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Tobacco: Tobacco Barn Retrofit

Heat Exchanger Information

Detecting Heat Exchanger Leaks

Problems with Heat Exchangers

A lot of tobacco has now been successfully cured in retrofitted barns. Many growers are reporting only a small or insignificant increase in fuel use and are pleased with the quality of the cured tobacco. The drier heat in a heat exchanger barn (direct fired barns dump over 1 gallon of water into the barn for each gallon of fuel used) has probably resulted in less down stalk barn rot than would have occurred in this rather wet year.

As more and more tobacco is cured in heat exchanger barns, we have occasionally heard of some problems possibly associated with heat exchangers. These have included barn fires, improper fuel/air adjustments, igniter problems, under capacity and some problems with barn rot.

If you are aware of such problems, we would appreciate an e-mail describing the situation and as much information as possible.

E-mail Paul Sumner at or J. Michael Moore at

Curing Tobacco with Heat Exchangers

North Carolina State Heat Exchanger Plans

Courtesy of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at NC State. The plans are provided for educational use only.