What Is A Heat Exchanger

Next up in our what is of plumbing is what is a heat exchanger? If your boiler has broken down a problem with the heat exchanger is quite a common cause. It’s one of your boilers most important parts and unfortunately not cheap to replace. In this article we will explain what a heat exchanger is and how to prolong the life of it.

What is a heat exchanger and what does it do?

Firstly if you have a gas boiler you will know that it heats hot water and that the hot water will heat the radiators in the rooms of your property. The natural gas is burned and it makes lines or grids of vertical jets. These then fire upwards contacting a series of pipes through which the water is flowing. As the water flows it absorbs the heat energy which in turn heats the water.


A heat exchanger does exactly what it says on the tin, it exchanges heat. It is specifically designed to allow fluids, this could be gas or liquid to pass or exchange heat with another fluid, liquid or gas without having to  come in to direct contact with each other or mix together.

Here is an example that shows the theory. We can obtain heat from the boilers gas jets by tipping some cold water onto them. If we did that though we would extinguish the flames! The basic principle of heat exchangers is that it is able to transfer the heat without need to transfer the fluid that carries the heat.

What is a heat exchanger used in?

It has many uses, as plumbers we know them from boilers. The can be used in power plants and engines. Hot fumes that would drift away can be converted back in to heat. Another common use would be in air conditioners and fridges. A fridge fro example works the opposite way from a boiler. It removes heat an disperses it away from the fridge so as to keep the fridge cold.

For more information or if you have an issue with your heat exchanger just call us on 01-6874853.