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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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    When the ambient temperature has been cool, and then it shifts back to warm, the water jacket is going to act like a condenser and water is going to form from the humid air passing across it. The more air passing across it, the more water will form. Limiting the amount of humid air passing across it will reduce the amount of water formed.

    When the water jacket is warmer, and the air is cooler and dryer, the water will evaporate from it. It will requires less dry air to evaporate the water formed during the other phases.

    Using a water displacing coating, after cleaning the surface as thoroughly as possible, should prevent most rust as the water will be pushed off the surface, out of the crevices, and then sealed.

    A moisture collecting chemical drying agent will pull moisture from the air that manages to get into the firebox.

    After cleaning the firebox completely, might turn the circulator on and let the oil burner heat the firebox to 180 degrees, then coat it.

    ;)

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  2. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    those strips are cool for sure

    But wouldn't a simple trouble light placed in the fire box with a 25 or 40 watt rough service bulb do the same for less?
  3. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Yep!
  4. sfriedri

    sfriedri New Member

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    Come on now, I understand the process of condensation and evaporation - this is trivial. What is not trivial is estimating the rate of these processes in different scenarios and then estimating the time-averaged moisture levels, and I don't think you have offered a good argument that supports using "some" airflow, whatever some happens to be, over a completely open system. In my experience having a partially open system (not necessarity a boiler) that allows air and moisture to enter and be trapped is more problematic than having a completely open system, and the EKO manual recommendation seems to back me up on that experience. Also, I am not discounting the value of coatings, I'm just implying that you can't put them on without eliminating moisture first and expect them to be better than no coating at all.
  5. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    Come on now, I understand the process of condensation and evaporation - this is trivial. What is not trivial is estimating the rate of these processes in different scenarios and then estimating the time-averaged moisture levels, and I don't think you have offered a good argument that supports using "some" airflow, whatever some happens to be, over a completely open system. In my experience having a partially open system (not necessarity a boiler) that allows air and moisture to enter and be trapped is more problematic than having a completely open system, and the EKO manual recommendation seems to back me up on that experience. Also, I am not discounting the value of coatings, I'm just implying that you can't put them on without eliminating moisture first and expect them to be better than no coating at all.[/quote]

    I'd never venture to tell you what to do with your boiler. :) "A man's got to do what a man's got to do."

    I gave my opinion. It was free, and freely given. Last time I looked, Ontario, Canada was well inland and not subject to salt smell and large fluctuations in temperature and humidity, as seen closer to the coast. Done enough, and redone enough, body work over the years to have a passing familiarity with the expression, "If you don't want to see it, don't paint over it... clean it off." If you seal water in there, it's going to rust.

    For reference, I would look at information regarding humidity and moisture in basements and differing opinions on whether opening cellar windows in summer to "reduce moisture" is a good idea. Most "experts" suggest allowing humid summer air to enter the basement, where the buried cellar walls will generally be 45 to 50 degrees most of the summer regardless, isn't a good idea. So far as the ECO, don't know much about it. Never seen one, and don't know if there is refractory material lining it, or the heat exchanger, tubes, or anything else. I have a bare metal water jacket the fire hits directly on... shouldn't be too hard to clean and dry well, and coat if I decide to with whatever I decide to use based on others' recommendations and practices.

    But in the end, if it's in your basement, you have to decide what you are going to do with it. Nobody else, as you're going to be dealing with it if it's wrong or damaged, not them. There likely isn't a "best practice" for "every boiler" in "every cellar". Too much variability in cellars and boilers... ;)
  6. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    That wouldn't exist if the best answer was to simply throw open the windows and let her rip... no one would buy such a thing, or design it. They'd just open the windows and leave them open until fall.
  7. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    The collective underwear is getting in a knot awfully quickly here, folks!

    Perhaps someone should ask folks like Bioheat or Econoburn what they recommend in terms of both preventive measures and the amount of angst spent on this.

    I have a hard time thinking that wood residues are worse than the sulfur-laden combustion residues that were the norm for fuel oil until some time in the last year or two...

    Cellar temperatures and moisture levels do vary tremendously from one site to another.

    In my case, I used to throw open cellar windows until an astute friend pointed out that warm outdoor humid air hitting cold cellar contents = condensation, and that by leaving the cellar closed on all but the most bone-dry days, at least I was limiting the moisture entry associated with the airborne humidity.
  8. sfriedri

    sfriedri New Member

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    I'm not trying to draw this out any more than it has already, but where was it that we were talking about a boiler in a cellar? I don't see it anywhere except in your quote above. If you're comparing a freestanding boiler to a cellar, these are two different things with different characteristics. Closing the windows in a cellar prevents air from getting in, but closing the door on a boiler does not.

    The EKO is the same as most other downdraft gassifier boilers (Econoburn, Tarm, Biomass, etc.). I just spoke with a technician at Cozy Heat about preparing a boiler for the off-season. Given the choice between leaving the door open or closed he recommended leaving the door open during the off-season to help ventilation and said the only reason people may keep the door closed is because it gets in their way when it is open. He said that the boiler is open to the air through the chimney and air intake anyway, so closing the door does not prevent any air or moisture from getting in.

    Just trying to get the facts.
  9. twitch

    twitch Member

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    OK, so here is the shutdown procedure from the Tarm manual. This is from the older manual, and not the new one, but I'd guess it was the same. I'd also add (at least for my Tarm) to remove the fan and put insulation in the intake duct as well.

