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I would like just to get a little descussion going on what everyone does on cleanings. My company is starting to do cleanings soon for contracts and I was wondering if there were any tricks or things people found that worked well in order to keep calls down in the winter. One thing we found at my company was Blowing out oil lines with Co2's works really well for keeping service calls to a minimum. It seemed like the only ones we had this winter were control related service calls. If anyone has an opinion or any tricks they would like to share that would be appricated. If anyone read my last post about the hot water problem were we replaced the feeder, expansion tank and relief valve. We found out that it was the domestic coil. Weil mclein covered the new water heater and when we got it back to the shop we pulled the coil out and rigged it up so we could put air to it. Right off you could hear the air hissing out through the coil.


  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,541

    use a push/pull hand pump instead of a CO2 gun. It develops substantial pressure and can rupture an oil line.

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  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620

    Furnace/Boiler Clean & Service

    When I arrive on an annual tune-up if the customer is present I first ask how the system has been running and are there any concerns that they would like addressed while I am there. After this I proceed to the heating system. I simulate a call for heat and listen to the operation of the system. This way if you hear anything that sounds out of place you can bring it to the owner’s attention before the finger gets pointed at you.

    The next thing I do is to remove the nozzle line from the tray assembly and connect my fuel gauge. I then run the unit to ensure that it is operating at the proper pump pressure. at the same time I am timing the safety of the primary control to make sure it locks out within the acceptable time frame. Now once it locks out I take notice to the cut off pressure on my fuel gauge. It should not be less than 80% of the operating pressure. I leave my gauge connected to make sure this does not drop either Now I am ready to remove the tray assembly and shine a light down the blast tube (air tube) and make sure the head or end cone are in good condition I then take the tray assembly out to my van where I will replace the nozzle inspect the porcelains electrodes ect, before leaving the boiler room or furnace room I note what type of fuel filter, fuel pump strainer and air filter (for warm air or hydro air)I may need to return with.

    Once I return I install the tray assembly replace the strainer & filter as necessary make sure the burner housing is clean and the blower and air band are free of any dust, animal hair ect, when replacing the fuel filter this is a great opportunity to check the condition of the fuel tank, tank valve and tank legs. (Remember we are the eyes and ears of the system while we are on site!) by the way before putting that new filter in the canister it’s a good practice make sure you clean the canister thoroughly once this is done I'll be ready to bleed the fuel pump, I look at the cut off pressure one more time to make sure it has not dropped. Now I am ready to move on to the flue passages and the flue pipe.

    Next I brush and vacuum both the flues and the flue pipe. Inspect for cracks, pitting or any other damage on the heat exchanger of a furnace on a boiler I look for similar ware and tare or damage an important thing to check on sectional boiler is between the sections are they sealed or can you see between them? I would also be making sure the base of the chimney is clear and that the chimney is in fact in good operating condition. If it appears necessary I remove the burner and clean out the combustion area as well.

    (For a mobile home furnace you’ll definitely need to remove the burner. Then the cosmetic panel. This will get you to what is called the pouch plate once you remove that you’ll be able to gain access to the combustion area for proper cleaning and inspection. You’ll need to carefully remove the combustion chamber to do this. I would advise having all new gaskets available and a combustion chamber just in case you find the original in poor condition or in the event it collapses upon removal.)

    Now I oil the circulator and/or blower motor and burner motor if needed. Then I clean everything up including wiping the unit jacket and components down. Even if I did not make the mess I make a point of cleaning the entire area say three to five feet around the boiler/furnace. I own that area until I leave.

    Now we are ready for a combustion analysis test. I look to come within manufactures recommendations I first take draft reading next is our smoke test, looking for a 0 to Trace. Now the Co2 and/or O2 level in most cases I am looking for no higher than a
    (12% CO2)(4 ½% O2) (35% EA excess air)Now the stack temp, on a new system I would not expect more than 350 - 400 degrees.

    with an old system we could see this go between 500 - 600 Degrees.(Good reason to upgrade)Now the Co2 and the temperature will give you your operating efficiency. Please note when considering your stack temp you want to subtract the room temp from the actual stack temp.

    Note: If you’re using an electronic analyzer it’s important to perform your smoke test first. Also, you’re going to start seeing higher Co2 readings with some of the newer burners like the Beckett NX but we can talk more about that in another thread.

    I Log all the data in a systems booklet that is left with the system, including any parts that have been replaced or changes that were made. Also if you have an old type expansion tank and it needs to be drained I would have started this upon arrival so it would be drained by the time I was ready to leave.

    Now if the customer is there. I ask them once again if they have any questions. I then thank them for doing business with our company! Move on to my next call. This job would have taken typically about 2 hrs. If a system had not been cleaned in over 3 or 4 years you could find yourself there for 3 to 4 hrs.

    I hope this has been helpful to you.

    Your friend in the industry,
    Alan R. Mercurio

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    Your friend in the industry,

    Alan R. Mercurio

  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    Robert ain't lying !

    They don't call em' "blowout guns" for nothing....Invest in a push/pull pump and a liquid filled set of pressure/vacuum gauges.

    I noticed that you didn't mention combustion testing equipment. I'm hoping that was an oversight! Chris
  • Leo
    Leo Member Posts: 770

    Very seldom do I use the push pull pump only on a problem job. I have observed if the filter is changed annually and wiped out the pump screen will be cleaner year after year as proper procedures are performed. Along with what others are saying I check oil pressure and the transformer/ignitor at a tune up. Find a lot of bad transformers and don't get a lot of call backs or off on safety calls.

  • midway_2
    midway_2 Member Posts: 42
    service calls

    Nothing said here about checking fan motors, belts, etc. on hot air systems, nothing said about steam boiler dirty water, pressure and other parts. Is the burner system the only thing checked? Not asking this to be a wise A$$, just wondering, because our boiler water is covered in our service policy and it's dirty up to an inch below the mark on the glass tube.
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