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  1. Chip B

    Chip B New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Boston, MA
    Hi,

    My guess is that most pellet stoves have heat exchanger tubes, scraper, and scraper rod. So this is proably not a question specific to my Ecoteck Francesca.

    In late March, my scraper froze in the closed (in) position. I tried emery paper, a small putty knife, kabob skewer, a bottle brush, etc., on the tubes. The areas that I could touch with my fingers were smooth and shiny. But somewhere up there at the back, no matter how I bent the emery paper, there was (and still is) a bump of something that blocks the scraper movement.

    I pulled the scaper rod hard, with the stove both hot and cold. But I only rocked the stove and risked bending the exchanger box.

    I now clean the exchanger tubes daily. On the weekends, I do a more thorough clean, hoping to budge the scaper. The scraper doesn't budge.

    So now.
    1. Is there a way I can disassemble the the heat exchanger box from the back (on an Ecoteck)?
    2. Any advice on a home-made tool, to hook over the exchanger tubes for scraping the tube tops? Any improvements on a bent stiff coat-hanger, with the enamel burnt off?

    Any suggestions gratefully received.

    Thanks.

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  2. bob bare

    bob bare Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,296
    Loc:
    park county montana
    I willtake a guess,as I have never taken one of those apart.Scraper was probably stuck from buildup and you bent the plates(Yanking on it) going around the tubes.I think that stove has mutibule small stainless tubes instead of big ones.You may have to use stiff wire at different spots to get scraper out far enough to see and bend up some screwdrivers to straighten the plate.Send a pm to bioburner if he does not check in,he has similar stove,might be able to help.Outside of these things there is always cutting stove open to repair.
  3. Chip B

    Chip B New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Boston, MA
    I certainly don't want to crack the stove open with an oxyacetylene torch! The scraper does move a little, which I take as a sign that I did not warp the whole cage of exchanger tubes. Yes, you're right it's two rows of tubes: 4 one-inch tubes over another 4 one-inch tubes.

    I guess it's going to be the painstaking little-by-little method. That's okay, the season's over (knock wood), so I'm not under pressure anymore to get the stove up and running with minimum downtime.
  4. bob bare

    bob bare Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,296
    Loc:
    park county montana
    Call one of your mechanic buddies and borrow their flexible borescope.Don't know many good mechs that do not have one,I have 2 but you are a little far away!
  5. Lake Girl

    Lake Girl Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,927
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    Carbon build-up on the heat exchangers. They have very little tolerance around them to clean well. I was having a similar problem about a month ago when we started on more modulation burns. It was also a time when I was forced to switch to hardwood pellets when I usually use softwood. My scraper was getting caught toward the out position. Kept on working it and pieces of carbon were falling off - would pull out OK but needed to lightly tap with hammer to get it over the one spot. Might try a "working" fire to see if that helps when it cools down - open the windows and put up the temp. What pellets are you using - might try another brand

    How have you been cleaning the ash build up on the shelf below the exchangers (outer corners)? I usually scrape these corners with a 1" putty knife to keep them free of ash since my ash vac doesn't pull it all out. Could this be part of your problem?

    I use Scotch Brite pads and water on the exchangers (protect the Firex - remove). A rifle brush might prove helpful too. The tool they provide can help scrap some off but it can't reach all the spots. I did see a spray product mentioned on one of the threads - Anti-Creasoot?
  6. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    3,989
    Loc:
    Southcoast, MA
    This is common. I have the (had) the same stove. 150psi off a compressor can knock out the siliconized ash in the exchangers. It takes some doing but can be done. It's what we do with the Ecotecks, but we usually take them back to the shop, it's a messy endeavor in the living room. I imagine you have been getting the "hot smoke" error code as well?
  7. MSmith66

    MSmith66 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    360
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I have had this problem with stove that people do not clean the tubes daily with the tool that is built in for them. Some so bad that I have had to use a small thin screw driver and bent coat hanger and after a long time, have broke free the heat exchanger tube cleaner. Most of the time you would get a "High Temp" error on the stoves, some you don't. A couple of passes of the scrapper a day will help out.
  8. Chip B

    Chip B New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Boston, MA
    Lake Girl, Scotch Brite pads and water? Excellent. I've been avoiding water, but I think it would help. I should know this, you've recommended it before: how do I remove the Firex?

    Maybe it's a corner issue. I'll work out how to get my 1" putty knife, which I use on the tubes themselves, into the corners.

    Scott, no hot smoke error. Stove it running perfectly, because I can clean 90% of the exchangers every day. But you're right. Of what I can get my fingers to, it's sharp and crunchy like lava; siliconised ash is a good description. I'll keep heaving the stove outside as my Very Last Resort.

    Thanks for your suggestions.
  9. bob bare

    bob bare Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,296
    Loc:
    park county montana
    Burn stove on high for an hour,trying to move scraper at times,turn stove temp down and keep trying scraper every 10 minutes or so,as internal temps are coming down.If buildup is in a cool spot of stove will take a good long hot burn to turn buildup into ash.
  10. Chip B

    Chip B New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Boston, MA
    Yay! I got it. Corners it was. Blob of something the whitish color of pigeon poop, the size and thickness of a (US or Canadian) penny. On the ledge at the side, or on the invisible side of the outermost tube. Snagged it on the Scotch Brite, followed up with a thrust of my 1" putty knife.

    Thanks. You all helped. Really.
  11. bob bare

    bob bare Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,296
    Loc:
    park county montana
    Now remember 2 times a day!More if burning cheap pellets.Crank stove up 3/4 at least 1 time a day.:)

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