Boiler wash

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Berne Ketchum
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Boiler wash

Postby Berne Ketchum » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:07 pm

I've always been told to pickle my steel boiler with vinegar overnight to loosen crud before washing out the next day. It seems to work — I've been doing it for 18 years — but I got to wondering about CLR. Has anyone on here ever tried it? Were you pleased with the results? Or, why not?

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Bill Shields
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby Bill Shields » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:38 am

I have used CLR also, but think the white vinegar is better....and a LOT CHEAPER

I fill the boiler, open a drain cock and use a fish tank pump to circulate the stuff (either) in through the drain and out through a safety valve fitting.

At room temp I let this run for a day or so.

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SteveM
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby SteveM » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:22 am

Is this a good procedure to follow with copper boilers too?

Steve

Pontiacguy1
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby Pontiacguy1 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:42 am

Adding just a little bit of heat in the boiler while you have that vinegar in there will speed up the process, and also will cause some amount of natural circulation. Maybe put a heat lamp in the firebox or something like that would do it. I've done it before right after blowing down when the boiler was still a couple of hundred degrees, then let it sit. Usually just put it in and let it sit overnight, though.

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gwrdriver
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby gwrdriver » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:11 pm

SteveM,
I would say a vinegar flush "Couldn't hurt", and how frequently would depend upon the mineral content your feed water.
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

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ChipsAhoy
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby ChipsAhoy » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:09 pm

So, a couple years back we were cleaning the parts out of the SuperScale injector with a brief vinegar wash. Always a quick dunk, rinse and dry. Then the bright idea.... lets use CLR, it must be better and safer than vinegar. Went and purcased one of those metal tea dunking baskets, the one that looks to be chrome plated and opens like a clam shell and has about a 6" chain on it. We put the guts of the injector in the basket, dip and slosh it around in CLR, then dip and slosh it around in clean water. Worked great. Then one time i put it down into the CLR, then went to cleaning the engine, drained the tender, capped the oil lines etc. But forgot about the parts in the CLR and went home for the night.
Next day i remembered the injector parts. When i pulled the chain up out of the liquid, all i had was a two inch chain that ended with a few black links.
Lucky me, Barry answered the phone and shipped two new cones to me the next day. It works, but not very well. Worse of all.... it's not MY locomotive.
My point being....
Be carefull with soaking your boilers with COPPER tubes for a week in CLR.
Scotty

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Berne Ketchum
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby Berne Ketchum » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:58 pm

Thanks to all — I think I'll stick to what I know: vinegar followed by a thorough washout.

Steve Alley
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby Steve Alley » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:45 pm

Funny thing, I have been reading all the post thou the years of using Vinegar to clean boilers and have done it myself. But did you know you should neutralize it afterwards. Yes you do not just flush the boiler but you should put baking soda in it. Two table spoons per two gals of water. You do not neutralize it you taking a chance of the vinegar still working even if you flush the boiler. It can get trap in the crude in the mud ring area and you would never know its still in there. So if you do use vinegar to clean the boiler. Put a mix of baking soda in there for the night. Then flush the heck out of it. You will fine more comes out still.
Also on another note. New boilers after one or two years you will see a black mug coming out of the blow downs. Whats up with that right., Well it may be the mill scale on the metal that you use. You will see it when you take a new plate of steel and use a flap wheel and try to grind into it. You will notice that there is a layer you will go though before the metal gets a shin or to silver look. That is the Mill scale. That is the first layer when a boiler get older and the boiled water and chemical in the water start to work over the inside of our boilers. When it starts to eat the insides this is the first you will see that shows up in blow downs and flushing boiler. Your not going to stop this in its life time. The only thing you can do is keep the water PH at the correct control with water treatment. This helps to suspend the solids we what to get ride of that eats the metal in the boiler.
Next when to blow down. I have done it at 120 psi for years and at the end of the year look into the boiler and its white with calcium or lime crud. Marty Knox told me this is do to blowing down to hot. He said when the boiler is hot and you blow down it stick do to the heat. So when to blow down. May different views on this. Let the boiler reduce 40-60 psi. or when down to 10 psi left in the boiler. Me I do it at 60-80 psi and use the remaining heat that the boiler still has to put the air line on it and fill it up with pressure and then run all the appliance. Run the engine back and forth to get the water out of the cylinders. I have found this make for better start up the next time and also no rusting rings in the cylinders. Might be better ways to do it but found this work for me. Cal Tinkham taught me how to do this and I believe its the best way.
Hope this helps some one out there.
Steve Alley
Allen Models of Nevada

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OSUMiner
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby OSUMiner » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:05 pm

What's the white vinegar concentration?

Steve Alley
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Re: Boiler wash

Postby Steve Alley » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:04 am

Just straight white vinegar. fill up the boiler and leave it open. Don't cap it. For copper boilers 4-5 hours tops. I did mine over nite and it came out blue. which means it clean it to good. It was eating the copper. Copper boiler should not need cleaning as often. But all depends on the water your using.
Note some pipe dope will cause the boiler to foam, This is not what you think, foaming a boiler is like one big bubble inside not a bunch of little bubbles. It cause the safety to lift and water spit out the safety when the site glass can be half full or empty. or even look full. What you see next is the site glass just drop all at once or bounce up. Only thing to do is cut the fire now. Don't wait.. get water treatment in the tender and inject water in the boiler. Or just stop let it cool off and drain it. Then add water treatment directly into the boiler then fill the boiler. Re-fire the boiler and keep blowing down a lot and add more treated water from the boiler.
One thing esle that cause this is oil in the boiler. WD-40 in the tender water can do this. I use to clean my engines with WD-40 not anymore. It will cause the paint to lift off the surface in a year or so. But it will make the boiler foam. Also so tapping fluids will do this too, When we roll copper tube in a boiler we use WD-40 on the roller and keep it flooded with it while rolling the tube. Need to do a hydro and most comes out then. But if its in there and the first start up on firing the engine it may show up and foam. I have built 8 shay boilers and use the same method in rolling all of them. One foam up on the first start up, This was one of the last Shay engines I did. This boiler had one leak at the first hydro and it was peed shut. If i had the time and extra money, I would have heat treated the boiler or heat it using fire brick and stacking them all around the boiler standing on end and put a big rose bud torch until it was red hot. Let cool slow and then let set a day. Don't ever be afraid to put baking soda in a boiler. This will neutralize the acids of product or bad water. Its the neutralize for vinegar. Just run water though the boiler for a hour with the blow downs open,.
Steve Alley


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