How to Clean Out Your Hot Oil System
June 2, 2006
Cleaning out your hot oil system on the fly has never been so easy. This can be done when you are starting up a new or used hot oil system or for general maintenance of an existing system. Whichever your situation, the cleaning of your system can be done by your own maintenance department or you can hire a company to do it turnkey for you. If you do hire a company to do this for you, please make sure they are qualified to work on a hot oil system and have the proper equipment like hoses, pumps and filtration systems. Below are six easy steps to clean out your hot oil system.
1st step - is to select a process system cleaner and/or flushing fluid that can be operated at bulk temperature so that you do not have production downtime as a result of the cleaning process.
2nd step - is to mix into your existing oil a 4% ratio of process system cleaner and run the system at your operating temperature for 24 to 48 hours. “Some process system cleaners are mixed in with existing oil and break down the sludge and soft carbon buildup in the system into very fine particulate so that you can remove it from your system when you drain the oil,” says Mark Smith, general manager at MultiTherm in Malvern, Pa. “Look for a product that works up to 550oF (288oC) so you can clean your system while still running production.”
3rd step - is to drain the fluid in your system as fast as possible and as hot as possible (you can safely do this between 150oF (66oC) to 180oF (83oC). REMEMBER THAT SAFETY COMES FIRST.
4th step - is to recharge the system with a flushing fluid and run it for two to three days at your normal operating temperature. This flushing fluid will dissolve all the loose carbon material in the system and any particulate left behind from the process system cleaner. Filtration is recommended during this step.
5th step - is to drain the fluid in your system as fast as possible, as you did in the 3rd Step.
6th step - This is the final step. Recharge the system with new high quality heat transfer fluid. Filtration is also recommended during this step.
It's that easy with these six simple steps to clean out your system. Still, one might ask if it is necessary to do both the cleaning and flushing steps. According to Glenn Curry, MultiTherm's marketing manager, “depending on how bad the fluid in your system has broken down, you might be okay with just running a flushing fluid to clean out your system.”
If you don't want to tackle the project yourself, there are companies that provide the manpower and equipment to do it for you, Smith says.
6-Step Summary to a Thorough Cleanout Maintain your hot oil system for peak performance by keeping it clean.
- Use a bulk temperature cleaning and/or flushing fluid.
- Mix the fluid with existing oil and operate system.
- Drain - as fast as possible.
- Recharge with a flushing fluid.
- Drain - again, as fast as possible.
- Recharge with fresh fluid.