You ever wondered how heaters with two different energy sources work together? And, why wouldn’t you have an all-electric system or all-gas system?
In this article, we will discuss how these devices work and what they do to improve efficiency. We’ll start with some basic information about their operation. Then, we’ll move on to more detail about specific types of heat exchangers.
How Do Air-to-Water Heaters Work?
Air-to-water heaters appear in a variety of applications, including commercial and residential. They’re found at home or business locations where hot water gets used for bathing and cooking.
The air-to-water heater heats the incoming cold water with heated air from inside the unit. This process allows you to use less energy than if you were heating your water supply on-site.
An air water heat exchanger works by using natural gas or electricity as its power source. These units have two main components. There’s one that contains the combustion chamber and another that holds the water tank.
When the burner turns on, it creates high-temperature flames. These flames travel through the combustion chamber into the water tank.
As these flames pass over the water’s surface, they transfer thermal energy to the liquid.
When keeping the water flowing throughout the system, there needs to be an option to remove excess heat. The water passes through tubes located within the walls of the water tank.
These tubes act like radiators, transferring the remaining heat back out of the water. Once this occurs, the water begins to warm up.
Tyes of Air-To-Water Heat Exchangers
There are many types of air-to-water heat exchangers. Here are some examples:
Furnace Heat Exchanger
This kind of device uses forced convection to move large volumes of air across the top of the water tank. It works well when temperatures remain constant. Heat levels transferred depend on differences in ambient air and water temperature.
If the room becomes too hot, then the furnace fan kicks in and increases airflow. Yet, if the room gets too cold, the fan slows down until the temperature is as desired again.
Fireplace Heat Exchanger
A fireplace heat exchanger operates differently from a furnace heat exchanger. Instead of fans circulating air around the tank, a fireplace exchanger is radiant.
Because of this design feature, fireplace heat exchangers operate best during low humidity. Yet, they still need regular maintenance to ensure proper functioning.
Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger
The shell and tube heat exchanger consists of small copper tubes running parallel. Each row runs along the length of the water tank.
A series of fins attached to each end cap helps increase the surface area available for heat exchange. Shell and tube heat exchangers are also called “tube and fin” heat exchangers.
Plate Heat Exchanger
These devices consist of thin metal plates stacked together. Like other types of plate heat exchangers, they rely on conduction.
Conduction transfers heat from the water to the environment. Plate heat exchangers are more efficient than other designs but not very durable. Over time, corrosion will cause them to fail.
Buy the Right Heat Exchanger
If you’ve got a cracked heat exchanger, then consider an air-to-water heat exchanger. Make sure you do your research and invest in one with a good warranty and aftercare service. That way, you won’t get left out in the cold!
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