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Burner Problems

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  • Burner Problems

    My direct fire burner tube has been functioning less than optimum as of late. My Kettle is a 7 Barrel Ripley Stainless and the burner is a direct fire style made by Powerflame. I had been noticing lately that there was significantly more build up in the exhaust and it smelt like it was burning dirty, also the boil was not as powerful as it has been in the past. I found a small leak in a burner connection and a technician from a local propane co-op fixed the leak and inspected the burner. He thought that the leak may have been causing the buildup and smell, unfortunately he was not a specialist with these types of burners. Since having the burner looked at I have brewed a few times and the smell is still there (not quite as strong as before), there is no gas leak, and the boil seems to still be soft, I do a 90 minute boil and lose a total of 6% volume. I know I boil off a lot more in the winter but I feel like this is only half of the boil off I used to get in previous summers. I think I may be smelling the burner burning off the previous buildup. Has anyone ever experienced these symptoms from this kind of burner? Any recommendations? Who should I have professionally evaluate the burner and fix what is necessary? I have no personal experience working on these burners and am worried about causing more damage and creating more hazards by monkeying with it. Thanks-

    Blaze Ruud
    Old Schoolhouse Brewery- Head Brewer
    Blaze Ruud

  • #2
    Make sure gas pressure going to the burner is correct. Too high and it will burn too rich possibly giving you incomplete combustion/smell/build-up as well as lowered efficiency. Your tech can check this for you. You may need to clean the outside of your heat transfer surfaces.

    Had a similar problem after a service with my oil fired steam boiler. The burner oil pressure (after service) was set too high. Within 48 hours we had an incredible soot build-up which required the chimney to be cleaned, the boiler to be cleaned and the burner re-serviced.

    I'm now an expert on oil burners.

    I lost a day at the end of which, except for for where my mask was, I looked like a coal miner. Felt like a piece of walking toxic waste.


    Liam McKenna


    • #3
      I have found the need to clean the orifices of the burner jets when my heat transfer performance drops. I use an 88 jet direct fire burner on propane. Usually this is about three times per year. The tiny orifices need to be cleaned with the size drill bit that was originally used to bore them out. This must be done gently to not distort the bore, and is a tedious job, but I now can do it in about 25 minutes with the drill bit held in a small pair of hemostats. I find the jets tend to get fouled mostly after exposure to moisture, such as prolonged rainy weather of after steam gets sucked into the make up air. Hosing out under the kettle while the burner is on is definitely a source of fouling.