fluid Heater Repairs:

Fluid Replacement

Heating fluid can degrade within your thermal fluid heater, causing problems and necessitating fluid replacement.

Helical Coil Heaters: Fluid replacement is necessary on a somewhat regular basis, as the heater design tends to cause the film temperature to be significantly higher than the bulk temperature. This discrepancy can cause heat transfer fluid to burn up more quickly.

Serpentine Coil Heaters: Serpentine coil heaters feature radiant coil bundles. Compared to the helical coil design, the serpentine coil thermal fluid heater design allows for more even heat distribution and, as a result, less oil degradation. This means fluid replacement will need to happen less frequently if you are utilizing a serpentine coil heater.

Note: If you’re experiencing issues with your heating fluid, check out the following two articles:

Why Your Hot Oil Heater Is Burning Up Your Heating Fluid – A look at why this might be happening, and what you can do about it.

Why Investing in High Grade Heat Transfer Fluid is a MUST – A quick review of the benefits and advantages of using high grade thermal heating fluid. 

Coil Replacement

The heating coil is a key component of a thermal fluid heater. Most helical coil thermal fluid heaters will need to have the coil replaced at some point.

Helical Coil Heaters: For helical coil heaters, it is assumed that coil replacement or repair will need to take place at some point as part of the maintenance plan. Typically, if an issue arises the entire coil will need to be replaced.

Replacing a coil in a helical coil thermal fluid heater is an extensive project. This is an expensive repair that can take 12 to 14 weeks to complete.

Serpentine Coil Heaters: Coil replacement is not viewed as a required aspect of a serpentine coil heater maintenance plan. Serpentine thermal fluid heating coils have long lives and if repairs are necessary they can typically be completed while the coils are in place within the heater.

As a result, these repairs can be completed faster and on a smaller budget than repairs to helical coils.

Factors to Consider When Hot Oil Heater Repairs Are Necessary

Repair Downtime

When contemplating thermal fluid heater repairs, downtime is a key factor to consider.

Helical Coil Heaters: If an issue arises with a thermal fluid heater’s helical coil, replacing the entire coil is often the solution. As mentioned previously, repairs can take months to coordinate and complete. Because of this, your facility will likely be operating at less than capacity or will be shut down for weeks at a time.

Serpentine Coil Heaters: Because serpentine coils can be repaired while in place and don’t usually require complete replacement, addressing issues that come up with them is significantly less time consuming than resolving issues with helical coil heaters. Serpentine coil repairs can be completed relatively quickly, meaning your plant will have minimal downtime. This is especially true if you have a spare parts strategy in place.

Repair Expenses

Expenses are another important factor to consider when it comes to repairing your thermal heating equipment.

Helical Coil Heaters: Between lost profits caused by facility downtime and the expense of investing in a new helical coil or, the cost of repairing a helical coil thermal fluid heater can be very high.

In fact, the high cost of repairs is why many facility managers should actually consider replacing their thermal fluid systems instead of repairing them.

Serpentine Coil Heaters: Serpentine coils can often be repaired and these repairs can be taken care of relatively quickly – especially when compared to the time it takes to replace a helical coil. As a result, serpentine coil thermal fluid heater repairs, while still costly, are often significantly less expensive than repairs to their helical coil counterparts.

Thermal Fluid Heater Repairs on the Horizon? Talk To Us!

If your facility’s equipment is going to require replacement or repair in the near future, reach out to us today! With decades of experience in the industry, we know heaters inside and out. We can help you determine the best course of action for your specific facility and situation – whether it be replacing or repairing your thermal fluid heater.

We also manufacture some of the highest quality thermal fluid heaters on the market. Our standard thermal fluid heaters feature low-maintenance serpentine coil technology. In fact, we are the only company to offer a serpentine radiant coil unit as a standard design in our industrial thermal fluid heaters. If you’re thinking of investing in a new type of industrial heating system, definitely check us out!

Give us a call today at (715) 748-5888 or contact us online to learn more about how our heating technology could benefit your business.

Learn More About The Benefits of Serpentine Coil Thermal Fluid Heaters!

Read more about the innovative serpentine coil technology that sets our heaters apart! – Our experts take a closer look at the design differences between helical and serpentine coil heaters, plus review the benefits of the serpentine coil heater design.

Get the details about the mechanical benefits of serpentine coil heaters. – Learn about the mechanical and operational benefits of serpentine coil heaters like the ones we manufacture here at AHC.