Author Topic: Cleaning boiler tubes.  (Read 7738 times)

Offline Gas_mantle

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Cleaning boiler tubes.
« on: January 09, 2018, 01:05:40 PM »
I guess this is going to be a daft question but if you don't know then you don't know.

Is there any sort of cleaning agent that I can use to dissolve away the soot deposits in the tubes of my vertical boiler ?

I am currently cleaning them out after every 2nd firing using a flue brush mounted in my hand drill, it works fine but with 51 tubes to do plus the removal of fittings (or removal from base) to get at them means it's a pain in the ar** type of job :-(

My hope was there was something I could use to flush out the deposits then just use the flue brush periodically ?

Cheers  :)

Offline pgp001

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 01:12:06 PM »
Hang on a minute

who was it not so long ago that was going on and on about how good it is having a proper old smelly noisy dirty coal fired boiler  :LittleDevil:
Looks like you are discovering why most people resort to gas firing  ;D

Phil

Online Jasonb

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 01:22:04 PM »
Does the top cover not come off your boiler so you can poke the brush downwards rather than having to do it from the bottom. They are often only held on with a few screws

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 01:23:12 PM »
Hang on a minute

who was it not so long ago that was going on and on about how good it is having a proper old smelly noisy dirty coal fired boiler  :LittleDevil:
Looks like you are discovering why most people resort to gas firing  ;D

Phil

Aye up, I'm trying to clean it so we can put some of my homemade smelly old coal produced Yorkshire steam through your Croft mill engine  :stir:

Gas firing is for cissies  ;)

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 01:28:29 PM »
Hi Jason,

Yea, I'm taking of the top cover but it involves removing the steam outlet, safety valve, steam blower inlet. It's only a 5 min job to do that but a bit of a nuisance every 2nd firing.

Coming in from the top is easier (or will be when it is base mounted) but has the added problem of some tubes are partly obscured by super heater plumbing, so it's just a general pain of a job.

Offline michaelr

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 02:09:52 PM »
Have a look at this product it may help http://www.flueclear.co.uk/usage_instructions_5.html there are other similar products available.

Mike.

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 02:24:54 PM »
Hi Mike, thanks for that, I hadn't really thought about trying to stop the deposit build up in the first place but it looks to be worth a try  :)

Its actually suprising how much difference in performance there is once the flues start to get constricted. I have been starting the fire using wood because initially I didn't have an electric steam raising blower so that may contribute to the soot build up.

Using wood as I have been, I get 2 sessions of perhaps 1hr each before performance starts to drop, by the 3rd firing it will generate steam but struggles, if I try a 4th session it simply wont fire at all.

Hopefully with a new electric blower I can get things started more efficiently  :)

It's not difficult to see why the railways wanted rid of steam locos as fast as possible  :(

Online Dan Rowe

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 02:56:51 PM »
Charcoal soaked in rubbing alcohol is what the G1 folks use to start a coal fire, might be better than wood.

Cheers Dan
ShaylocoDan

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 03:37:23 PM »
Thanks Dan, I did try some barbeque charcoal soaked in white spirit but wasn't impressed at the time (without an electric blower) so I used wood which will allow the boiler to naturally draught, now with a blower I'll give the charcoal another try  :)

Offline Jo

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2018, 04:52:58 PM »
White Spirit is no good  :ShakeHead: Methylated Spirits is what you need.

And do not use Briquettes :hellno: Lump wood charcoal.

Jo
Enjoyment is more important than achievement.

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2018, 05:02:52 PM »
Thanks Jo, I couldn't get any lump wood charcoal so I bought those barbeque briquette things that look like pony poo and they aren't ideal.

I was told white spirit or paraffin was ok though and I had some spirit on hand.

Online Jasonb

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2018, 05:17:15 PM »
I would go with paraffin over meths. Soak some charcoal in it to get the fire going and then add dry charcoal. You can also soak some split bits of wood in it and use that to get the coal fire going. If you are going to but wood then use hardwood as softwoods like pine will leave a sticky residue in the tubes.

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2018, 05:40:51 PM »
Cheers Jason,

I kinda need to experiment a bit, running a coal boiler is new to me so I'm sort of feeling around in the dark as to what works best.

I was using just household firewood sticks to get it going without an electric blower, that works reasonably well and will allow it to naturally draught but isn't ideal an it eats wood at a phenomenal rate. Once on coal it's a tad easier  :)


Offline Jo

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2018, 05:42:18 PM »
JB have you tried to buy paraffin in a normal hardware store? Meths is always available, BBQ lighter fuel is also ok.

Pony poo is what barbeque briquette burn like :facepalm: After the LUMPWOOD Charcoal a few well dried twigs from around the garden do well before some real lumps of coal  :) You have to burn an amazing amount of wet pine for it to cause creosote.

Jo
Enjoyment is more important than achievement.

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Cleaning boiler tubes.
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2018, 05:54:04 PM »
Does it sound about right that the fire tubes get fully blocked after perhaps 3 hrs of use ?

There are 51 tubes but they are only 5/16ths dia so it doesn't take a lot to start constricting air flow. I think (but not sure) that using poor quality wood without an electric blower generates a lot of soot and is far from ideal but hopefully an electric blower an charcoal will cut down on the soot etc ?