Fall maintenance

Fall maintenance

PostBy: rocketjeremy On: Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:55 pm

Hello again....heating season here in Schuylkill county is soon here!! :D I am running a DF520 and I was wondering what the recommendation was for fall maintenance before the heating season kicks into full force. I've been running the unit all summer on coal for the DHW. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be calling in a nice big coal order...enough to hoard for the winter!

Any thoughts or suggestions?
rocketjeremy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF-520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: stoker-man On: Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:54 pm

Oil the stoker gear drive and connecting rod. 3 oil holes. Check the coil gasket for any leakage and snug up the 8 nuts around the flange. If you haven't already, clean out the flyash and flue pipes and chimney base. Turn on the thermostat and make sure the stoker starts up and the circulator runs.
stoker-man
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: rocketjeremy On: Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:03 pm

Thanks for the advice as always stoker-man. I did change oil in the gear drive last year when I purchased the stoker that happened to come with a house and 4 acres (hell of a deal!). I also cleaned out my fly ash from the base of the unit and the stack when I started to grow concerned about draft issues a few weeks ago.

The coil gasket and the 8 bolts around the flange are new to me. Are these around the DHW? I've never had the sheet metal off the unit so I'm not really sure what all is under there.
rocketjeremy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF-520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: stoker-man On: Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:07 pm

That's a big problem area. It's why efm changed over to the extended coil some years back. Pull the sheet metal and check the gasket for hardness and the nuts for tightness. If there is any seepage of water that can't be stopped, the gasket must be changed.
stoker-man
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: rocketjeremy On: Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:27 pm

Thanks again for the info. It's a very rainy Sunday afternoon so I started to pull off the sheet metal to take a look at the DHW coil. Some of the bolts did take a little bit of pull from the wrench although I didn't see any active dripping water from behind the gasket. The outside edge of what appeared to be a gasket or a caulking did seem somewhat on the brittle side but I noticed no physical holes or gaps.

I did notice some rust coming down the bottom in streaks but no active wetness. Although I wonder how long the wetness would last considering the temperature of the metal. Below is some pictures of what I found.

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rocketjeremy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF-520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: stoker-man On: Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:55 pm

Can you poke out a piece of the gasket with a screwdriver or is it like a rock?

If you have time and inclination, you might want to change the gasket. It's easier than welding a repair plate on there.
stoker-man
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: rocketjeremy On: Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:56 pm

I was able to get a small piece out...it didn't seem completely solid. Should I be worried about the rust? The only time I ever have seen water at the bottom of that side of the unit is after an outfire...I just contributed it to condensation after the temperature change.

I live in New Ringgold, PA? Any suggestions as to who would have parts locally or a good place to order online?
rocketjeremy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF-520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: stoker-man On: Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:02 pm

That's how it happens. With a cool boiler, the water runs down the side onto the floor. With a hot boiler, the water evaporates before it hits the floor and does its dirty work secretly, usually rusting out the whole area until it's so far gone that a patch plate needs to be welded in. All you need is a gasket and a few hours of work.....we hope.

Check your PM.
stoker-man
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: rocketjeremy On: Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:47 pm

Sounds like I'm going to replace the gasket before the problem secretly gets worse. It just seems to make good sense. I'm assuming the process isn't overly complicated.

Do I have to drain the boiler I take it? It seems as though mine has a drain value opposite the return line with my two circulator pumps. I think I can get the 8 nuts off and pull a little bit away from the unit. Looks like my aquastat is installed just over the edge of the DHW coil but I think I can make that work as long as I don't have to take the whole thing out.

Will that affect air being in my baseboard units? I've heard people say before that water changes in the unit or adding fresh water to it is a good way to rust it out.

Thanks for all the help....I'm learning a lot.
rocketjeremy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF-520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: stoker-man On: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:43 am

You're going to need someone with experience helping you.

If you are able to isolate the boiler from the rest of the system by closing handvalves, you're ahead of the game. If not, now is an excellent time to add them. Turn off all power to the unit and all sources of water. Otherwise, drain the whole system, add handvalves, and isolation valves on either side of your circulator(s) and anywhere else where you might have to replace a part and don't want a hassle. I like to use valves and unions at the coil.

If you can isolate the boiler, just drain it so the water is below the coil's level.

I would try to remove each coil nut ahead of time. Take one off and put it back on and then go to the next one. You don't want to snap any studs in the middle of your project. I use Never Seize on the studs. From disassembling old boilers, I know that the studs are very hard to break off, but don't push your luck.

Inspect the steel surface under the gasket and on the coil plate. Remove any rust. Don't use sealer and don't overtighten the nuts. The gasket will push out a little and then stop tightening. You can always tighten some more, but when the gasket squishes out, it's done for. Check every year.

Draining a system and refilling with fresh water is bad enough, but it won't kill a boiler like a continuous supply of fresh water being added because of a leak. It's something that has to be done.

The aquastat just loosens with one screw and pulls out. It's not a big deal. There is no loss of water.

Bleed out your system. I never plagued myself on my own systems. I used a garden hose hooked to the boiler drain and forced water, slowly, through one side of each loop and on the other end, where there should be a hose bib, I hooked a garden hose and put the other end of that hose higher than my highest baseboard, on a pole or something, and ran until the bubbles stopped. Do each zone that way, from the lowest to the highest. I never had to re-bleed any lines that way. If the circulator was able to circulate and my air vents were working, I was done.
stoker-man
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: e.alleg On: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:43 pm

stoker-man wrote:Oil the stoker gear drive and connecting rod. 3 oil holes. Check the coil gasket for any leakage and snug up the 8 nuts around the flange. If you haven't already, clean out the flyash and flue pipes and chimney base. Turn on the thermostat and make sure the stoker starts up and the circulator runs.


Stupid question, but how do you clean out the flyash? I imagine putting the fire out and removing the back panel where the flue pipe comes out and shoveling?
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: stoker-man On: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:38 pm

You got it. Either shovel or vacuum
stoker-man
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: rocketjeremy On: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:17 am

I took the stack pipe off and used the shop vac to clean mine out. Seemed to do a real nice job. Took the stacks outside and cleaned them out too before putting it all back together.
rocketjeremy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF-520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: e.alleg On: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:41 pm

not that I'm lazy and don't feel like doing it, but....approx. how much flyash accumulates in the stoker/pipe per ton of coal used? I burned about 9 tons so far and haven't touched it and the draft is still very good.
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

Re: Fall maintenance

PostBy: rocketjeremy On: Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:11 pm

Stokerman,

Can you elaborate on the procedure to get air out of the baseboards? The units themselves don't have any bleed valves that I can tell. Above each of my two circulator pumps are hose bibs in line and one side has a ball valve shutoff. The guy who owned the system before me wasn't good about maintenance so there could definitely be issued that I don't know about.

I know last year the baseboard at the furthest end of one of the loops made noise every time the system came on. I just ran the heat a few minutes to take the chill off tonight and noticed a lot of gurgling coming from the baseboards on the loop I ran and the one end of the loop didn't get hot (although maybe it just wasn't enough time for it all to get there...I was only going up a degree or two.) I did feel the circulators and both were running.

Does it sound like I should be checking for air in the lines and trying to purge it or is the gurgling normal after sitting dormant all spring/summer?

Thanks to all for the advice...I'm still completely learning about the whole hot water heating system and I don't want to continue any follies that the previous owner left me with.
rocketjeremy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF-520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520