Cleaning Econoburn 200 flue tubes.

salecker Posted By salecker, Oct 17, 2013 at 2:21 AM

  1. salecker

    salecker
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    Aug 22, 2010
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    So a few days ago i thought i would give the boiler a quick fall inspection before starting to burn,so i pulled the cover over the turbulators to look at the flue's.
    Crap they had a buildup of hard baked on stuff.Last year they were covered with light ash,so i was really surprised.Then i remembered our long cold spring and the old firewood pile i burnt because the good wood was gone,and the rest of the good wood is in log length on my other lot.
    I knew the wood wasn't the best,and i paid for it.So i searched Hearth for ideas and anyone who had done their 200.I grabbed the collection of brushes i had and tried them,wouldn't even touch the stuff.Back to research and brainpower.I seen some cool tools from TC Wilson for cleaning boiler tubes.Then i came across one that is made by Profab for their boilers.It was really close to what was in my mind so off to the shop i went.
    I had some 11/2" strapping like the metal lumber stuff but wider.It is springy i bent two legs 2 1/2" long off a 1 1/2" square which i drilled a hole in to attach a 48" rod.I curved the legs and bent in the tips so they would go in the flues easier.Then i bent out the leading edge of the legs to increase the angle to scrape the tubes.The springy nature kept pressure against the tubes
    A few adjustments and i was happy,add a drill to the rod and about 5 min got them clean,and another 5 to get them completely crud free so you could see the weld and machine marks down the tubes,i was happy.
    Now i did all this without taking the back panel off.I took the turbulators off the hanging bar because i didn't know if they would come out in one piece.They were a hard pull to get the out with the build up.I did cut about 3/8" off each end of the hanging bar and the end of a couple of bolts on the linkage to ease the reinstall.I was able to reinstall the hanging bar and 6 turbulators in one piece,then all i had to do is install 2 bolts for the raising linkage.
    No i don't have any pic's,but if anyone wants a pic of the tool i can e-mail you one.
    Hopes this helps someone.the next time i will try to pull the hanging bar and turbs in one piece,then it will be an easy quick job.Under two hours to complete next time i'm sure.
    Thomas
     
  2. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water
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    Jan 14, 2011
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    A picture of the tool you made .... really would help.;)
     
  3. mr.fixit

    mr.fixit
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    Dec 27, 2009
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    I think for maximum efficiency it pays to keep the HX tubes clean. Doesn't take much fly ash to restrict heat transfer.
    Look at how often these newer pellet boilers auto clean themselves,and they are burning a more refined fuel.
    This season I am going to try to do weekly tube brushings. Seems like the boiler always burns better after a cleaning.
     
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  4. kopeck

    kopeck
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    Mar 24, 2011
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    Heck I would love to see the Profab tool.

    I never say creosote on my tube/turbulators until this spring, much like you I burned up some wood that wasn't quite ready at the end of the season. It was just a little bit but boy was it a pain to get out with standard brush.

    K
     
  5. airlina

    airlina
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    Feb 15, 2009
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    Salecker asked me to post photos of his econoburn tube cleaning tool. so i am going to give it a try. Thanks Thomas
     

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  6. FinsterCT

    FinsterCT
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    Nov 29, 2010
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    Just found this Thread... I've got an EB100 and decided to get it cleaned up today... it looks like we are finally going to get some burn worthy weather here in new England. This is my third year...last year, I cleaned my tubes with the brush econoburn recommends from Mcmaster... It was my first cleanout and I noticed a lot of creosote in the tubes... just felt timid about getting too aggressive getting it out.

    Definitely guilty of burning some less than dry wood here and there and I run without storage for now....so I definitely get some idling time. Decided to hop on here and see what others have done, glad I did! Salecker, brilliant simple idea... It worked great! Great use of something that would ordinarily end up in a dumpster!

    I attached some pics... in the before pic, I'd spent a good hour with the brush on the tube on the right ... in the after pic I cleaned the tube in less than five minutes.

    Found the best way was to spin this with a cordless at a slow speed... too fast just resulted in the banding chattering and doing nothing.
     

