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View Full Version : OT: Best time to clean a boiler



gvasale
02-02-2010, 05:37 PM
Visiting a neighbor a few houses away, the topic is about heating the house. He uses a forced hot water-baseboard system. A Riello(?) burner operates the system. Looking inside the firebox after a burn cycle, I see some black carbon over a whitish soft material on the cast iron. It brushes away easily.

Question is: Is the best time to clean the boiler before the season starts, or to do it in the middle of the season so build up is the least when the need for heat is the most? Is annual cleaning sufficient?

hardtail
02-02-2010, 07:03 PM
Sounds like he's maybe running slightly on the rich side for a burn........if he can brush it off it sounds minor.........maybe he can open up the air a little more until it goes away, probably a good idea to clean the fireside at the end of the heating season that way any residuals aren't subjected to the humid air of summer as theres always traces of sulphur present.

JMcTool
02-02-2010, 07:08 PM
Question is: Is the best time to clean the boiler before the season starts, or to do it in the middle of the season so build up is the least when the need for heat is the most? Is annual cleaning sufficient?

I have only done one boiler cleaning when I was but a wee lad. The disturbing part is that it was from the inside; it still gives me the creeps to think about it. I was a maintenance engineer (ha! janitor) for the local school district and we cleaned the boiler once a year. As I recall, it was late summer/early fall. My advice is to wear a good mask and clothes you don't mind throwing away. YMMV.

Jim

JanvanSaane
02-02-2010, 08:37 PM
I would guess by cast iron its a firetube design. Its very important to clean on the inside where the water is also, should have hand holes or someway to clean it. Deposits will get on the inside and block the water from cooling the metal and create hotspots that will ruin the firebox (besides making it less efficient). I have an uncle retired maint engineer. He talked me into taking a class years ago on boiler systems. I think I could still set the valves on a duplex pump, and still know that "A boiler is a closed vessel in which water under pressure is transformed into steam by the application of heat". If your neighbor is unsure what to do look around for someone competent with atleast a 3rd grade boilers license. I am no expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express one night. John