Peerless JOT cleaning question: white scale or ceramic coating?

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Old 11-30-15, 10:25 AM
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Peerless JOT cleaning question: white scale or ceramic coating?

Hi all -

We have a very very old peerless JOT boiler that predates the serial number to build date convention. We are trying to keep it limping along until natural gas comes down the block a bit. Its currently 400 feet away, which means they want $30K to bring it to our house! We're trying to wait until each neighbor switches over.

This is our fourth winter in the house, and we have had the boiler cleaned twice before but skipped last year as we heated primarily by pellet stove. This year I figured I would clean out the boiler, replace the nozzle, electrodes and oil filter myself.

When I got to cleaning out the boiler, and removed the front cleanout panel, I noticed a ton of black soot. Under this soot, there was what looked like hard white deposits, some with traces of red, either rust or oil dye. The stuff crumbled easily with contact by a thin vinyl vacuum hose I was using. It resembled thin crumbling concrete or plaster. Is this normal scale and soot? Or is this some kind of ceramic coating that's crumbling off the boiler block. I can't find any definitive information if there was a coating over the main block in my boiler. I know that the combustion chamber and burner target are asbestos/ceramic, so I wont disturb those. But was there a coating that's flaking off the mail block? Or is my boiler just THAT dirty?

Anyway, I stopped after a few minutes of work in the front cleanout, without even removing the top collector. I don't want to have to replace the oil fired boiler while natural gas is so close but still so far.

Thanks for any suggestions.
 
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Old 11-30-15, 03:26 PM
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Soot and carbon monoxide go together.


Very likely you can continue to use the boiler, but I would definitely have a good repairman come in to inspect and maintain the equipment.

Equipment that is making a lot of soot is a good source of FATALITIES in a house....
 
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Old 11-30-15, 03:38 PM
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scale

Hi, there is no ceramic coating as far as I know. The scale and/or soot is from oil combustion that may be fairly normal, or may be out of adjustment. This is why a yearly visit from a qualified tech is recommended- to clean everything and to adjust the burner to minimize the formation of soot. Newer boiler / burners are designed to minimize these problems- I wish natural gas was that close to me! Steve
 
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Old 11-30-15, 04:01 PM
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Thanks. I understand the dangers of CO poisoning, but I don't smell anything! Joking aside I have no fewer than 5 co alarms in the house.

I think the boiler is either dirty from skipping last season's cleaning, or the last tech didn't do anything but a basic vacuum out the front of the cleanout. The boiler has only had maybe 800 gallons through it since last cleaning. But the soot isn't what concerns me, its the hard as concrete scale in there. Perhaps the fact that the boiler doesn't run as frequently as it shoulddue to the pellet stove is causing condensation issues. Either way, I will continue cleaning the rest of it out and see how it goes. After a couple weeks, if I see a substantial soot accumulation, I'll call in a pro.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 06:12 AM
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I understand the dangers of CO poisoning, but I don't smell anything!
Good that you have the detectors... but...

Please understand that CO is called the "SILENT KILLER" because it is colorless and ODORLESS. You won't smell it when it sneaks up on you in the night and you wake up dead.

The SOOT is a sure sign of improper combustion. There will normally be SOME, but only a little... and it shouldn't coat everything... you will see it in the corners and here and there... traces of it...

The white stuff is indication that there is flue gas condensation occurring inside the boiler and forming the white flakes (and sometimes ROCKS) of Sulfur, and other stuff. The red flakes are the dye in the fuel oil after being burned. It is also depositing because there is some condensation of the flue gases.

Unless the amount of red and white that you see is truly excessive, I don't think I would be concerned with that very much, but the SOOT is an issue that needs to be corrected.
 
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Old 12-02-15, 06:33 AM
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Thanks for the reply NJT. The comment about smelling CO was a joke, obviously in bad taste, but I did try to identify it as such.

Perhaps I should have taken pictures of it instead of describing it with poor words. The bulk of the soot was up against the cleanout door, and a light coating over the rest of the fins of the main block. The boiler didn't seem to be choked with soot. No more than what I normally vacuum out of my pellet stove after a couple of days, really, assuming thats an analogy familiar to you. But there were a lot of deposits and crust. I would not be surprised if the curst was affecting airflow through the boiler, possibly exacerbating the situation, causing it to run even richer.

Anyway, Once I have the boiler properly cleaned out, and de-crusted, I will monitor any soot accumulation on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. If it still seems to be running rich, Ill call in a professional. And not one of the clowns that hardly bothered to clean the boiler last time.
 
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