Every boiler, especially fire- and water-tube boilers, are used for heated fluids to high temperatures to produce the needed steam for it to operate effectively. This steam is used for different purposes – cooking, central heating, sanitation, or for generating power. It is quite a long process that runs for many hours and is not without problems or imperfections.

People who have knowledge about boiler tubes know that constant use comes with difficulties when it comes to particle deposits in its pipes. As time goes by, these sediments will hinder the water – to receive the needed heat to turn it into steam – generated from the fuel source. If these sediments are not removed, the boiler will need more fuel to achieve the desired temperature to turn water into steam.

Because of this, it can result in the overall inefficiency and failure of the system. Knowing everything about the boiler tube is very important when it comes to cleaning. People must carry out a regular cleansing routine if they want to run an uninterrupted and efficient boiler and save a lot of money on fuel in doing so. It is very common to find companies who immediately turn to chemical cleansing as a way to purify their tubes.

It is not a bad idea, but it is one thing to know when to use chemicals as cleansing agents. Listed below are some instances where compounds are used as washing agents. For example, where under-deposit corrosion processes like hydrogen damage have resulted in machine failures, people can use chemical agents to get rid of deposits and prevent more damage to the pipes.

When there are contamination events, whether these events are minor or major, cleaning it using chemicals is required to remove these deposits and contaminants hiding underneath. If 10% of the tubing are being replaced, cleansing with the use of chemicals is necessary to help maintain a more consistent layer of oxide.

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If you are implementing a large number of modifications in the system, these changes mean switching the type of fuel you are using or modifying the burners. To get the system’s optimum function after these changes, it is essential to clean the system using chemical agents.

Other cleaning methods

Although washing pipes and tubes using chemicals are an effective and practical way to get rid of tube deposits like ash and slag, other means are also effective in their own right. Each method is very effective in different states, as well as specific situations.

Acoustic cleaning method

As its name suggests, it is the use of sound to remove particle deposits like ash and grimes from the tubes. It is done by using sound horns that are positioned in strategic parts of the boiler. This type of cleansing is pretty effective against dry particles like ashes. It means that it would not be effective if used in super-heaters. It is a safe way of cleaning, which can be operated through the Internet while the machine is running without damaging the boiler.

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Water cleaning

This method involves the use of high-pressure water (at least 1,200 gallons of water per minute) to remove slag deposits from boilers. This method of washing is pretty useful in systems where acoustic cleansing cannot be applied because it can deal with both slags and dry ashes. It uses high-volume, high-powered hydro blast apparatus and clean dirt and residue up to 40 feet into the tubes.

This method can also be used online, but it is a delicate process and very precarious. It would be very dangerous to spray water into the boiler while it is still running. That is why experienced technicians should only do online cleaning. It also depends on the type of boiler that was being cleaned. This method may not be safe or practical for some systems.

Soot blowers

Soot systems that are designed in such a way that cleaning with the use of water may be dangerous or ineffective, soot blowers could be used. It is an equipment that uses air or compressed steam to prevent dirt and slag from building up in the pipes. The best thing about this method is that it can keep the system clean without the need to turn off the machine. There are four known types of soot blowers:

Long Retractable or insertable kinetic

Air heater blower

Fixed rotating

Wall blowers or insertable rotating

The build-up of soot can cause a lot of problems for systems like soot fires, which can create hot spots in the tubes. These hotspots can weaken tube materials as time goes by and would lead to future machine failure. Soot removed from the tubing are blown out by flue gases, or can be trapped if the blower being used has a soot collector.

A lot of boilers have fans pre-installed in them by the manufacturers. But blowers can be retrofitted into the boilers that do not have one built into them. Thanks to modern technology, there are now smart soot blowers designed to help initiate cleaning processes when the soot build-up is at a certain level in the system.

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Explosive desludging

As explosive as it may sound, this method is not new. It is an old method that is still being used by a lot of plant operators. The process uses explosives like dynamite to help remove slags from the tubing. It is very convenient and time-efficient, as well as beneficial for systems where the use of water is not possible or very dangerous.

Although this cleaning pipe technique cannot be used online, it could help save a lot of water that can be used in other ways, like cleansingtubing. Carrying out regular cleansing of the system is pretty essential to help maintain optimal operation and help prevent future failure of the system. It can also improve its efficiency by up to 4%. It is also crucial to know when to do explosive desludging and what method is suitable for the system.