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  7. salecker

    salecker
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    Aug 22, 2010
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    Hi FinsterCT
    Glad it worked for you,i bought the Mcmaster Carr tool last year,it was a dismal failure.
    I had to build tool#2 because of cracking last spring.I changed the angles of my bends a bit but other wise it's the same.I bent the banding at a bit of an angle so the leading edge has a little more of an attack angle.I also found that running the tool in reverse works too,it kind of hits stubborn deposits from a different angle.I have sharpened the edge a bit with a file once the tool seems to loss it's ability to scrape the tubes.I'm really good at sharpening drills freehand,so i figured with my eye for edges it wouldn't hurt to try on this tool.It worked.
    If you bend the leading edges you may lose some of the chatter you experienced at high speed.
    Thomas
     
  8. FinsterCT

    FinsterCT
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    Nov 29, 2010
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    I'll definitely try some tweaks! I noticed the band kinda bounces over the seam in the pipe and leaves crud on the other side of the seam...and tried to go in reverse... I just had a piece of threaded rod with some nuts on it and it would loosen if I went opposite the tightening direction of the rod... I'll have to do something a little better next time.
     
  9. Buzz Saw

    Buzz Saw
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    Try using a jam nut, you should be able to go both directions.
     
  10. salecker

    salecker
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    Aug 22, 2010
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    Bump for Dave
     
  11. salecker

    salecker
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    Aug 22, 2010
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    Hi All just a quick update...
    I have made 3 of these tools in the last 8 years.I cleaned my tubes last fall before starting the boiler and noticed a crack forming on my cleaning tool.A few hours later i finished the cleaning and thought it seemed like it took a long time.The crack was bigger and followed the edge of the lock nut holding it to the rod.
    Fast forward to yesterday...Armed with a newly formed tool and my pully system i did the complete open to clean closed boiler ready for a fire in 2 hours.The new tool cut the buildup with hardly any effort compared with what it took to clean in the fall.I did add a washer to each side of the tool in hopes of it lasting longer,which i think mat add extra pressure to the tool when it is in the tubes.I also didn't bend the tool as much as the last one's which also may add pressure.Yesterday each tube was cleaned in about 5 minutes.And had i read my notes on the removal of the turbulators i could have taken at least 20 minutes less time.I have a rope and pulley system that i use to assist in removing them.The trick is to pull them up in 3" steps till you are close to the opening with the bar the turbs are hanging on.Then lift one side higher and out them come.Takes less than 5 minutes when you review your notes.
    I am pretty sure that i could do my cleaning in 1 1/2 hours easy if i read my notes before i start.
    So if you have any homemade tools that you use please post them,i hope someone has made something better than i have.
    Thomas
     
  12. airlina

    airlina
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    Feb 15, 2009
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    Hi Thomas, My tool came about from copying yours, back when you first introduced it years ago. I use my worn out lumber bandsaw blades to make a simple tool that has worked well . I bend the blade so its a bit wider than the boiler tube I.D. and I have to squeeze the tool to fit it in the tube . this makes a nice tight fit in the tube when running it thru. A couple passes and its clean as a whistle. Also to make it easier to pull my turbulators, I use a harbor freight electric winch that is positioned above the boiler on the joists in my shed. Bruce
     

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  13. salecker

    salecker
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    Aug 22, 2010
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    Hi Bruce
    Thanks for pic's of your tool... I will keep my eyes open for some band saw blades to try.
    I used a rope and pulley system,but i see where a remote control winch would be awesome.It would be like having a helping hand that dosn't talk back.
    Did you replace the bolts that connect the turbulators to the lifting linkage with pin's and clips?That takes some of the PIA factor away.
    How many uses are you getting from one of your tools?
    Thomas
     
  14. airlina

    airlina
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    Feb 15, 2009
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    Thomas , probably have used my tool 5 times since I built it (thanks to your design). and yes I have replaced the bolts with pins and clips to speed the process. The winch works well to pull the turbs . i only go thr the process once a year at the end of the burn season. Bruce
     

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