Hot water heat exchangers

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Hot water heat exchangers

Postby Ron » Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:09 pm

What is the best way to clean the hot water heat exchangers that are used in conjunction with outdoor furnaces?
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Re: Hot water heat exchangers

Postby DK » Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:08 pm

If the water has been treated correctly and there has never been a leak It shouldn't ever need cleaning
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Re: Hot water heat exchangers

Postby Ron » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:38 pm

I was referring to the water to air heat exchanger that is installed inside the duct work and specifically to cleaning the surfaces which has air passing through.
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Re: Hot water heat exchangers

Postby Ron » Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:33 pm

What about the secondary heat exchangers? Currently we pull the blower and air wash those with the vac attached at the blower cabinet opening. Is there a better way?
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Re: Hot water heat exchangers

Postby John Bently » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:12 am

It looks like you have mentioned two different types of coils, heat coils from outdoor furnace and secondary heat exchanger for 80% + furnace.

With the hot water coil from the wood furnace you could clean it like a re-heat coil and blow air back through it opposite of normal airflow. We would normally access both sides of the coil and use air in the opposite direction of normal flow. With a vacuum hose hooked up next to the coil to catch material that you get from the coil. Then doing the same thing in the opposite direction. Go back and forth a few times. You can also try using a coil cleaner but then you have the challenge of rinsing the coil. Some coils may be installed so they can be removed for cleaning or maintenance. If this is the case that is an option also.

For secondary heat exchangers in furnaces we would normally remove the fan and vacuum the coil using a brush attachment. If you blast air into the coil from below it just drives the dirt into the coil. Removing the fan can take some time so plan to charge accordingly.

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Re: Hot water heat exchangers

Postby Ron » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:56 pm

Yes, two different types of coils.

When dirty I remove, disassemble and hand wash every blower. If only lightly soiled, hand vacuuming the secondary works great, but when these are impacted with years of dirt and pet hair air washing in conjunction with the vacuum has been the best way that I've found. Unfortunately it also takes a great deal of time and with winter approaching I'd love to find a better way.

Fortunately I don't see a lot of the indoor coils for outdoor hot water furnaces, but each seems to come with its own set of issues. Most are installed in very dirty older systems that previously had a coal or wood burner attached and access to both sides is often limited by their proximity to the primary heat exchanger and/or indoor a/c coil. I'm also concerned about those who have may chemical sensitivities and for that reason prefer not to use any type of chemical inside the systems.

Ron
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