Best Practice for Cleaning Air Cooled Heat Exchangers

By Scott Donson, Technical Sales Manager at Tube Tech International

Best practice for cleaning Air Cooled Heat Exchangers (ACHE) or Air-Cooled Condensers (ACC) largely depends on the configuration and design of the units and the level of fouling, but as a standard guide to good practice:

It is always best to clean the finned surfaces in the direction of the airflow. Deposits accumulate at their thickest on the side where air enters the heat transfer bundle, whether the design is a ‘forced or induced’ draft.

At Tube Tech we clean in this way using nothing other than water, air or steam dependent on fouling level, with specially designed cleaning tooling, our world-class fouling removal technology can reach all areas.

Tube Tech has been cleaning this type of finned tube surface for over 30 years and this experience means we have calculated the correct pressures and volumes of water to be most effective.

Critical point: If you consider a chemical method for cleaning ACHE or ACC, you need to be aware of what the chemical compound and analysis of the deposit is, and that it is not inert. Chemicals or foam generally remain within the fins and remaining deposit and can create further issues as they are rarely flushed out correctly. In addition, your fins are more than likely aluminium, which will only withstand the mildest of chemical solutions before causing corrosive damage.

Our team will work with you to design and deliver the best solution, with minimal downtime and unrivalled results.

For non-chemical, wet and dry, robotic and bespoke heat exchanger fouling removal methods, talk to the global experts at Tube Tech International and benefit from the world’s largest portfolio of heat transfer cleaning technology.

Read the case studies to find out how Tube Tech International:

Saved a refinery $100,000s through rapid mobilisation

Delivered an ACC clean with bespoke finned surface cleaning heads

Cleaned Hexacool to manufacturers guidelines with Tube Tech’s SafeJetTM high-pressure water jetting system

Protected over 34,000 square metres of delicate fins on an ACC during our largest ACC cleaning operation

Reduced critical cleaning time by half on an external and internal Air-Cooled Fin Fan Condenser