Inexpensive imports are not always what they are purported to be. Buyers should be aware of product differences and potential liabilities. The Latin saying, “Caveat Emptor” or “Buyer Beware,” is especially important today when companies are trying to cut costs.

Not all brazed heat exchangers are equal, and FlatPlate Inc., York, Pa., offers this advice to make you a more careful buyer.

  • Product Life. Check construction materials. Low priced units may have low-grade, thin (0.3 mm) stainless steel plates. A unit of this type likely will have up to a 25 percent shorter life span due to the combined stresses of material thickness, hydraulic pump forces and long-term fouling. A brazed plate heat exchanger should last 15 to 20 years or more under typical operating conditions.
  • Codes. UL listing is required by many municipalities' plumbing codes in the United States, and Canada has its country's equivalent. ASME certification often is recommended. A brazed plate heat exchanger should meet all laws, codes and safety requirements. Imported units may not carry these testing assurances.
  • Capacity. Not all multi-plate models, for example 20-plate units, are the same. Some imports are actually slightly smaller with less heat transfer per plate, which could mean 20 percent to 40 percent less capacity due to the design. A brazed plate heat exchanger should be rated for BTUs, fluid flows and in/out temperature with performance guaranteed by the manufacturer.

    For more information, contact FlatPlate at (717) 767-9060 or