How to Clean Boiler Tubes

  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Warm water

While a boiler is a great way of providing and distributing heat for your home, there are many things that can reduce its efficiency. One of these is dirty tubes. Boiler tubes can gradually fill up with soot and waste products, making it burn fuel less efficiently, costing you money on your energy bills and wasting energy. You can prevent this by keeping your boiler tubes clean, which is relatively simple. What follows should give you everything you need to know to get your boiler tubes as clean as they were when you first got them.

Step 1 - Prepare Your Boiler

Before you do anything, in the interest of safety you need to turn off your boiler. Do this using the emergency shutoff switch. It should be located on the face of the boiler. Once you've done this, wait for the boiler to cool down entirely.

When the boiler has cooled down completely, meaning it's turned off and cool to the touch, lay down old newspapers on the floor to protect it from oil, soot, and anything else that could stain it.

Step 2 - Access the Tubes

man working on a boiler

Now that your boiler is safe to open and your work area is prepared, you can begin. Remove the cover on the front. This will expose the vent stack. Remove it as well, exposing the heat exchanger, burner assembly, and tubes. This is what you're looking for. Use your brush to go over everything that's exposed. You should be able to remove a fair amount of waste material this way. However, the inside of your tubes is still dirty.

Step 3 - Remove the Tubes

Remove the entire burner assembly. Exactly how you do this will vary depending on your particular boiler. Sometimes, the entire thing will be one unit. In other cases, each burner will be a separate unit. If it's the former, unscrew the assembly, then disconnect the pilot feed line with your wrench. If it's the latter, use the clip at the front to disconnect your burner assembly from the boiler.

Step 4 - Clean the Tubes

person adjusting boiler knob

Once your burner assembly is separate, clean out the edges of your tubes with the brush and tap them lightly on the ground to allow any debris you've freed to come out. Once you have done this to your satisfaction, it's time to clean out the bits you can't reach.

Either way, once you have the entire burner assembly separate and outside of your boiler, you can rinse it out with warm water. This is the best way to keep the tubes on the inside clean.

Step 5 - Put it Back Together

Once you've cleaned out your tubes thoroughly, you need to put them back. Reverse all of the steps you have taken previously. Once the cover is closed, light the pilot light again. In recent models, this will only involve a switch, but if your boiler is older you must do this manually.