Condenser Plug Change Out


In a generating station, any forced outage is costly, especially at the peak of the generating season.  All plants that support the base load of energy need to do everything possible to maximize uptime.

As an example of the costs associated with unplanned outages, a Coal-Fired Generation Plant incurred almost $10.9 million in losses due to almost 1369 hours (over 8 weeks) of downtime due to process water contamination.  Causes for the failures were varied but one of the single largest (34%) was due to the failure of previously installed rubber condenser plugs!

These outages call for the pro-active change out of old rubber/elastomer tube plugs to the Pop-A-Plug® System for reliable, permanent and easy sealing of leaking and degraded tube plugs.

The Pop-A-Plug® is proven to provide the lowest lifecycle cost for all types of plug systems used in heat exchanger maintenance.

All Pop-A-Plug® kits are readily available with 24/7 emergency service available for any unplanned outage that may arise – anywhere. EST Group also offers outage job box kits for large plants needing a variety of plugs for their condenser systems.

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Condenser Plug Change Out – PDF

How they work – the engineered solution

The Pop-A-Plug’s® unique patented pin/ring seal design is constructed of the same material as the tube metal and provides a reliable helium leak-tight seal. Installation is always a precisely controlled and repeatable process. Also important, Pop-A-Plugs are acceptable for use in coated tubes and coated tubesheets with no damage to the tubes or the sheets.


Safe installation, safe use and long life

Pop-A-Plug® CPI/Perma plugs are rated at 1000 psig (69Barg) for safe consistent plugging. And since the plug material is always matched to the tube material, thermal expansion is always consistent between the tube and the plug, eliminating the opportunity for thermally induced leaks. In addition, the installation tooling is designed for easy use to reduce fatigue and minimize the need to enter confined spaces to do the repair work, and no welding of any kind is ever required!

Operational Benefits

Tube Size 3/4” through 11/4” (19.05mm to 31.75mm)

Tube Length 20 to 150 ft. (6.1 to 45.7m)

Tube Quantity 8,000 to 40,000 tubes

Tube Material Copper based alloys, Austenitic and Super Austenitic Stainless Steels, Ferritic Stainless Steels, Titanium

  • Metal to metal seal will not leak or degrade like elastomer plugs
  • Plug material matches tube material – preventing thermal expansion and contraction issues and undesirable galvanic interaction
  • Helium leak tight seal to 1 x 10-6 cc/sec
  • Engineered solution – installed with controlled force eliminating ligament and/or roll joint damage
  • Lowest life-cycle cost compared to alternative tube plugging methods
  • Hydraulic installation significantly reduces turnaround/down time
  • Eliminates need for welding or explosives

Top 5 Reasons to Replace Elastomer/Polymer Plugs with Pop-A-Plug® Tube Plugs

  1. You have leaking condenser plugs resulting in cooling water inleakage, causing increased forced outage hours
  2. You have experienced increased water chemistry costs attributed to inleakage
  3. You have had secondary equipment failures caused by inleakage
  4. You have incurred increased costs to identify leaking or compromised tube plugs
  5. You have had Loss of Offsite Power (LOOP) events (Nuclear Power Plants) and the elastomer plugs you are using are degrading and expelling

Quality Assurance / Product Approvals

Material Traceability – full material traceability on each individual plug

Manufactured in an ISO 9001:2015 registered facility

Third party evaluation and approval by TUV and others

Meets or exceeds EPRI Condenser Plug Selection Criteria2

US Navy Approved – Quality Program to Navy Level 1

Canadian CRN approvals

Meets ASME PCC-2 Article 3.12 requirements and ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes

Compliant with several QA Systems, including; ANSI N45.2,NQA-1, 10 CFR 50 App. B, 10 CFR 21, and TÜV Rheinland



Condenser Plug Change Out
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Esco Ground Millhog Series

Pop-A-Plug® CPI/Perma
Medium Pressure

Repair Leaking or Degraded Heat Exchanger and Condenser Tubes

Esco Ground Millhog Series

P2 High

Permanently Seal Leaking Heat Exchanger Tubes Without Welding Or Explosives

Esco Ground Millhog Series

Pop-A-Plug® Boiler Tube

Make Boiler Repairs Faster & Easier – Reduce Downtime, Eliminate Welding, Save Money

Esco Ground Millhog Series

Pop-A-Plug® Tube

Effectively Stabilizes Weakened Or Fractured Heat
Exchanger Tubes

Esco Ground Millhog Series

G-160 Tube Testing Tool

Locate Pinhole Leaks with a Safe & Reliable Leak Detector


Vacuum Tube Testing Gun G-250

Quickly seal off and evacuate individual heat exchanger tubes to test the tube for leakage


G-650 Vacuum Joint Testing Gun

Quickly Seal Off And Evacuate Individual Heat Exchanger Tubes To Test The Tube For Leakage


Pop-A-Plug® System Ram Packages

Installs Pop-A-Plug® Tube Plugs Quickly, Safely and Easily


Pop-A-Plug® Manual Installation Tools

For Fast, Reliable Installations – No Air Or Electricity Needed


Pop-A-Plug® Removal Tool

For Fast, Reliable Removals – No Air Or Electricity Needed


Hydra-Loc® Tube Sleeving

Repairing Tubes… For A Fraction Of The Cost Of Retubing


Pop-A-Plug® Air-Cooled Heat Exchanger Tube Plugging System Fin Fan Coolers