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Ludell Manufacturing Co. - Save Time and Money With 99% Efficient Water Heating

Heating water with Ludell Direct Contact Water Heaters are so fast, so efficient and so much simpler to operate and maintain than traditional boiler systems, it's surprising everyone doesn't use them.

They work so well for the ready mix industry, according to Don Betts, General Manager at Ludell Manufacturing, he has to show a potential buyer one of his company's water heaters in action just once -- and the current operator of the heater handles the sales pitch for him.

"I don't have to do any talking," laughed Betts. "They'll basically do the sale."

Direct contact water heaters operate without the use of intermediate heat exchangers that exchange hot gas temperature from burners to water; Ludell's heaters bring the water temperature up directly with the burners' hot product of combustion.

"If you can envision sort of how an oven works, you get the idea," said Betts. "If you have an oven that uses natural gas or propane, the gas that's burned mixes the hot product of combustion from that burner with whatever's in the oven."

If you're cooking a pizza, or baking bread, you're actually heating the food with the hot products of combustion of the burner, there is no use of an intermediate heat exchanger. Ludell's direct contact heaters operate under a similar principle.

"As the water is coming down across the heater, across all this stainless steel heat transfer material, the hot gases are trying to escape upward, directly heating the water cascading down," said Betts, adding that Ludell designs a variety of different size heaters depending upon a customers' needs. "But it doesn't matter if it’s 15 gallons per minute, or 500 gallons per minute, we're heating it in a matter of seconds. It's an extremely, extremely efficient system."

So efficient, according to Betts, that their customers generally save 20-40% on energy costs, depending upon what the Ludell direct contact water heater system is replacing.

"Some of the exhaust temperatures on those old systems can exceed 500 degrees Fahrenheit going out the exhaust stack," said Betts. "That's very inefficient, they are wasting energy by heating the atmospheric air instead of the water -- we're talking somewhere in the 60-65% efficiency range. When we've got water coming to our equipment at 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, our exhaust stack temperatures are generally less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature you can run your hand over the exhaust stack, and you're not going to get burned; it's 99% efficient."

Ludell's durable stainless steel direct contact water heaters are built for longevity, take up a lot less space than a traditional boiler system, do not require chemically treated water, have no heat exchanger tubes to rod-out, and operate under atmospheric pressure -- e.g., zero psi. That alleviates the need for ASME code stamps and licensed boiler operators, and makes the system inherently safer to run. Moreover, thanks to the high efficiency operation, with less exhaust going up the stack, you've got fewer pollutants as well -- making the system ideal for areas with tight emission control regulations.

"We've got a range of water heater sizes, small systems that are about 1 million BTUs per hour, and they can go into paver operations or small ready mix producers that do two or three concrete trucks an hour," said Betts. "We've also supplied larger systems up to 10-12 million BTUs per hour, which can easily handle 25-30 trucks an hour out of bigger facilities." Ludell can design a system to meet any water heating requirement.

Many natural gas supply companies also offer significant rebates for switching over to more efficient industrial equipment like Ludell's direct contact water heaters -- made right in Milwaukee. For more information on the best industrial water heaters on the market today, visit