Flue scraper for boiler tubes

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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,784
Nova Scotia
I guess my understanding of boiler sizing when coupled with storage is wrong. I would think on the nights when you hit -25° a properly sized boiler would be flat out...am I wrong?

My boiler isn't even burning at night.
 
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iceguy4

Minister of Fire
Nov 16, 2011
1,039
Upstate, NY
My boiler isn't even burning at night.
On a -25° night? anyway better then" idling" ..I thought the whole idea to adding "storage" was to stop all idling....
 

goosegunner

Minister of Fire
Oct 15, 2009
1,469
WI
Ok this place drives me crazy sometimes. People sending me private messages questioning me that my boiler isn't sized right, really? Unmarked Vigas Dealers posting as though they are just users and implying that Vigas boilers are the best on the Planet and have no faults. Come on already it gets old fast. This was a thread about flue scrapers and if anyone has tried the ones pictured.

Every situation is different. I have Forced air heat and try not to let my tank go below 140. I also work 24 hour shifts. During a -25 F stretch this year the nights before I went to work I would get the tank up to 185. I then lowered the set point to 175 and put in some more wood. This would keep the tank topped off a little more through the night so at 530 am when I would leave for work it was not depleted as much as running off storage only. I then load 60 lbs of wood and top it off again. My wife would do a fire sometime in the evening with 80lbs of wood that I would have in a shopping cart for her.

Now does my boiler normally run in the night? No, except this year when it was cold and very windy and I had to work the next day for 24 hours. My normal routine is fire is done by 10pm. The 35 degree weather we had a few days ago I did 1 evening fire with 80lbs one night and 90 lbs the next night. It is now turning cold again so my burning will change. Probably do a 40-50lbs in the am and 60-80 evening. But no night time burning.

Would it be different if I had radiant emitters? Yes! But I don't.

Would it be different if I had a bigger house? Smaller house? more insulation? less insulation? less windows? YES! but I have what I have.

gg
 
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goosegunner

Minister of Fire
Oct 15, 2009
1,469
WI
On a -25° night? anyway better then" idling" ..I thought the whole idea to adding "storage" was to stop all idling....


What is it with your hang up and idling? I thought I explained it in my reply to your private message questioning my boiler sizing and operation of mine.

My idling was very limited to cold nights only before I had to go away the next day.

Read my post above if my reply to your pm wasn't enough. Not sure how I can be more clear but I will say it again.

EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT


gg
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,056
Sand Lake, NY
Can these tools get too aggressive? You want to get down to bare metal, but not gouge? A brush as mentioned before sounds gentler, but will it do the job? The boiler mfrs supply a tool, no?
Hey look at that, four questions. :)
 

henfruit

Minister of Fire
Velvet, Just use the tool that comes with the boiler. Also a nice boiler brush on your cordless drill will do a nice job.
 

Fred61

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2008
2,444
Southeastern Vt.
Every situation is different. I have Forced air heat and try not to let my tank go below 140. I also work 24 hour shifts. During a -25 F stretch this year the nights before I went to work I would get the tank up to 185. I then lowered the set point to 175 and put in some more wood. This would keep the tank topped off a little more through the night so at 530 am when I would leave for work it was not depleted as much as running off storage only. I then load 60 lbs of wood and top it off again. My wife would do a fire sometime in the evening with 80lbs of wood that I would have in a shopping cart for her.
Now does my boiler run in the night? No this year when it was cold and very windy and I had to work the next day for 24 hours. My normal routine is fire is done by 10pm. The 35 degree weather we had a few days ago I did 1 evening fire with 80lbs one night and 90 lbs the next night. It is now turning cold again so my burning will change. Probably do a 40-50lbs in the am and 60-80 evening. But no night time burning.
The situation makes sense to me. If my load was slightly more than my storage would handle or if I wanted insurance that I would be warm in the late wee hours and wanted to sleep through the night I would do the same. to hell with the idling taboo. This year has been a real world test for many including myself and perhaps goose knows more of what to expect from his system. Fortunately for me, my storage hung in there through the coldest nights. I took the chance and won. Loosing would have been a good browbeating from the Mrs. after she woke up to a cold house cold shower.
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,784
Nova Scotia
On a -25° night? anyway better then" idling" ..I thought the whole idea to adding "storage" was to stop all idling....

Yes. By the time I go to bed, my storage is charged, and so is my house, and my fire is in coals. Storage carries me through until the next lighting, which is typically supper time, but at the very coldest weather, it's noon. As GG says, everyones situation is different - and also changes now & again. I see nothing wrong with the way he's doing things. There is the odd time, if I'm out & late getting home and it's cold out, or whatever, that I'm late getting a fire going - if that happens then when I'm going to bed theres a full load of fuel in my boiler. In that case there is room in my storage for the fuel load - or if not quite then my system dumps the extra into my house. Such is the flexibility beauty of storage and a hot gasser.

Sorry - last off topic post from me. :cool:

(I do use my factory supplied brush though with great results...)
 
