Boiler tube cleaning is the method through which the boiler tubes of steam trains are cleaned, removing ash and soot from the tubes to ensure the efficient production of the boiler’s draught for the flame. This used to be usually performed using compressed air or steam ladders and followed by brushing as needed. As most of today’s modern boilers use electricity for their heating purposes, this method can not be carried out anymore due to safety reasons. However, there are alternatives for this.
A new type of boiler tube cleaning tool is the chemical cleaning device. The main difference is that instead of brushing, it uses jets of chemical solution. A jet of solution is shot into the tubes and leaves no soiling behind, and all the dust particles are also shot out into the air. The jet action agitates the dust and any loose dirt and leaves it suspended above the boiler body. This then pulls it upwards to the collection container or the inspection panel. From here, it can be easily removed and washed away.
Chemical cleaning does not only remove the ordinary dust that accumulates in the boiler tube, but it removes all the metallic residues that have accumulated over time. They act as conductors to carry electricity, and the metallic deposits that are not conductive become energized when there is a current passing through them. When there are too many of these deposits, they become oxidized, and corrosion sets in. A thorough cleaning will prevent this.
A few simple rules are easy to follow. They include not letting the soiled water tubes drip down to the drainage field, and covering the drainage fields with a tarp. Keeping these tarp covered will keep the soiled water tubes from getting soiled further.
You need two methods to complete the chemical cleaning of your boiler tubes. One method involves using a commercial hydrochloric acid cleaner. You must ensure that you buy the right one for your type of boiler tube. It must be safe to use in any area where there are combustible liquids. This should be safe enough to use even in your house. In case the hydrochloric acid you buy reacts with any other chemicals in the water or the air, you must immediately neutralize the chemical by using oxygen bleach.
The second way to perform the boiler chemical cleaning process is to use your hands. If you have access to hot water and a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush, you can make cleaning your boiler tube surfaces quick and easy. Just pour the chemical cleaner into the tube, and start scrubbing the cleaner onto the tube surfaces in long, circular motions. You may need to do a couple of passes with the scrubbing brush before the tube becomes clean and dry. After the tube has become clean and dry, you can wipe it with a damp cloth to remove the residue of the cleaning agent.