Tuesday, December 28, 2010
House Call - Boiler Cleaning
The one I worked on yesterday was a sooted up heat exchanger on an oil fired hot water boiler. When an oil burner runs improperly (normally due to a bad nozzle) it produces soot. The soot builds up in the heat exchanger and blocks the air flow. As the air flow becomes restricted it causes the burner to burn worse, this causes more soot... Eventually it gets plugged up so bad it won't run at all, that is when the home owner calls me.
To fix it you need to take the sheet metal covers off the outside of the boiler and open up the firebox. On this boiler I had to remove the chimney to access the top of the heat exchanger . Then you take a long wire brush and scrub the soot off the fins. If it is really plugged up tight like this one, you may need to use a thin metal bar to make room to get the brush in. Once you have it cleaned out you of coarse have to fix the problem that caused the soot buildup in the first place. It is a very messy job. This one took about 4 hours total.