Circulation Heaters for CIP Systems

Clean in Place SystemClean-in-place systems are optimal for cleaning the interiors of pipes, tanks, and equipment in closed systems. This process uses circulation heaters to apply temperature and flow in a series of rinses and washes that pump fluid throughout the system. 

The CIP approach removes residue, contaminants, and debris without disassembling the system’s components or exposing personnel to potentially hazardous chemicals.

Although any closed system could benefit from this cleaning method, it is most appropriate for industries with intensive hygiene requirements. The multiphase cleaning phases and solutions sanitize in addition to removing contaminants. The final result is equipment that is free from microorganisms and bacterial growth. For this reason, CIP is especially important in the food industry (ex., brewing and dairy) and medical applications (ex., pharmaceutical manufacturing and biotech sanitizing).

Electric circulation heaters, in particular, are ideal for clean-in-place systems.

The Importance of Circulation Heaters for Clean in Place

CIP uses water, cleaning solutions, and sanitizing solutions to clean systems. To achieve the ideal temperatures and flow for each of these washes and rinses requires a reliable heater. Due to the sensitive hygiene requirements, electric circulation heaters are well-suited for this task.

Circulation heaters use indirect heating to heat the cleaning fluids. This method reduces the risk of contamination through direct contact, closing off the system from potential exposures. Electric circulation heaters further this benefit because they do not produce potentially harmful contaminants or emissions.

Further benefits of circulation heaters for CIP applications include:

Managing Caustic Solutions

The cleaning wash phase of a CIP cycle uses a caustic cleaning solution with pH levels as high as 4%. A direct immersion heater could risk potential damage from the caustic solution. Any corrosion that occurs would risk contaminating the system. So using indirect heat via the inline heater prevents this risk factor.

Wattco circulation heaters allow for custom material selection. Choosing the right heater materials for heating chemicals is essential to prevent damage and contamination. The selection process must consider the target medium’s target temperature, wattage, and corrosivity.


Only direct heating can supply greater efficiency than an electric circulation heater. However, direct heating has the potential to contaminate, thus eliminating the value of employing a clean-in-place system. Therefore, a circulation heater is the most efficient practical option for a CIP heater.


Digital Control PanelTo adequately clean and sanitize equipment, CIPs require precision. The flow rates need to be sufficient to remove residue, build-up, and blockages. Temperatures also need to fall in the right range for solutions to break down fats, contaminants, and bacteria, without damaging equipment.

Electric circulation heaters provide immense control over both flow rate and temperature rise/maintenance. They are compatible with digital control panels and thermal sensors and offer automation and superior accuracy.

High-Temperature Capability

Sanitizing equipment requires high temperatures, especially for laboratory or food industry use. Electric power is ideal for high-temperature applications due to its rapid heating and easy temperature maintenance. 

Circulation heaters further benefit from their indirect heating. The heater itself is protected from potential damage from high-temperature solutions used in the cleaning process. That means minimizing contamination risks and ensuring the equipment continues working efficiently and has a long lifespan.

Electric CIP Heaters

Wattco custom manufactures electric circulation heaters for clean-in-place systems. Our team of experts works with your project’s specific needs and budget to select and design the ideal heater. 

Contact Wattco today for CIP circulation heater quotes and information.