Boiler cleaning is very important for machines that run on anything apart from natural gas. When cleaning isn’t done, the system will not perform optimally. It often does not matter the size of the machine the boiler tube has to be cleaned from time to time.
Old traditional methods were known to damage pipes and cause wear that would end up costing you a fortune. Thankfully, there are modern boiler tube cleaning methods that will save your tubes from unnecessary damage and ensure that your system works as optimally as possible. In this article, we will discuss these methods and every other thing you need to know about boiler tube cleaning.
Meaning of Boiler Tubes Cleaning
Just as the name implies, boiler tube cleaning refers to the maintenance and removal of rust, scale, and other deposits and contaminants from boiler tubes. Over time, these machines accumulate deposits and contaminants on the tubes’ inner surfaces. These deposits will then restrict the proper flow of steam and heat thereby, reducing the boiler’s efficiency.
When this happens, not only will the system’s efficiency reduce, but it will also consume more energy. Because the system will require more energy to produce the same or even lesser output. Ultimately, this can lead to a total breakdown of the system.
Boiler Tubes Cleaning Safety Precautions
To prevent accidents and injuries during the maintenance process, the person carrying out the process must take certain precautionary steps. For starters, they must wear the right protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, respirators, protective overalls, and goggles. You can check https://www.osha.gov/ to learn more about PPE. Next, the system must be isolated.
This involves shutting off the water lines and steam. The boilers must also be locked out to ensure that it doesn’t accidentally get started during the maintenance process. The next step is depressurization; this is to be done as carefully and slowly as possible to prevent sudden pressure changes that may cause an accident.
After which, the broiler will be drained to completely remove all the steam and water. Ensure the area is properly ventilated so that harmful fumes and gases can easily pass out. Certain methods and instructions may be recommended for this process based on the boiler type. Therefore, be sure to consult the system’s manual before proceeding.
If you’re carrying out the maintenance mechanically, then be sure to do so as carefully as possible. Not being careful with the lance or brush can cause damage to the tubes. When you are done, also take your time to inspect your work. First, to be sure all debris and contaminants have been removed and secondly, to be sure no damage has been done.
Importance of Cleaning Boiler Tubes
This maintenance activity is one of the most important maintenances for any machine that uses a boiler. One of the major reasons why this process is important is safety. When the system is left with soot, ash, and other debris and contaminants for a long time, it can result in accidents.
Unfortunately, boiler accidents can be quite destructive and even fatal for those involved. You can visit here to learn more about boiler accidents and how to prevent them. Another reason this process is important is that it helps machines to run as optimally and efficiently as possible.
When boilers get too many contaminants in them, they stop transferring heat efficiently. This makes them use more energy. It can also cause explosions and accidents because the machine may begin to overheat. When you clean it out, the system can work more efficiently and safely.
This process also helps to give boilers longer lives. This is because the tubes won’t get damaged by erosion and corrosion with regular cleaning. Regular cleaning also prevents the system from overworking, thereby, protecting it from developing issues relating to this.
Boiler Tubes Cleaning Methods
There are different methods used for cleaning this important part of machines. This includes mechanical, high-pressure jetting, and chemical methods. We will now discuss these methods below.
This method is either done with acid or alkaline solutions. Citric acid and hydrochloric acid are among the most popular acids used. Typically, they are used to dissolve the deposits in the tube. This makes them the perfect choice for removing heavy buildups.
Alkaline solutions work in the same way, but they first soften the deposits and make it easier for them to be removed. Caustic soda or sodium hydroxide is commonly used for this. Alkaline solutions are best used for organic deposits, oil, and grease.
This method can be done by either brushing or scraping the tubes. For the first method, steel, nylon, or brass brushes are used to scrub the tube’s inner surfaces. This is one of the most used methods as it is very effective in removing light buildups and loose deposits.
Scrapers are also used in mechanical cleanings to scrap off hard deposits and scales. But this must be done with care to ensure the tube doesn’t get damaged from intensive scraping. Rotating brushes may also be used during mechanical cleaning; especially for bigger boilers that have several tubes.
High pressure can also be used to effectively clean out tubes. There are different methods under this including steam blowing, shot blasting, and ultrasonic cleaning. Let’s look at them individually below.
With this, steam is passed through the tube at high pressure. The pressure will dislodge loose debris and contaminants. Usually, this method is used to clean out a new boiler before it’s used.
With shot blasting, abrasive materials like particles of steel are shot through the tube to remove debris. Shot blasting is a very effective cleaning method; however, it can be quite damaging to the tubes. Therefore, it must be carried out with proper care and caution.
This involves using sound waves on a high frequency to clean out the tubes. You can check https://knowhow.distrelec.com/ to learn more about ultrasonic cleaning. This is effective for the removal of debris in areas that are difficult to reach.
Regularly maintaining boiler tubes is important to ensure safety and the longevity of the system. There are different ways to go about it and the best method to use often depends on the situation at hand. However, regardless of the method used, absolute care and caution must be practiced during this process to prevent damage and accidents.