soot removal


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Old 01-13-08, 08:21 PM
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soot removal

We have a 25 year old Super-Hot hot water boiler. Discovered a heavy soot deposit on my boiler tubes during maintenance check. This may have been due to turning the water tmp down . Have removed some of the soot using a rifle cleaning kit. What is the recommended procedure to clean these tubes ? The inside of the boiler may be lined with an asbestos insulation? If the tubes need to be removed from the boiler,this may be a big job. Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 01-13-08, 08:47 PM
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Soot removal is best done with a dry sponge. It is a specially chemically treated sponge that is used like a giant eraser that has the ability to remove soot. These sponges are available at home centers in cleaning aisles.

The first step, of course, is to determine why there is soot and to correct he problem that produced it. The only time I had soot in an older home in a previous life was with an oil burner system that had a cracked combustion chamber.

Our experts here will hopefully be along soon to explain why you have the soot and offer more beneficial suggestions. Soot is not a good indication of the health of your system.
 
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Old 01-14-08, 06:02 AM
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MY primary concern, aside from the soot and perhaps not getting heat, is the ASBESTOS.

If I personally had asbestos in my boiler I would call a boiler servicing company to deal with the situation. Let them determine what needs to be done. YOU don't want to save a few dollars by doing it yourself only to find out that you have been exposed to a dangerous substance.

MOST service technicians are used to knowing what asbestos looks like and what the newer fiberglass material looks like and can USUALLY tell the difference. They look very similar and feel a little different, but stay safe.

When the technician gets there you can casually ask him if it is fiberglass or asbestos. If you tell the person who takes your call of your asbestos concerns they will probably charge you a gazillion dollars.

If you JUST want to clean the tubes, change the filter, screen and nozzle, and NOT go near the asbestos, we can help you here.

Charlie
 
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Old 01-14-08, 02:33 PM
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Called the manufacturer of this boiler and there was no asbestos used . They suggested pressure washing the tubes.This would most likely involve removal of the tubes. What is your suggestion ,Charlie ?
 
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Old 01-14-08, 04:16 PM
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Remove the tubes and get hold of a pressure washer and clean them up. Let them dry real well in the sun or in the garage or something.

The following is GENERIC for ANY oil fired boiler

Now you need to take off the flue pipe, outside top or rear jacket (depending on where the flue is), flue collector, and burner.

BRUSH down, from top to bottom, everything that looks dirty. Make sure that you have your mask on. If your boiler was EXTREMELY sooty you may want to get a better quality mask than the common one available at hardware stores. Make sure that you use a BOILER BRUSH as it does the job it is designed to do on BOILERS. (do not use the boiler brush on your rifle later---hehehehe)

When finished brushing get your trusty shop vac and outfit it with a HEPA filter and vacuum clean inside the boiler, from top to bottom, being EXTRA careful not to damage the combustion chamber material (not asbestos) as it is very fragile and a strong vacuum can easily damage it. INSPECT the combustion chamber to make sure that it is not in need of repair.

BEFORE re-assembly check the nose cone (head) on the end of the blast tube on your burner to make sure that it is intact and not damaged. Clean the little slots on it with a small screwdriver if needed. You may need to replace the paper gasket on the burner plate where the burner gets mounted, OR you may put a thin layer of furnace cement as a substitute. Re-install the burner.

Re-install the tubes, flue collector (may need furnace cement on mating surfaces), and jackets.

Look inside the chimney opening and vacuum the debris pile you see there. Also check for any signs of chimney fragments (firebrick) that may have broken off, dead birds and other animals too. Remove them.

INSPECT the smoke pipe for rot, cracks, holes, thinning. If it needs replacement now is the time to do it. If you replace it, replace the entire smoke pipe and make sure it is at least 26 guage. The LOWER the number the thicker the material. A 22 guage pipe is heavier than a 26 guage one.

Replace the filter, screen, and nozzle. When replacing the filter cartridge also let about a quart of oil out of the line to flush out debris that may have accumulated over time. (this is not possible unless the oil tank is HIGHER than the filter)

AFTER everything is re-assembled do a final safety inspection to make sure you haven't forgotten anything like re-opening the oil valve, etc... and fire her up. You will most likely need to bleed the pump to get it started.

The character of the flame should be different if the boiler was badly sooted up. Now you will need to adjust everything.

Get back to us to let us know how you are making out.

