Everything You Need to Know About Heat Exchanger Plugs

There are many things to know about heat exchanger plugs, including how to seal them, where to install them, and what to check for.

The tubes in a heat exchanger are packed together to conduct heat through one fluid and coolant through another. This process helps to maintain the correct temperature between the two fluids.


When a heat exchanger tube leaks, it is crucial to seal the leak quickly and effectively. This can save money and time.

One of the most common ways to do this is to use a heat exchanger tube plug. These plugs are inserted into the tube and then expanded to form a seal.

The plugs are available in various materials, including carbon steel, stainless steel, brass, phenolic, Monel, copper, duplex stainless steel, nickel, inconel, titanium, and more.

This plug type is ideal for applications requiring high pressures and temperatures. It is designed with internal and external serrated rings to maintain a leak-tight seal under extreme thermal and pressure cycling.


One of the most fun and gratifying aspects of the heat exchanger maintenance process is the chance to look closer at your prized possession. Not only are there many components to be inspected and tested, but the uninitiated will have the opportunity to tinker with a few of the most precious materials – i.e., your particular hydrogen and helium. So what is the best way to ensure your heat exchanger is in good hands for many years? To help you in your quest, here are a few tips to get you on the right track.


Tube plugs can seal leaking tubes in a heat exchanger, preventing further damage and keeping the efficiency of an aging exchanger as high as possible. This will ensure a longer asset life, improve turnaround time, reduce project costs, and ensure the safety of operators.

One of the most popular ways to do this is with a mechanical plug, which expands inside the tube and creates a positive mechanical seal. This method can be done relatively quickly and does not damage the tube or tube sheet coating.

Another option is the two-piece style, which consists of a bushing inside the tube and a tapered plug hammered into it. This plug type can seal leaking tubes in higher-pressure applications and will be more stable than a mechanical plug.

Heat Exchanger Products Corp(r) heat exchanger plugs offer a fast, simple, and effective way to seal leaking tubes up to 7,000 psi. These plugs are designed to be inserted into the tube/tube sheet by hand without special tooling and are easily installed with minimal training or experience.


Whether it’s a feed water heater, lube oil cooler, or condenser, properly plugging heat exchanger tubes is essential to any maintenance plan. It will improve turnaround time, reduce project costs, ensure the most extended possible asset life, and help protect the surrounding tubes.

When a tube leaks, it can be a very costly situation to fix. It can also damage the adjacent box, which will cause even more problems down the line.

A common way to solve this problem is to plug the end of the leaking tube. This can be done using a tapered or ring and pin type two-piece plug.

The former is a more permanent option, while the latter can be used for applications where there may be concerns about the pressure dislodging a tapered plug. Both plugging methods are effective and can be done quickly, but knowing the right way is crucial.

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