Care of Boiler. Importance. The life of a locomotive boiler depends largely upon the systematic and intelligent attention it receives apd the particular locality in which it is used. The time elapsing between cleanings and washings varies between wide limits with different roads and different localities, depending largely upon the character of the service and water used. The proper blowing out by the engineer in order to prevent undue concentration of material in solution is of much importance. Some roads require this blowing out to be done while running and others at terminal points. The removal of sediment or sludge, such as soft scale, mud, etc., can best be accomplished at terminals after the water has had time to become more quiet.
Much importance is attached to the manner of cooling down and washing out. When done hurriedly the boiler usually suffers. The following directions for washing and cleaning boilers are abstracted from instructions furnished employes by one of our well-known railroads.
Cooling Boiler. Boilers should be thoroughly cooled before being washed. When cooled in the natural way, the steam should be blown off and the water retained above the top of the crown sheet and allowed to stand until the temperature of the steel in the fire-box is reduced to about 90° F., after which time the water may be drawn off and the boiler washed. When the locomotive cannot be spared from service long enough to be cleaned in this manner, the following plan should be carried out.
After the steam pressure has dropped considerably, start the injector and continue filling the boiler until the injector will no longer operate. Then connect the water pressure hose to the feed hose between the engine and tender and fill the boiler full, permitting steam to blow through some outlet at the top of the boiler. Next open the blow-off cock or valve and permit the water to escape, but at a rate less than that entering from the water hose, so as to keep the boiler completely filled. Continue the process until the fire-box sheet has been reduced in temperature to about 90° F., at which time shut off the water, open all plugs, and allow the boiler to completely empty.
Washing Boiler. Washing may now be begun by first washing the flues by the side holes opposite the front end of the crown sheet. Next wash the top of the crown sheet at the front end, then between the rows of crown bars, if provided, and bolts, directing the stream toward the back end of the crown sheet. After washing through the holes near the front end of the crown sheet, continue washing through the holes, in order, toward the back end of the crown sheet, in such a manner as to work the mud and scale from the crown sheet toward the side and back legs of the boiler and thus prevent depositing it on the back ends of the flues. Continue washing, using the holes in the boiler head, with the swivel attachment on the hose, working from the front to the rear, endeavoring to thoroughly wash the top of the boiler as well as all stays and the crown sheet.
Next wash the back end of the flues through suitably located holes and afterward the water space between the back head and the door sheet through the holes in the back head, using the angle nozzle. The inside arch flues should also be washed thoroughly from the back head and scraped with the proper form of scraper.
If washout plugs are provided in the front flue sheet, wash through them, using a long pipe nozzle of sufficient length to reach the back flue sheet. If the holes are among the flues, the nozzle should be a bent one and should be revolved as it is drawn from the back end toward the front.
Now wash through the holes near the check valves at the front end of the boiler, using straight and angle nozzles with swivel connection. Then wash through the holes in the bottom of the barrel near the rear end, using the straight nozzle directly against the flues and reaching as far as possible in all directions. Both the straight and bent nozzles should now be used through the front hole in the bottom of the barrel, in the same manner as before, to clean the flues and the space between the flues and the barrel.
After washing the barrel completely, clean the back end of the arch flues, making sure they are free from scale. Next by using bent nozzles in the side and corner holes of the water legs, thoroughly clean the side sheets and finally clean off all scale and mud from the mud ring by means of straight nozzles in the corner holes. It should not be assumed that because the water runs clear from the boiler that it is clean and free from scale. Carefully examine all spaces with a rod and light and, if necessary, use a pick, steel scraper, or other suitable tool in removing the accumulation of scale.
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