Charlie
 
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Old 01-14-08, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by boilersrus
If you replace it, replace the entire smoke pipe and make sure it is at least 26 guage.
You probably will NOT find 26 (I like 24 ga.) pipe at HD or Lowes by the way. The stuff they sell is usually 30 gauge, and is air conditiong or forced air heating duct. DON'T be tempted to use it! Find a supply house that sells the proper stuff.
 
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Old 01-14-08, 05:12 PM
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These aren't the same tubes as in the big commercial horizontal oil boilers I take it.

Pete
 
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Old 01-14-08, 05:15 PM
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HD sells it where I am at. 26 guage smoke pipe, AND they sell the cheaper stuff for your dryer---like 32 or 34 guage. If you go to a real supply house and ask them for 'smoke pipe' or 'flue pipe' you will get the right stuff.

In case you doubt me call home depot in bay shore, ny 631-666-3800 and find out. ALL Home Depots around here carry 26 guage.

Other parts of the country, like where you are NJT, I am not sure. I heard that some HDs don't even have nozzles in stock! (hehehehe)

Charlie
 
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Old 01-14-08, 05:38 PM
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I was assuming you were talking about an oil-fired boiler and gave you a GENERIC answer,. Looking at 'super-hot' site, I find that you may be referring to a gas fired unit. Which one are you referring to, oil or gas.

TUBES you are referring to make more sense on gas, especially if a small gun cleaning brush is used. (I kinda figured you were talking about the 'old style' baffles when you said 'tubes')

Sorry if I mis understood and thought you were talking about oil.

Help me out here.

Charlie
 
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Old 01-14-08, 06:04 PM
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I looked at the site and could NOT find oil fired so I will assume NOW that you have gas. SAME exact process except that you can leave the part about the burner and oil filter, screen, and nozzle out.

Clean the burner tubes with a fine STEEL or HARD brush. You may want to get one other than the rifle cleaning brush. TAP the burner on a piece of wood and blow it out if you have a compressor handy. A pressure washer or good hose nozzle will help too! Dry thoroughly!

Vacuum inside the combustion chamber area and in the heat exchanger area. There is usually some type of access to clean the heat exchanger with a brush but I am not familiar with 'Super-Hot' so I can't advise you here. ALSO clean by the flue collector.

Re-assemble everything, making super sure that the burner tubes are secured in the rear on the slots and in the manifold with the retaining clips.

Also clean any sensors, thermocouples, etc.... and don't forget the chimney bottom also.

I am not sure if you have spark ignition or HSI, but either way be careful because the ignitors break VERY easily. IF you have standing pilot those are not as delicate.

When finished make sure all the wires are away from the combustion chamber and that the access door is in place BEFORE you turn the unit back on.

Check for leaks if you had to break the service union to get the burner assembly off BEFORE operating unit.

*****BTW------NEXT time, post a thread on the forum dealing specifically with gas fired units so there will be no confusion (on MY part)******

Sorry for the mistake----my apologies
Charlie
 
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Old 01-14-08, 07:29 PM
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Talking

Thanks for your help with my natural gas boiler .Sorry ,should have mentioned that fact first !
The difficult part for me will be to remove the copper fittings from the 2inch NPT in/out boiler tube assembly. Any advise ?
I have a standing pilot. Would there be any advantage to switch to a spark ignition , provided I can ? My daughter keeps mentioning that polar bears will be drowning if I dont go "green" !! . Thanks again , Mike .
 
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Old 01-14-08, 07:48 PM
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Personally, I don't think I would try removing the tubes... especially if it requires disconnecting the water supply. In fact, I'd be surprised if you even COULD remove those tubes...

Clean what you can with brushes...

Inspect the burners REAL well. Since this is a gas burner, the fact that you have soot at all is an indication of a very poor flame. Is the flame all wispy, and yellowy instead of a nice 2 shades of blue ?

You could have a problem with the gas valve, a blockage in the chimney, basically anything that will severly cut down the air going into and out of the combustion chamber.

Do you have CO detectors in the home ? If not, get some SOON !

What is the model of that boiler Newtonian ?
 
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Old 01-14-08, 08:08 PM
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Please read this PDF file !

Newtonian,

This probably is not the exact model of your boiler, but it is your manufacturer, and the cautions in this manual are something you need to read!

You mentioned turning down the temperature... I assume you meant the aquastat ? For what reason ? When you read the PDF pay attention to the section about the cool return water temps, and flue gas condensation.

Super Hot boiler manual

I reiterate my plea for CO detectors.

Turn the water temp back to where it was (should be around 180* or so).

If you can not correct the cause of the poor combustion and the sooting, please call a qualified service technician !
 
 

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