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Author Topic: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote  (Read 1696 times)

PapaTango

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2017, 07:15:14 PM »

I have an e1450 and if I don't clean out the tubes once every two weeks they will get clogged up where the tool won't fit down the tubes. I use a small piece of wire like a coat hanger and run it up for the bottom and down from the top to break it up. I then pull the scraper tool with chains on both ends down through the tubes. One thing a learned is that if you remove the weak chain that came with it and put a heavier duty chain on the tool it will pull down easier.  Glad you were able to clean out the tubes and it's important to keep them clean. I use a shop vac during clean out to remove all ash and debris off the top of those tubes as well.
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smithbr

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2017, 05:57:58 AM »

Hey, PapaTango
Good to hear, but I suspect this is one of those issues that's very fuelwood and dryness-specific.  As for their tool, I gave up in disgust.  It jams randomly, and yeah, the chain is a piece of junk.  My new tool is far better for the job as far as I'm concerned.  I'll probably play with their tool later this spring, at the end-of-season cleanout, to make sure the paths are really clean.  On a weekly basis, it's easier to just use my "articulating poker".  Which I'll post a pic of if anyone's curious.  It's just a couple of pieces of the removable metal frame you find inside filing cabinets, the sort used to support "hangfiles".  The L-leg and one straight section, if reassembled with a bolt(or rivet) to make a really long L, is perfect for jamming up and down in the tubes.  The bottom leg of the L is just right for chipping away at creosote up the edges, and with a little practice you can really work away at it.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 12:29:02 PM by smithbr »
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bowood

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2017, 08:30:32 AM »

5 out of my 7 heat exchange ducts clogged.  I used a rod for a chimney brush to clear a path for the chain that came with the boiler.  Dropped the chain through and unplugged each easily.  I'm glad I read this post to realize that all 7 are supposed to be clear.  I thought at first they connected into a single duct on each side and so that it was normal to not be able to get the chain through all 7.
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smithbr

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2017, 08:22:30 AM »

Figured I'd post an update.  Finally got the chain tool through all 7 passages.  Didn't improve performance, but now I know they're clear.  Took a lot of chipping to get numbers 5 and 6 clear, and they seem to be clogging back up more quickly than the rest.  Day after I started up for the fall, I was standing near the furnace piling wood, and I heard a "Whumpfh" at the end of a 50 second boost.  Sure enough, the electrical cabinet has a new load of embers in it, so I applied another load of WD40 to the solenoids; pretty sure that's what's happening, one or both valves is hanging up and as a result we get an explosive gas mix in the stove, which relieves itself.  Hope it's not doing any other harm.
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smithbr

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2017, 02:28:31 PM »

Further update, two cleanouts since my post on the 7th, and each time, putting the chain tool through was a breeze except for the sixth tube, which clears quickly but not without some back-and-forth with the tool.  My complaint last year about the tool was unwarranted, it does a decent job as long as you don't forget it exists.
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lasasj

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2017, 10:48:13 AM »

I have an e1450 and the H-Tool that was provided with it does a great job.  A couple years ago the exchange became very clogged and I had to clean it out with a bent piece of 1/4" metal dowel and a bent piece of flatstock.  I ended up getting the H-Tool stuck and the lower wire ring broke when I tried to pull it down.  Fortunately I had the top chain in-tact to extract the tool.  I ultimately replaced the wire rings with heavy duty chain links.  I'd recommend other e1450 owners do the same. 

If the boiler is running efficiently, my exchange doesn't get much build-up (even when burning soft woods).  When the primary air intake gets some build-up and/or the air tubes, thicker emissions eventually accumulate everywhere.  Once its starts running inefficiently, the process compounds itself and everything becomes a pain to clean.  Key is to stay on top of the little things before they turn into bigger problems.
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jreimer

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2017, 01:03:00 PM »

I echo this for any gassers.  As long as intake and exhaust are clean and clear everything runs great.  Once buildup starts anywhere, things get bad in a hurry.  There is very little room for tolerance with sticky mechanisms or plugged airways.
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duramax

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2017, 04:20:11 PM »

Well I just finished with  clogged heat exchanger tubes. I was doing an ash clean out after 6 weeks plus, it was full to the top with ashes. So while I was at it I cleaned the heat exchanger tubes and the primary air tube. The exchanger tubes were clogged enough that the chain and clean out tool laughed at me. I finally ran a wire  snake down from the top and pulled the clean out tool up to clean them.  Long and the short is that I am burning some bad wood this year. It's mainly white  pine and not aged as well as it could be.  I never had this before now. Next year I am getting wood sooner and plan to get mainly hardwood like the 2 years past. I hate all the smoke from the idle time . Smithbr I know your pain :bash:. Rodger2651 the heat exchange tubes are in back on the side from the chimney pipe, the problem is that there is no straight shot at them but they are easy to get at. Now for the ironic part  of this is I had embers still burning well after the fire died out over 12 hours before I cleaned it,   now I have a smoke show going on starting it up.
On the only plus side I had the coal stove rocking in the basement, something had to work.
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smithbr

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2017, 06:53:56 AM »

