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Seton tube cleaning

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by mole, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. mole

    mole Member

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    Loc:
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    About 3 times a season I take the back off my Seton and clean the back tubes that I ca View attachment 93487 nt reach from the front of the boiler. This was a nasty 4 hour job the first time I did it. I've been trying to improve on the cleaning time since then. Last night I set a personal best time of 45 minutes from the time I cracked the first nut until ready to burn again. Here's what's changed:
    1) no creosote - storage, no cycling, and 2-3 year dried wood have eliminated creosote. So there's no tube scraping needed, just dusting.
    2) good bristle brush. Grainger sells a 27" long twisted wire brush thats 2"diam and has a 6" long section of bristles. (Tough Guy 3EDP6). This worked well on the back and its even better for cleaning the overhead tubes from the front. The long, fairly strong handle can be bent to reach most of the way down the vertical section of tubes.
    3) I use aluminum foil tape to seal the holes around the water return instead of silicone.

    I took a picture of the tubes and brush after dusting.

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  2. mole

    mole Member

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    here's the pic. just thought this might be useful to other Seton owners.

    Attached Files:

  3. Pat53

    Pat53 Minister of Fire

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    Looks fantastic Mole! Cleaning Seton type boilers is one of the absolute worst jobs imaginable.

    When you burn, are you burning a complete load of wood with basically nothing left? Or are you able to stir up hot coals to rekindle the next fire?

    Pat
  4. mole

    mole Member

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    Yeah, it's a real sucky job. My wife always laughs at me when I come upstairs from cleaning it. It reminds her of Burt from Mary Poppins! I make a hot fire in the evening that burns hot for 4-6hrs, then I let it burn out as the tank comes up to temperature. I never have any coals from the day before. I rake the ashes to the front of the boiler before each fire and empty it frequently so there's little ashes for any coals to hide in. I feed wood into the fire every half hour to hour maybe, trying to maintain a stack temp of 450-550 deg, rather than burning a "batch" of wood at a time as a lot of people do with these things. I think it burns cleaner if you keep the temp up.
  5. Pat53

    Pat53 Minister of Fire

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    Indeed, keep these units burning hot and you'll keep the creosote to a minimum. I wish I had at least 1000 gallons of storage, but I only have 500 so I have to do 2 burns a day and usually have some coals left to start with. I think even having the coals or charred wood left in the fire box smoldering for 6-8 hours leads to some build-up on the tubes.

    What temperature do you top out at and what temp do you re-fire at? My setpoint is at 195F and re-fire at 155F.

    Pat
  6. mole

    mole Member

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    Yeah, that's exactly what I found, Pat. Anything more than a few smouldering coals seems to make a little buildup on the tubes. I typically fire at about 135-140 bottom tank temp and top out at in the 170-175 range (EPDM liner). Once in a while I screw up and still have a fire going when I reach 175. That's when I ask my wife to "take one for the team"...so she fills up the jacuzzi tub and takes a nice bath. She's usually willing to help that way. Boy, do I wish I could go to 190!! Some day when my liner fails, I'm gonna get one of those custom vinyl liners that will handle 190. I imagine it must get harder to keep the boiler from cycling as you get up to 190, no?
  7. Pat53

    Pat53 Minister of Fire

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    No, the boiler doesn't cycle at all. I have an Azel 777 setpoint controller that I can set at whatever cut-in and cut-out I want. So the boiler will just keeping cranking until the water temp gets to 195F. I set it for a 40F differential, so the air damper kicks open again when it gets down to 155F. I try to match the burn to the expected outside temps so that I don't have a lot of wood left in the unit when I get up to temp, that way I can usually get all of the water in the tank above 180F, even on the bottom. When the fire is cranking I'm usually running about a 25F delta T, but as the fire dies down and the return water gets hotter it runs about 15F delta T. Thats the ideal situation of course, doesn't work out that way all the time, but I can almost always get the bottom water to at last 175F before it gets to 195F. I've even gone as high as 198F when its really cold out, but I don't like pushing my luck.

    Pat
  8. mole

    mole Member

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    Interesting, some day...
    Thx!

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