Did You Know? Shell & Tube Heat Exchanger FAQ’s

by Matt Jacobs, August 7, 2018

tube bundleThere are basically three kinds of shell and tube heat exchangers:

  • “U” Tube heat exchangers where it is possible to remove the entire bundle
  • Fixed tube heat exchangers where the tube sheet are welded to the shell and stationary and the bundle is not removable
  • Floating tube heat exchangers where one tube sheet is fixed and the other floats axially.  This tube bundle is also removable.

Capital Coil & Air builds all three of these heat exchangers types, but more importantly, the replacement bundles for heat exchangers.  The shell portion of the heat exchanger can often last 40+ years without corrosion or something to seriously damage the shell.  The tubes and the bundles can be replaced fairly simply, but you must do (5) things to accurately duplicate the bundle.

  • You must duplicate the tube surface area in the bundle first.  You can use different size tubes if you choose, but however you do it, you must use the same surface area.
  • You must duplicate the baffles on the bundle to allow whatever is traveling through the shell to pass back and forth in the same number of passes.
  • You must duplicate the length of the bundle exactly. Making a bundle too long is a very costly mistake.
  • You must duplicate the materials of construction on the bundle including the tubesheet, tubes, and baffles
  • Last, you must duplicate the bolt hole pattern exactly because the bundle flange is bolted between the head flange and the body flange and all the bolts go through all the holes simultaneously.  There are also those really lucky times where the tube sheet is sandwiched between and there are no bolt holes.

Shell & tube heat exchangers can last an extremely long time.  The bundle, unfortunately, cannot.  Capital Coil has a real expertise at replacing bundles and heat exchangers for emergency situations.  Many times bundles fail and the turnaround time is essential.  Capital offers 5 day and 10 day shipments regularly.  Give us a call or shoot us an e-mail when downtime needs need to be minimal!


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