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Helpful Tips

Technical Bulletin

How to acid clean a heat exchanger or a condenser.

  1. Drain and flush the unit to remove any loose material and to flush out any treatment.  Most treatment products are alkaline and therefore will react with the acid descaler.
  2. Setup a 55-gallon drum to be used as the mixing tank. I recommend cutting away about half the top of the drum.  Be sure to leave the bung opening that has a 2" pipe thread in place.
  3. Hang a submersible pump about 8 inches from the bottom of the drum.  Connect a hose from this pump into the lowest side of the heat exchanger or condenser.  Connect a second hose from the top side of the heat exchanger or condenser and return it to the drum.  These hoses should be secured to the drum with clamps or cable ties.
  4. Mount a mixer on the top of the drum.  I recommend using a thread mount mixer that can be threaded into the 2" bung opening.
  5. Fill the drum with water and begin pumping it into the unit. Add additional water to the drum until you have a consistent return flow to the drum.
  6. Check for leaks.  Now is the time to make sure everything is tight.
  7. Put on safety equipment.  Face shield, gloves and an apron are recommended!!
  8. Turn on the mixer and begin adding 3600-DAD.  This is an inhibited sulfamic acid descaler.  Add the product slowly allowing it to dissolve before it is pumped through the system.
  9. IMPORTANT!!!  As the acid dissolves the scale gases are released.  This can cause the return line hose to pulse or "buck".  If this becomes severe turn off the circulating pump until it calms down.
  10. IMPORTANT!!!  The gases that are released can be flammable.  Be sure there are no open flames near this mixing area.  No smoking.
  11. Continue to add the 3600-DAD until the pH of the water returning to the mixing tank is about 1.0.  This can be measured either with a pH meter or with color-pHast ph strips.
  12. Test the pH of the solution every 15 minutes and record the results. As the acid dissolves the scale the pH of the solution will begin to rise.  If the pH rises to 2.0 add additional acid.  When you have been able to hold a pH of 1.0 for several hours without adding additional acid you can presume the system is clean.
  13. The solution should now be neutralized by adding soda ash until the pH is between 6.5 and 8.0.
  14. The solution can now be discharged to a sewer.
  15. Flush the heat exchanger or condenser thoroughly with clean water.
  16. The system should now be treated immediately to prevent corrosion to the clean metals in the system.

List of Materials used:

3600-DAD Inhibited Dry Acid Descaler 

50# pails



3 - 6 pails



7 - 10 pails



11 or more


Color-pHast pH test strips



42739 TMTEH Totally enclosed thread
mount mixer



Soda Ash

 50# Bags


Submersible pumps can be found in the WW Grainger catalog.

All chemical products pricing includes delivery.