    Attached Files:

  10. sfriedri

    sfriedri New Member

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    Makes sense to me. If you are going to try to close off the boiler it has to be completely closed. Thanks for the info.
  11. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    Draw it out... :) It's how we learn.

    I assumed folks knew what a New Yorker wood/coal boiler was, and where it lived. Learning the facts of a situation can assist in forming a judgement about it. It can also illustrate the maxim that there is no "perfect" practice for "every" boiler, "anywhere".

    The water jacket in this particular boiler, as well as any other with a water jacket, makes it resistant to temperature change. It'll stay cool long after the air becomes warmer and more humid... kind of like the walls of a basement.... ?

    If I remove my fan, the smokepipe, as in the Tarm manual above, and put insulation in the holes... it's going to be pretty airtight from an "air exchange" perspective. It might not "hold pressure" or be "watertight" sealed, but little air exchange will happen.

    Forming the plan as I read and write.

    Thanks.
    :)

    Leon


  12. sfriedri

    sfriedri New Member

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    Sorry, I did not know that all New Yorker boilers were installed in cellars. :)
  13. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I followed the Tarm manual procedure after last year's heating season. Just scraped the "loose" creosote off, vacuumed, etc. When I inspected the firebox at the start of this year's heating season, it looked identical to the way it looked after cleaning and shutdown the previous spring. I didn't use the light bulb idea.

    This year I will do the same, except that after cleaning and before sealing, I will circulate some warm storage tank water through the boiler to warm it well to evaporate off any ambient moisture; then seal up the chimney collar and the draft fan port. Last year I used a tight wad of fiberglass insulation to seal up the chimney collar, then put a plastic bag over the opening, and sealed that to the chimney collar with a heavy rubber band. For the draft fan port I stuffed a rag into the port and again sealed with a plastic bag.
  14. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    I now am planning to buy some metal protector (MP) from Amsoil to spray the inside of my firebox with. it looks like good stuff based on what I have read about it. It is good for protecting guns, and recomended for boats in salt or fresh water, I'll let you know what happens.
  15. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking the two keys to all metal protectorants for a boiler are first, to keep water vapor off the underlying metal and second the protectorant itself being nonreactive with creosote to form an acid. It's hard for me to find a downside if these are met.
  16. Mack The Knife

    Mack The Knife New Member

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    I was actually thinking about why can't desiccant bags be used? These are the moisture absorbers used in storage electronic component shipments. They can be purchased in 4" X 6" bags. When they are "saturated" you just bake them out to reactivate.
    Any input?? Comments??
  17. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    Part of my plan... scrape and brush as clean as I can. Turn on circulator and let the oil burner heat the wood/coal boiler up. Shut it off... brush with paint brush and mineral oil based 90 wt. Place baffle in bottom of boiler firebox and stuff chimney outlet with pink... remove blower motor and stuff hole with pink.

    Placed bucket of desiccant on grate, check monthly...

    Reverse procedure, in the fall unstuff pink, replace baffle, light fire...


  18. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Lamping a simple trouble light with a 40 watt bulb and placing it in the fire box would be more cost effective and trouble free.
  19. Rugar

    Rugar Member

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    store your welding rods in with the 40 watt bulb and everything will be nice. Rods will weld better. Sounds like a good simple way to protect boiler.
  20. Piker

    Piker Minister of Fire

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    Is one 40 watt bulb for both chambers of a gasser adequate, or would you have to put a 20watt bulb in each of them?

    cheers
  21. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    My guess would be 1 ...40 watt light bulb ( or lower) in the lower chamber would be adequate. I'll never forget the time I accidentally left the light in my hot tub on for 24 hours. Dipping my foot in without checking the temperature proved painful. The temperature of the water was 6* above set temp. Don't remember the water capacity but it was a 6 person tub. Any temperature above ambient should be adequate.
  22. jdeere5220

    jdeere5220 New Member

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    My boiler manual (Maxim) says to leave the water in the boiler all summer. It's an open system with some corrosion preventer added to the water. Sound right to you guys?

    I've used some stuff called "Anti-Creo-Soot" to get rid of the tar left by burning wood pellets. It works great, basically turns the tar into crumbly dust after you burn it for a couple days. I'm burning corn now but this stuff helped a lot when I was burning pellets.

    How long do you guys keep your boiler running? I'm pretty much sitting idle for 10 hours a day now, so my efficiency isn't too good. Is the end of March a typical shut-down time in Michigan? Would you turn your corn-burner off during the day and fire it back up at night? Just wondering.
  23. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    Weather here turns overnight... one day it's warm and don't need it, next day it's cold and burning oil all day. Today I am running the fireplace insert and the boiler is down. Heating my apartment, entire first floor, with the insert. Boiler's been quiet since the showers stopped in the apartments upstairs.

    I have one bag of coal left... and about a cord of weed....

    Should be all set.


  24. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    :)

    Got to watch the fingers... a cord of wood... not "weed".

    Sun's out, but it's not quite 35 degrees today.


    [quote author="LeonMSPT" date="1237234882"]Weather here turns overnight... one day it's warm and don't need it, next day it's cold and burning oil all day. Today I am running the fireplace insert and the boiler is down. Heating my apartment, entire first floor, with the insert. Boiler's been quiet since the showers stopped in the apartments upstairs.

    I have one bag of coal left... and about a cord of weed....

    Should be all set.
  25. jdeere5220

    jdeere5220 New Member

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    Yeah, that would be a lot of weed all right. Guess you would be all set!
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