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Fred61

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2008
2,444
Southeastern Vt.
Occasionally I over fill my firebox with one or two extra splits that aren't needed to top off the storage. At boiler shutdown they still contain some of the unburned or uncharred material that produces the smoke and other nasty stuff but I must shut down the boiler anyway. Consequently some of the flyash I brush from the tubes isn't pure white but more gray. I haven't overloaded the boiler enough to produce crusty material in the tubes. I don't weigh my wood and I'm not sure this wouldn't happen if I did.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,788
Northern MN
..."flue brushes" from Zorotools on eBay.
The Tarm has 3" firetubes. I did one tube with the brush furnished with my Tarm: three up and down, then turn the brush 90*, three up and down. Then in the adjacent tube I used the 3-1/4" brush. Fits snugly, and since the brush is round, just three up and down. This brush did a noticeably better job at cleaning the tube than the Tarm brush (which has been in use since 2007). Then in the same tube I used the 3-1/2" brush. This brush fits quite tightly, the fiberglass rod would bend and fair effort was needed to push and pull the brush through the tube, but it certainly is workable. It cleaned better than the 3-1/4" brush. The fiberglass rod I bought from local hardware, like that used for chimney cleaning brushes, male and female ends.

My tubes are quite clean, but there still is a small amount of scale on the tubes. It can be scraped off, but I don't think either of these brushes would qualify as a scraper. Maybe over time the 3-1/2 brush would work away at the scale and gradually remove it. I gave the tube a few more up and downs with the 3-1/2" brush and it made inroads on the scale.

I think if I bought one brush: the 3-1/4" does a good, quick job. The 3-1/2" does a better job, takes more time and effort. I would go with the 3-1/2" brush, thinking also that over time it would gradually wear and fits less tightly.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,788
Northern MN
Addendum: the brushes seem to be of good quality, not cheaply made. The ones I bought were stainless steel.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,788
Northern MN
What do you think about putting them on a drill?
Probably would work, and may try that tomorrow.
 

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
Can these tools get too aggressive? You want to get down to bare metal, but not gouge? A brush as mentioned before sounds gentler, but will it do the job? The boiler mfrs supply a tool, no?
Hey look at that, four questions. :)

In my opinion, no brush will take off the hard scale, or if so it takes a tremendous amount of effort and time. The tool I made and mention in an earlier part of this thread can be as aggressive as you want by bending the sides in or out. Does it gouge the tubes? I was concerned by this initially as well but it does not. Gotta tell you, before I used this tool for the first time I tried the supplied Tarm brush and then tried a circular wire brush wheel with wireless drill. The tough scale would not come off. Found the thread on here for the rectangular tool (used with threaded rod and wireless drill as well) and within 10 seconds the scale came off and the tube was clean down to the metal without gouging. If you can use tin snips, a bending tool (or bending surface for that matter) and a drill for the rod hole, then you can make this tool. Makes all the difference in the world to me when it comes to cleaning tubes.
 
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KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
Well, I can use tin snips. I thought the metal was thicker than that.

I will take a picture of the sheet metal sometime this weekend. I bought like a 1' x 2' piece at Home Depot. Think it cost about $7. I will post what the gauge is. Not the finest gauge stuff, but a little heavier. Got through it with the tin snips. Heavy enough gauge though that is easily retains shape so you can make tighter or looser by bending. You actually want some flex so that is conforms to the shape of the tube with pressure on sides.
 

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
Well, I can use tin snips. I thought the metal was thicker than that.

So you are in Sand Lake? I am about half hour from there on border of the towns of Berlin and Petersburgh, just off Hwy 22. The halfway or townline house as it is known. Small world.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,056
Sand Lake, NY
I Binged it. Beautiful place.
Do you know what's going on with that place in Berlin that has all those logs stored? I drove near there, but further down 22 and didn't get a good look.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,456
Northern Canada
I will take a picture of the sheet metal sometime this weekend. I bought like a 1' x 2' piece at Home Depot. Think it cost about $7. I will post what the gauge is. Not the finest gauge stuff, but a little heavier. Got through it with the tin snips. Heavy enough gauge though that is easily retains shape so you can make tighter or looser by bending. You actually want some flex so that is conforms to the shape of the tube with pressure on sides.
I found some wide strapping like what is used for lumber.It has a bit of spring in it which works good for pressure against the tubes.
Thomas
 

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
I Binged it. Beautiful place.
Do you know what's going on with that place in Berlin that has all those logs stored? I drove near there, but further down 22 and didn't get a good look.

Binged it??

That is Green Renewables. They manufacture the bags of kiln dried firewood you see in Stewarts as well as mulch and wood chip products. They got a big grant from the state a couple of years ago to modernize their operations. Used to be Cowees (lumberyard). That is where I occasionally would buy kiln dried firewood. Used to be $240 a cord. This year when I called they wanted $385. I politely deferred. I mentioned this place in the Polar Vortex thread on the forum a while back.
 

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
I found some wide strapping like what is used for lumber.It has a bit of spring in it which works good for pressure against the tubes.
Thomas
probably same gauge steel I used. Flat piece to start with probably easier to form and retain shape from the start.
 

TCaldwell

Minister of Fire
jim, the fiberglass rod extensions have a tendancy to shear off from the drill torque and speed, leaving you with a brush where the sun doesnt shine. You could force it through with another brush.
 
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