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Product to break down “coffee grounds”?

bnjmn
bnjmn Member Posts: 45
Has anyone come across or had positive results with any substance to help break down and clean “coffee grounds” out of condensing boilers?

Not so much a problem with water tube but with fire tubes especially using LP.
Deposits get lodged into tubes and it’s very difficult to remove. I use a coil jet sprayer for cleaning condensing boilers and it only does so much.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse here but any known products to dissolve this stuff?

Comments

  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,917
    edited November 2019
    That's a good question. The coffee grounds are magnetic. I would like to know what the composition of the coffee grounds are. Anyone know?

    The fire tube boilers were suppose to be cleaner and less contaminated and need less cleaning.

    I had a hydronic specialist that was employed in the hydronic department by my wholesale distributor when the fire tubes first came out tell me that he had to go out to an installation that had a Lochinvar fire tube that was malfunctioning. What he found was that the fire tubes were almost completely plugged. It was a boiler running on LP. I failed to ask him the solution he used to solve this problem, much to my regret.

    Perhaps there wasn't a combustion analysis done to optimize combustion.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,062
    CLR works well on Gianonni heat exchangers. Should do well on a fire tube.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,415
    The mineral in question Is mostly magnetite -- so a magnetic separator on the boiler circuit may save you some headaches...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • bnjmn
    bnjmn Member Posts: 45
    I have taken some of the "stuff" from this boiler and soaked in CLR and it had no effect on helping break it down. I have also tried white vinegar with no effect.

    This system does have a combo dirt/magnet separator. I don't see how this would effect the combustion chamber though.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,433

    That's a good question. The coffee grounds are magnetic. I would like to know what the composition of the coffee grounds are. Anyone know?

    The fire tube boilers were suppose to be cleaner and less contaminated and need less cleaning.

    I had a hydronic specialist that was employed in the hydronic department by my wholesale distributor when the fire tubes first came out tell me that he had to go out to an installation that had a Lochinvar fire tube that was malfunctioning. What he found was that the fire tubes were almost completely plugged. It was a boiler running on LP. I failed to ask him the solution he used to solve this problem, much to my regret.

    Perhaps there wasn't a combustion analysis done to optimize combustion.

    Coffee grounds and firetubes is unusual, I have only seen it in a couple boilers and the combustion was horrible. I would recommend cleaning up the symptom and addressing the problem, which is likely bad combustion.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • bnjmn
    bnjmn Member Posts: 45
    Combustion numbers are good.
    02 4.5%
    CO2 10.8%
    CO 135 PPM

    This system had a munchkin installed originally. KHN110 Lochinvar replaced that unit. At time of installation concentric vent going out roof was redone to ensure no flue gas recirculation.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,433
    That's not bad. I wonder about the propane quality. I have a TT prestige on propane with similar numbers, clean as whistle.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • flat_twin
    flat_twin Member Posts: 330
    bnjmn, any idea how long since that hx was cleaned?
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,856
    If you have coffee grounds, you have cross contamination.
    Zman
  • bnjmn
    bnjmn Member Posts: 45
    Exactly a year between cleanings
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,552
    Most of what I have found is that it is a result of cross contamination. With LP it is due to the higher BTU Content and not being properly adjusted when it was converted from natural gas to propane.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,089
    Axiom has a cleaner that I have heard good stuff about. I believe it is citrus based.
    http://axiomind.sasktelwebhosting.com/boiler-cleaner.php
    DZoro
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,089
    As to the cross contamination and "coffee grounds"... I have a hard time believing that one.
    I have a LP gas fired unit out there that is going on 12 years old. Smith GT w/ a Giononni HX .
    Every year I clean that, I vacuum out the grounds and scrub out the residue. Intake is 4 feet off the ground and the exhaust is through the roof....about 15 feet away. If that is cross contaminating that's one heck of a down draft.
    DZoro
  • RPK
    RPK Member Posts: 95
    edited November 2019
    I haven’t tried Axiom for stainless steel heat exchangers, but they make a really good product for cleaning aluminum heat exchangers.
  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,048
    I was looking for a product like this a few months back, will have to give it a try.
    Thanks
    D
  • ch4man
    ch4man Member Posts: 285
    the coffee grounds themselves are not magnetic, there ferrous. they're attracted by a magnet. I too don't get how recirculation will cause them to be formed. being ferrous means there is an iron component to it. i think its itty bits of the heat exchanger that, like popcorn, pop into a much larger kernel. yes i know the chamber is stainless but there still some iron in it. what other component or process, fuel, air, or flue gasses have any iron but the chamber? it ain't the gas, if it was the gas valve inlet screen would be plugged. nope never seen that. ain't air, ain't flue gasses, happens past the gas valve..............
  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,048
    Possibly from the combustion/fire cone???
    D
  • ch4man
    ch4man Member Posts: 285
    DZoro said:

    Possibly from the combustion/fire cone???
    D

    yep, thought of that as well just forgot to include it. basicly my belief is its origins come from any iron bearing material in the heat zone.
    if fact you may be closer to the truth as with poor combustion the burner flames may burn on the burner as opposed just off the burner ports.....
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,433
    edited November 2019
    This is a great conversation. I have noticed the grounds when the boiler tune is too rich. That condition would overheat the burner sock. Cross contamination also makes the mix too rich. I had never made that connection before.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    kcopp
  • bnjmn
    bnjmn Member Posts: 45
    For kicks I just did a test with coffee grounds out of this boiler and they are not attracted to a very strong small magnet.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,552
    Contact the folks at Heat Transfer Products they were the first to experience this way back with the Munchkins. They were the ones who determined cross contamination was the cause. Cross contamination can come from many sources not just the venting side.
  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,048

    Contact the folks at Heat Transfer Products they were the first to experience this way back with the Munchkins. They were the ones who determined cross contamination was the cause. Cross contamination can come from many sources not just the venting side.

    Interesting, can "other" contamination come from outdoor sources other than the exhaust air? If so do you know what they maybe? Possibly dust from a dirt road or driveways? or ????
    D