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Boiler Fire Box Cleaning Procedure
(revised 14th of 11th Mo. 2013, further revisions 12th of 2nd Mo. 2017)
When to clean?
Pellet burner fire box should be cleaned weekly on any day you choose on Sunday after meeting, or Tuesday through Friday. The thermostats are set to drop to 55°F early on Sunday so the fire box will be cold enough after meeting on Sunday. It comes back up Sunday evening to be warm for the Zen group on Monday. Then it goes back down to 65°F until Saturday AM to warm up for Meeting on Sunday. Exceptions are made when additional use of the meetinghouse is scheduled.
Is pellet burner off?
Start by noting that the LED screen is blank indicating the pellet burner is off. If it is running it must be allowed to cool down for a couple of hours. There are two ways to shut off the pellet burner.
- Select "OFF" on the LED screen, or
- Turn the thermostats down to 55°F.
Is room door closed?
Door to mechanical room should be closed throughout the procedure for soot and noise containment.
Are your clothes covered?
It’s a dirty job. Put on blue flannel shirt and work gloves left for this purpose. A kneeling pad is available for use. Feel free to bring a face mask or respirator and old clothes of your own. Be careful to not touch walls if your hands are sooty. There is Lava soap on the slop sink in the mechanical room along with a hand towel.
Is vacuum cleaner filter clean?
Expect the vacuum filter to not be clean or the vacuum to be empty when you begin your work. Clean the green vacuum filter by unscrewing and removing the brass fixture on the top of the vac. This is finger tight and no wrench should be needed. Now a wire handle is exposed. Shake it several times. This knocks ash off the filter. Then replace the brass fitting. Enough dust may build up that requires dust to be removed from the filter in a better manner. If suction of the vac is reduced and the pipe is not clogged, take the black bristled brush and the entire vac outside away from the building, check wind direction, remove the top, and lightly strike the filter with the brush multiple times.
Is vacuum cleaner nearly full?
If vacuum contents are high, carefully empty contents into steel trash can avoiding spillage and excess ash puffing up. Return lid to trash can as quickly as possible.
Open bottom boiler door
Remove two bolts at the bottom of the boiler door. They are finger tight and have a ‘T’ fitting welded to their heads for easy turning.
Notice the position of the hanging chain and spacer so you can return it to position at the end of the cleaning. Swing the door back on its hinges as wide as possible. Hanging chain and spacer should be placed on top of blue housing out of your way.
Empty ash tray
Remove the bottom ash tray and carefully empty contents into steel trash can trying to avoid spillage and excess ash puffing up. Replace the ash tray. Return lid to trash can as quickly as possible. Note that the open end of the ash tray goes into the fire box first.
Clean ash spills
Use the vacuum to clean up any significant ash spills as you work. This includes ash that flies up and lands on the top of the blue housing and auger tubes. Ash is the enemy. If the cleaner is not careful it gets on shoes and hands and then is carried around the building. Please wash up any hand prints on door frames or walls that you or anyone else has left behind.
Remove heat shields
Remove the 2 heat shields near the top of the fire box. They are friction and gravity fit. Note how they are positioned in order to be able to return them to position. They should be switched right to left and left to right to even the warpage.
Brush ash around boiler
Run the round brush over the openings in the front top of the boiler causing ash to fall below. Then run the brush through the holes just below the top. This will cause lots of ash to puff out. Quickly closing the top part of the door will reduce the ash escaping into the room.
Brush fire box
Continue to brush all interior surfaces of the fire box from the top down. Ash that falls down onto the grate in the bottom of the fire box should be brushed through the grate into the ash tray below. Ash insulates the firebox and reduces the boiler efficiency.
Empty ash tray again
Remove the ash tray and empty again. Vacuum the tray and do not return to position.
Clean fire box
Use the vacuum to clean out the fire box. Take special care with the center of the bottom grate. Chinks of solidified ash called “clinkers” can collect there and prevent proper “ash scrape” that the boiler performs during normal operation.
Clean bottom under ash tray
Use the vacuum to clean out the bottom where the ash tray will be replaced. Take care to not clog the vac by trying to vac too much at once. The vac hose can separate near the green canister. If it does, twist it back in place. The pipe and hose clog easily. If they do, remove the hose from the green canister and hold it up straight for the contents to shake out onto the floor near the boiler. Then vac up that mess.
Return the ash tray
It barely fits and must be lifted a bit at the far end and centered left to right in order to close the door.
Return heat shields
Return the heat shields to the top of the fire box, switching them right to left or left to right. Place them carefully to rest on the tabs at the top of the fire box and place them centered from the back so air can circulate around them to minimize warpage.
Close the doors, replace the bolts on the bottom door finger tight, and refit the spacer on the hanging chain.
As a check on the system, turn up the heat on the thermostat in the Fellowship Room to a point above the air temperature to be sure boiler begins to fire. There will be a boot-up that appears on the LED screen. Proper functioning will display “attempting to start” or “waiting to start,” or “start underway.” Wait until pellets are burning well, then turn the heat back down to 65°F.
Verify pellet burner operation
To temporarily adjust the temperature to verify pellet burner operation or to shut off the pellet burner.
- Press "UP" arrow to above room temperature.
- After the pellet burner is verified as operational, press "DOWN" arrow to 65°F.
To adjust the temperature, press the set button multiple times until you come to the proper day and time period. When the temp is blinking raise or lower appropriately and then press Run.