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End of season cleaning and idle boiler care

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by LeonMSPT, Mar 9, 2009.

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  1. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    Tried this over to NEPA, didn't make much headway. Got recommendations to use stuff similar to WD-40 and the like.

    Original question was regarding New Yorker's WC90 owners manual...

    says... well, look at it yourself.

    "Neutral mineral oil."

    I know of mineral oil from the pharmacy that makes you poop. I know of mineral oil that goes in transmissions, hydraulic clutches, and rear ends, as well as steam engines... never heard of "neutral" mineral oil...

    Recommendations?

    I am going to clean it good, and then coat it with something. Haven't figured out what yet.

    Thinking WD-40 like stuff has a flash point that is a bit lower than any "mineral oil". No "BOOMS" allowed unless it's coal gas doing it. :)

    Thanks,
    Leon

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  2. Piker

    Piker Minister of Fire

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    It's definitely very important to remove all loose ash and creosote from the boiler at the end of the season. Ash if left to sit over the summer will draw damp. The moisture will mix with the acid in the ash and creosote and start corrosion. The thick tarry stuff doesn't seem to pose a threat as there likely isn't any moisture behind it.

    I too have been throwing around the idea of coating the inside of the boilers with something. I tried to buy some mineral oil at wal mart once, but it said "lubricant laxative" and I just couldn't take it to the checkout. That's the kind of stuff I let the better half take care of. Not all that thrilled about coating the inside of a customer's boiler with something quite that flammable either.

    I will be interested to see what folks have come up with.

    cheers
  3. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    MSDS on mineral oil:

    Fire:
    Flash point: 135C (275F) CC
    Autoignition temperature: 260 - 370C (500 - 698F)
    Combustible Liquid and Vapor!
    Explosion:
    Not considered to be an explosion hazard.

    MSDS on LP3 stuff recommended over to NEPA, by some members

    Flash Point: < 21°C (70°F) concentrate

    I have to choose between the two for something to put inside a boiler, mineral oil is going to be it. Just asking if anyone else has any experience with it? Did they buy laxative, or did they buy "compressor oil" at NAPA, or another auto parts store?

    Leon


  4. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Baby oil is mineral oil with a fragrance. I won't point and laugh when you take that to the check-out! :lol:
  5. Piker

    Piker Minister of Fire

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    Yep, I figured that out and that's what I bought for treating the door seal on the Econoburn. Smells nice.

    While baby oil might not be an explosion hazzard, it is pretty flammable. I might give it a shot myself, but at this point I am not sure i want to recommend it to customers.

    Any other ideas?

    cheers
  6. cguida

    cguida New Member

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    Didn't the old timers coat their stoves with bacon grease to prevent rust when they weren't using them for a long time?
  7. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Maybe just paint with used motor oil. when you have the first fire it might smoke alittle but will soon be gone.
    leaddog
  8. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I haven't yet decided what I am going to coat the log chamber with but I am going to scrape all the tar off just in case there are bad things in it. I found that just a small amount of heat from a propane or Mapp torch softens it and it is easily scraped off. Before coating , I am considering spraying something to neutralize such as baking soda or equivalent.
  9. Piker

    Piker Minister of Fire

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    I wonder if the oil would have a negative effect on the refractory material in the boilers. Any ideas on that? Not that you would be coating the refractories, but what if you spilled some? Would it matter?

    cheers
  10. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Maybe we can get some input from Chris H at Bioheat as to what that company (which has been in the high-end wood boiler field as long or longer than anyone else on this continent) recommends or has observed about "mothballing" boilers during warm weather.

    Once I get my storage running, I plan to heat DHW with the wood, too, and so I won't be mothballing mine for extended periods in any event.
  11. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I think the mineral based oil they talk about means it has no detergent additives. I don't care if it WD-40 or what. After months of lay up the flammable light ends would be long gone. Then a good purging would be all that is possibly needed. Expect some smoke at start up.

    Mike
  12. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Another idea for those of you looking to mothball your boilers to protect them from moisture and corrosion during the non-heating season.

    There's a product know as Boeshield T-9
    http://www.boeshield.com/
    that is easy to apply (especially in the aerosol form, although you could also buy the bulk jug and put it in a hand sprayer)

    part of the formula is a carrier that will evaporate to a limited degree, but part of the contents form a rather tenacious and slightly waxy film that will adhere and creep across a surface, so that even places that are missed will end up coated.

