Maintenance and Service
Bioenergy user’s tools often lie unused in the toolbox. There is just no use for them.
Besides basic maintenance, heating plants that run on biofuels rarely need other servicing. This is, however, provided that the fuel used is of good quality.
Everyone can perform basic maintenance themselves. The most common measures are sweeping the boiler and removing ash. When simple service operations are carried out and the right kind of fuel is used, bioenergy heating is carefree and safe.
Prior to service and sweeping, the heating plant must be turned off by the main current switch. Remember to let the plant cool down before taking any measures.
If you are servicing the stoker tank and you have to go inside the tank, make sure the tank is properly aired. It is possible that there is toxic carbon monoxide inside the tank!
Removing ash is one of the basic maintenance procedures in heating. When ash is removed from the boiler, it is to be remembered that the ash is very hot, and can cause a fire if handled negligently.
Ash is best stored in a metallic container with a lid, which is placed in a fire proof location. A safe intermediate storage for ash is for example an old, 200 l metal barrel. Ash can be utilised further: especially wood ash is excellent, natural fertiliser for vegetable garden.
By following the combustion gas temperatures, it is easy to evaluate the need for sweeping. When the temperatures rise 30 degrees or more from the normal, it is time for sweeping.
Chimney needs sweeping at least once a year, if the heating plant is in use around the year. Keep the exhaustion gas temperature gauge clean, so that you will always get correct results.
By following the EGT-gauge, you can estimate the need for sweeping.
A boiler in need of sweeping.
Self-made, tubular incinerator before sweeping and implementation.
Other Maintenance Measures
It is recommended to clean the incinerator a few times per year by opening and cleaning the flues. Even though incinerators are durable and long-lived, inspect the condition of the incinerator regularly.
If the incinerator is damaged, it must be repaired or replaced. Instead of buying a new one, you can build a simple tubular one yourself using acid-proof steel pipe. Perforate the pipe for primary air and secondary air, and weld it back in its place. Now the incinerator is ready to use and again reliable.
In the yearly servicing, an overall situation review is performed. The yearly servicing includes cleaning and greasing different parts and reviewing safety aspects.
Also the wings of the secondary air fan blades, and the boiler’s safety valves should be inspected in the yearly servicing. There can be different kinds of joints, chains, and other moving parts that need greasing. Checking the dry powder extinguisher and its pressure, along with other safety issues are to be looked through regularly.
Chain-driven stoker burner needs greasing yearly.
The “turbo” of the burner, that is, a fan that blows air into the flames.