How well a condenser is performing is shown to be difficult to determine. The result obtained by using defined measurements in this determination is sometimes biased by shell side conditions that are often not well understood, leading to gross error in calculated condenser performance parameters. This paper describes some of these conditions, identified through recent research findings, and introduces methods to minimize the extent of the error. The discussion addresses how these condenser operating conditions have impact on calculated condenser performance parameters and how they may be properly understood by making use of relatively new measurements or through the application of comprehensive knowledge of the water vapor and noncondensable gas mixture dynamics. Such conditions as measured air in-leakage, and knowledge of no or very low tube fouling based on recent cleaning, are important for the purpose of quantifying the impact of design deficiencies on calculated condenser performance parameters. With proper condenser monitoring, telltale indicators of these deficiencies are clearly observed and will be presented. An investigation program that identifies the amount of performance loss, and the recoverable portion through condenser modifications, is discussed.

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