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Triangle Tube Prestige heat exchanger cleaning

bob eckbob eck Member Posts: 564
To contractors that have TT prestige boilers installed on natural gas how often are you inspecting and cleaning out the heat exchanger? I know it should be serviced and cleaned every year but are home owners really getting it serviced and cleaned every year? If you are cleaning it every two to three years what does the heat exchanger look like? any photos of the heat exchanger before you cleaned it? Are there any other problems with this boiler that you have experienced after they are in for a few years? The jobs where you switched your customer from oil over to nat gas with the TT Prestige series boilers how much have they lowered their heating bills using nat gas condensing vs old oil boiler?


  • ColoradoDaveColoradoDave Member Posts: 54
    Mech Contractor A / Mech IV

    We have about 20 of the Triangle Tube boilers (mostly Solo 110, a couple Solo 175, and 3 Excellence 110) in service.

    After taking the Triangle Tube class, we stopped doing "annual" cleanings because the teacher said the boiler didn't need it.

    However, one of our first installations, has us out to inspect the boiler annually every August.  Recently, I had to get into the heat exchanger to inspect for particulate matter and found a white/yellow/green colored scale buildup on the side walls of the heat exchanger.

    So our policy now is to recommend at least every other year, getting into the heat exchanger and at least checking it for buildup. 

    We use a 50/50 solution of CLR and a nylon brush to clean the heat exchanger side walls and I have recently looked into getting a plastic shaft / nylon bristle brush for cleaning the vertical passages a little.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 3,904
    Dave did you talk to TT

    about what you found on that unit that you opened up. The protocol on TT is that it does not need cleaning so this is an interesting discovery (I am not surprised with any of this new stuff) that if not addressed may have caused some problems.

    I assume these units are operating at high altitudes and have been adjusted accordingly is that correct?

    So now every other year you are going to at least do an inspection. Was the residual you found hard to remove or was it simply a wash down and brushing?
  • SlimpickinsSlimpickins Member Posts: 314
    baseboard ?

    Hey Dave, Colorado here also. The unit that needed cleaning, is it a high temperature baseboard application? I would think if it was it wouldn't condensate like a low temp app. and would need some occasional attention. Did you do a combustion test before cleaning and realize a problem? I've found with the Gionnoni heat exchangers if you're out  in the country with dusty dirt roads, they definitely need cleaning annually.
  • tim smithtim smith Member Posts: 2,226
    Triangle tube cleaning

    We have 50 + in service, clean traps and electrodes annually, inspect heat exchanger every 2 to 3 yrs for debris in combustion chamber and any sign of tube leaks. Checked combustion annually. Then just the regular annual boiler stuff we check.  Thats our take on it so far.  Traps will plug up after a couple yrs so 5 min. to clean trap is a good idea.
  • ColoradoDaveColoradoDave Member Posts: 54
    Follow up

    @Bob.... Bob, this is the buildup you may get after a couple of years.. this unit was cleaned 2 years ago.......  the "scale" was relatively easy to remove with CLR & a nylon brush (I like the mechanic's brushes from the auto parts store because they're especially easy to use on this heat exchanger).  These are pictures from today.  @Slimpickins.... it is a radiant floor installation in about a 3000sq ft house w/ DHW burning LP.

    Long story short.... I was out on an unrelated issue that required a return trip this morning and involved cleaning the heat exchanger. 

    We have two other TT biannual inspections coming up in the next couple of weeks and intend to inspect the heat exchanger to see what they look like as well.  If I get any new information, I'll post an update.

    TimSmith is 100% correct when he says that they should have the condescent traps cleaned and re-do the combustion analysis annually.  However, our opinion is that if we have to get into the heat exchanger to inspect it every other year, we might as well hit it with a brush to remove whatever might be there.

    On a short side note:  We've found that Munchkin boilers really need the condescent trap cleaned flushed out annually.  They seem to collect ALOT more sediment than TT does. 

  • ColoradoDaveColoradoDave Member Posts: 54

    Yeah Tim, the altitudes range from about 5500 - 9500 ft..... the one below with pictures is on the west side of Ft Carson, but I'm not sure the actual elevation, probably close to the 5500-6000 range.

    The stuff is pretty easy to remove, but I don't know long term if it becomes more difficult. 

    Like I stated below, if I'm in there to inspect it anyway, I might as well clean it then.
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056
    All Condensing

    Boilers need maintenace. I think marketing departments do a great job to try to limit the need to make consumers feel they are getting a worry free product. ACV the parent company for Triangle describes in their literature for the Prestige that it requires reduced maintance not maintenace free. Colorado's post shows all of us why condensing boilers need maintenace.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • SpeyFitterSpeyFitter Member Posts: 420
    Cleaning "tubes"

    I guess due to the dimples there is no way to really "punch" the tubes on these boilers?

    Based on what you guys have seen, how do you think the 439 stainless steel is standing up on some of your older S/S fire tube heat exchanger boilers? Do you think these are a 20-25 year heat exchanger (assuming the boilers are set up well to run decent burn cycles, etc.) ?

    The entire condensing market lately seems to have made a huge shift towards the fire tube style of heat exchanger for various reasons. It appears as though the fire tube heat exchanger manufacturer has created some good business for themselves due to probably marketing their product aggressively on top of the strong price difference now a days between 300 series and 400 series stainless steels due to the skyrocketing price of nickel which is only found in 300 series S/S. And it is really showing up in pricing - I'm seeing mod-con boilers on water tube sets up really coming down - actually surprisingly coming down, even to Vitodens 100 territory, BUT, you're getting boilers with WAY better built in control than the Vitodens 100 could ever wish for, and plus they are also better matched to the heat load to boot in most cases.

    I wonder if we will ever see a residential mod-con boiler heat exchanger utilizing alufer tubes that you find on Cleaver-Brooks Mod-cons (commercial) in North America and Hoval boilers in Europe. For those who don't know, basically it is a downfiring fire tube heat exchanger very similar to the fire tube heat exchangers we are all familiar with only the exchanger is made out of 316 Ti Stainless steel and the tubes instead of bieng dimpled, have aluminum fins which greatly increases heat transfer surface and conductivity. It is honestly a SICK design (and by sick, I mean wicked), and takes the fire tube concept to another level.
    Class 'A' Gas Fitter - Certified Hydronic Systems Designer - Journeyman Plumber
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