    I've tried all sorts of lubricants, water repellents, penetrants, etc., on mechanical and other projects, and the Boeshield is by far my favorite for covering ferrous metal with a moisture-repelling and corrosion-preventative layer, it's also quite good at lubricating moving parts. Seems like you could get an aerosol can of it and wave it around the surfaces of a gasifier's upper and lower fireboxes, then pull the back and hit the mechanisms and fire tubes, and be done in a lot less time than brushing something on.
  13. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    One mistake I made when I had my Wood Gun was That I was just using the hot water coil to pre-heat the DHW before it entered my DHW tank. After the heating season I didn't re-route the incoming water and was cooling the boiler water all summer, causing condensation on the log chamber surface. NOT GOOD! Be sure there is nothing cooling your boiler water. I don't recall who told me, but it was someone in the business that someone kept a light-bulb burning in the chamber.

    CZARCAR,
    Are you saying that baking soda and acid will produce salt? I hadn't considered using oven cleaner since the surface will be pretty clean after scraping. I will be coating after experimenting with something to neutralize but don't know what yet. Leaning toward motor oil. WD -40 and mineral oil evaporate quite rapidly. If you can get your hands on a solvent that will dissolve paraffin wax you could spray the solution on the surface and the solvent will evaporate, leaving the wax behind. Or better yet, it could be all done for you. If you can locate an "oil based" stain that has paraffin, you could apply that.
  14. timberr

    timberr Member

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    I was planning on using a tourch and scrapper to remove creosote then jsy using high temp blakc spray paint to paint the metal. After the paint dries it is not volitil, Bare metal is protected.
  15. Piker

    Piker Minister of Fire

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    I think I like the idea.. just wondering what the chances are of the paint not sticking, and then moisture getting behind it.

    pybyr's stuff looks pretty good too.

    I was worried that whatever you spray in there would then ignite next fall in a fiery eyebrow melting inferno... but if all the volatile stuff evaporates out, then wd or some oil based spray should be ok and relatively safe?

    Maybe overthinking this?
    cheers
  16. wantstoburnwood

    wantstoburnwood Member

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    Keep me up to date on this . I am very interested in coating the inside of my boiler when shut down for the summer
  17. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    WD-40 evaporates, pretty quickly, to a pretty huge degree; I've been disappointed when I've relied on it for long-term corrosion protection.

    I don't think I'd want to use paint, as I think it would then leave some amount of solids on or in the boiler, at least in places, which may build up over the years, and which could be as bad (corrosivity-wise) as the combustion residues you're trying to protect from.

    With the Boeshield, I think one could run the blower periodically over the summer to keep the fumes driven out, then run the blower for a while before the first fire in the fall to purge the fumes before loading and lighting.

    Actually, now that I think of it, raw linseed oil has been used for centuries to protect metal from corrosion. Residues should burn off OK, and I'd think in a non-explosive manner (flash point temp is pretty high). You'd want to put it on thin and avoid puddling, as it can gum when in thick layers. Perhaps use a hand-held sprayer. Wipe up any puddles with paper towels or rags, and get rid of any rags carefully, so as to avoid spontaneous combustion of any rags or paper towels.

    With thinking, as with so many other things, anything worth doing is worth overdoing, or so, apparently, said Mick Jagger....
  18. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

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    Baking soda is Sodium bi carbonate. But besides that, I have heard of just putting a small light bulb in the boiler to maintain a slight temp to keep the moisture from condensing. Don't know if it works but would be easy.
  19. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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  20. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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  21. Piker

    Piker Minister of Fire

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    Wow, thanks so much for offering that up. I think this stuff is exactly what I am looking for. A non flammable "cup" that you sit inside the boiler for the off season is about as easy and safe as it gets.

    Machinists use similar stuff to keep their expensive tooling from rusting inside their toolboxes. Never put the two together.

    cheers
  22. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I thought of you when I posted. Having been in business all my life, I know it doesn't hurt to get an extra $12.00 on an invoice.
  23. sfriedri

    sfriedri New Member

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    I may have missed it in other replies, or it could just be obvious, but keeping the combustion doors open or just removing them altogether for the off-season is also important. This will help prevent moisture from building up during the off-season. I think just giving the entire boiler a good internal cleaning and then removing the doors will prevent the majority of corrosion.
  24. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    With the vast fluctuations in temperature and humidity here in Maine during the spring, summer, and fall... I think allowing "some" airflow through the firebox is a good idea. However, completely open doesn't sound great either... coating it, adding a drying agent like calcium whatever the heck it is, or a light bulb/goldenrod, and slight airflow would be the right thing...



  25. sfriedri

    sfriedri New Member

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    Don't understand how you think that allowing some(?) airflow is better than completely open access. The chambers are not airtight, so you can't prevent any moisture in the air from getting in, but by having the chambers open you do prevent moisture from building up. Just as an FYI, the EKO manual specifies that the doors should be left open in the off-season to minimize corrosion. One further point is that you have to be careful applying coatings that you don't trap moisture under the coating, which would actually cause more corrosion than if there was no coating at all. A lightbulb or small fan is a good idea as long as you don't mind the electricity consumption.
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