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A heat exchanger is a device that transfers heat between two mediums, without causing those two mediums to meet. A classic example is a typical radiator; here, hot water flows through a metal chamber, where heat is exchanged into the air outside. A heat exchanger is used within boilers to transfer heat to the hot water pipes, so the gas flame has no direct contact with the hot water pipes. In hard water areas, these can become coated with scale, which reduces their ability to transfer heat.