Oil flow viscosity is a very real issue out in the oil fields and in other weather-exposed industries that rely on flowing oil. When it gets too cold it sludges up and becomes nearly unusable. For this reason many companies rely on fuel-fired burners to heat up the oil, but this method isn’t very even and comes with some drawbacks compared to using electric immersion heaters for oil.
It’s easy to get a nice even heat distribution when the coils of the heater extend through the liquid being heated itself. That’s the benefit of an electric immersion heater. You get heat right where it’s needed and don’t have to rely on it radiating around the oil as much.
Electric heaters can provide heat from within the liquid instead of from the outside of it. This helps reduce heat losses during operation, and also improves performance overall. The electric heaters don’t have to be nearly as powerful as the gas-fired heaters, and they’re safer to use as well.
There are two different ways to heat with an immersion heater, through direct heating and indirect. With direct heating the heater is submerged right in the oil itself and all the heat the electric coils produce is transferred to the oil without any loss to the outside environment between that transfer. In indirect heating the heater is mounted inside a pipe and provides heat that’s transferred over to the liquid. This isn’t quite as efficient, but is the best option when heating a corrosive liquid.
Switching from a fuel-powered burner-style heater to an electric immersion heater for oil is going to take some adjustments, but luckily electric heaters are low maintenance and simple to install. It will take some work to put the new heaters in, but probably less than you think. With a bit of time spent on the project you can have the heating solution that you want installed and much more fluid oil that you can pump around and make use of like you should be able to. When switching from a fuel heat source to an electric immersion system, make sure to get a heater that offers a dramatically lower BTU output overall because it’s going to operate much more efficiently. A heater with as little as half the power of the fuel heater you were using might be enough to get you the same results.
If you decide to use electric heaters to improve oil viscosity at your company, you should consider a few different immersion heater types to see which one works best for you. Immersion heaters are simple to install in general, but some are easier to put on and take off than others, and you might want to use flange, screw-on or circulation oil heaters to get the job done. Each will offer you the heating that you need, it’s just the matter of choosing which one you prefer and which is going to do the best job with the least amount of effort to put in place to begin with.