Duramax, now that you've got the clearance for the chain tool again, I think you'll find that using it at least every two weeks is best.  Every time I go beyond that, I have to spend extra time pulling and yanking.  I'm nearly 6' tall, and I can get a hand on the chain at the top, other hand at the bottom, and work the rig back and forth; my wife, who's 5'6", can't reach both simultaneously without pressing her face against the back of the furnace, so I guess she'll need help if I'm ever not available to clean the furnace.  The chain tool seems like the best way to clean it out, but I guess all the guys in the design group at Central Boiler are six footers like me - not sure how height-challenged folk could do it alone.
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Roger2561

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2017, 08:52:43 AM »

Duramax, now that you've got the clearance for the chain tool again, I think you'll find that using it at least every two weeks is best.  Every time I go beyond that, I have to spend extra time pulling and yanking.  I'm nearly 6' tall, and I can get a hand on the chain at the top, other hand at the bottom, and work the rig back and forth; my wife, who's 5'6", can't reach both simultaneously without pressing her face against the back of the furnace, so I guess she'll need help if I'm ever not available to clean the furnace.  The chain tool seems like the best way to clean it out, but I guess all the guys in the design group at Central Boiler are six footers like me - not sure how height-challenged folk could do it alone.

I've never seen the chain or the mechanism you're talking about, but is there a way to add links to the chain to make it easier for your wife to reach both ends of it at the same time? 

We're expecting some pretty dang cold temps for the next week or so.  Starting tonight the night time temps are supposed to be double digit below zero F, so I spent a little time (about 45 minutes) performing a thorough cleaning on my 1400 this morning.  The last time I did a complete cleaning was a little over a month ago.  To my surprise most of the primary air holes in the firebox were clean with a minor build up in a couple of them.  This is my 7th year heating my house and DHW with it and I think I have finally figured out how to run the thing.  They say Frenchmen are stubborn and thick headed, well, I'm a great example of that.  Roger
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smithbr

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2017, 09:02:08 AM »

Roger
It wouldn't matter.  The way I use the tool is pulling up, pulling down, working my way down the first tube (it's really a channel), then repeat for the other six  To do this efficiently, you have to retain your grip on both ends of the chain, and pull alternately up and down.  Since both arms are reaching in, one in the top plenum above the hx, and one in the reaction chamber below, in order to pull vertically, more chain doesn't help.  Guess I'd have to show you.  If you're short, or just short in the arms, you're left with pulling the tool down until it sticks, standing up, pulling it up until it's free, leaning down and pulling it down until it sticks, etc. etc. etc.  Very slow, and hard on the back. 

It's a design limitation, and as far as I'm concerned unsolvable for me.  The best solution is to avoid enough buildup to jam the tool, which means weekly cleanouts.  Go to two weeks with average wood, and you're likely going to be cursing a blue streak.

The crappy links they use for the chain connection to the actual H-bar cleanout part need replacing, also, as it's too easy to pull them apart, leaving you with the tool stuck in the channel.  For what we pay for these units, THAT's unforgivable.

Yep, we hit -32C (about -26F) last night.  A half-full firebox lasted 9 hours, but it's not the best wood, only 20% oak/ash, 80% poplar and birch; none of it is as dry as I'd like.
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Roger2561

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2017, 09:59:07 AM »

smithbr - That kinda sucks knowing you can't do much about it other than a cleaning every couple of weeks.  You say it's hard on the back; that's the last thing I need due to degenerative disk disease (DDD) in my lower back and neck.  If I push it too hard, I'll be in pain for a good week following the hard work.  I'm 56 and I hope I can retire from work at 62.  I'm hopeful that I will be able to enjoy my retirement (long motorcycle rides, etc...) for a few years before DDD really kicks my backside.  Roger   
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smithbr

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2017, 10:05:50 AM »

To be clear, I don't find cleaning hard on the back, though I do think I need a stool to sit on while doing this.  But if I had to do the pulls separately, I don't think I'd keep the furnace; my back is good, but my patience for a dumb design is short.  I don't have experience with other furnaces, so maybe they're all challenged in some way, and frankly, other than this cleanout issue I'm pretty happy with the E1450, but...

My wife pointed out another option.  She can kneel and pull down, I can stand and pull up.  We'd be like one of those old time sawyer competitions, with the 6' two-handle bucksaw running vertically, sawing planks off the side of a log.  Sheesh!
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duramax

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2018, 12:17:26 PM »

Cleaned out my 1450 yesterday , weather was supposed to get in the 50's but it never broke above 31* but even that was still warm. The heat exchanger  tubes were easy this time, I just used the factory tool and chain. I just pull it up and let it fall to clear out the tubes. Better wood and more demand must have helped keep it cleaner. I did get sick of using an ash vac, takes lots of time so I got out the shop vac and put water in the bottom for any hot coals. I vacuum it from the top and suck out the reaction chamber.
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smithbr

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Re: E1450 clogged heat exchanger tubes - creosote
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2018, 05:18:22 PM »

Duramax - You pull it up the tube?  How does that work?  I can't get the chain to climb up the inside of the tube so I can grab it at the top -   :D gravity always wins.  Unless you disconnect the chain, hang it down the inside, connect the tool at the bottom, and pull up?
I replaced those stupid keychain rings they used to attach the chain to the tool with some 3/16" chain links; now I can pull as hard as I want, they're not going to deform, come apart, and leave the tool in the furnace.  Also, now I can pull it down without doing the up-down jiggity jig. It works, though I worry that if I ever get it jammed yanking it that hard, I'll have a devil of a time getting it out, up or down.  Next winter, better wood, I swear. :bash:

B
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