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Thread: Evaporator cleaning for the year

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    Barrie, Ontario
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    Default Evaporator cleaning for the year

    Any good tips on the best way to clean an evaporator pans at the end of the season?
    Last edited by Bullet; 03-30-2021 at 07:56 PM.
    2021 - 20 Taps Buckets - 60 taps - 3/16" tubing - Gravity
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    MA
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    There are quite a few options

    1. Fill the pans with the last run of sap and allow it to ferment for several weeks (months?). The acidic nature of the ooze formed supposedly cleans the pans to perfection.

    2. Use a 50/50 ratio of household vinegar to water and soak the pans.

    3. Use an acidic pan cleaner available online or at your maple supply store.

    4. I believe that certain acidic cleansers for the dairy industry can be used but I would confirm that with another source. Be cautious because it is my understanding that some acids (e.g. muriatic) are not appropriate for use on stainless.
    60ish taps on buckets
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Wakefield,New Hampshire
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    Option 2 is my go to method. I believe it may be cheaper if not the same cost as the commercial pan cleaner, but vinegar is more readily available locally. They have 1-1/2 gal containers at Bj's and Costco, Sam's club which saves a few bucks if you have a membership there. The 50$ bottle of leader pan cleaner can be mixed with 160 gallons of water, depending on pan size one container will get you pretty far.
    6th season solo sugar maker in a young sugar bush of mostly red maples
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Connecticut
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecolbeck View Post
    Use a 50/50 ratio of household vinegar to water and soak the pans.
    How long of a soak? Couple hours, couple days, couple weeks?
    Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    MA
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    Good question. The directions for commercial pan cleaners say to heat the solution to 140 F. I do that and leave it for a week, dump it out, scrub a little, rinse and be done. I don't strive to have perfectly clean pans.
    60ish taps on buckets
    D&G Sportsman 18x63
    Turbo RB15 RO Bucket

  6. #6
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    Apr 2005
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    Northwest PA
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    I use the white vinegar and water. Fill the back pan above the divider and add 3 gallons of white vinegar, fill the front pan half way with water and add 2 gallons of vinegar. Light the evaporator and bring it up to almost a boil and shut down. In a couple of days light the evaporator again, heat up and shut down. Then all that is left to do is either brush or wipe everything down, drain, and rinse. Very pleased with results. The strength of the commercial acid has always concerned me, I understand you need to neutralize it before you drain it out of the pans. But that is just me, I know people that use it with no problems.
    12 x 16 Sugarhouse, 12 x 16 Woodshed
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Deposit, NY
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    I also use left over sap the years I have leftover. I fill the pans and let it sit for a few weeks. I come back empty them and give them a good wipe and rinse and they are good to go for next year.

    If I don't have extra sap like this year i fill with water and white vinegar and let sit same as I do if using sap.
    90-100 buckets
    RO Bucket RB10 upgraded to RB20
    Homemade oil tank arch
    Homemade stainless pans
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  8. #8
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    Mar 2005
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    Like Father and Son, I vote for the vinegar and water too. I used 6 gallons. 2 in steam away, 2 in rear pan, and 2 in front pan. Filled each with water and brought to 160 ish, a couple times. light brushing , took a week. A little final scrubbing for the tough areas. Drain and rinse, done.
    Regards,
    Chris
    Casbohm Maple and Honey
    625 roadside taps + Neighbors bring some sap too!
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  9. #9
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    Feb 2017
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    Connecticut
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    All good information.
    Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Feb 2016
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    Peru, Maine
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    We use the acid from the maple suppliers. Once we are done, fill the pans half full with water and acid mix, bring to a boil and let sit for 2 weeks. Very easy to scrub anything left off. Then we pull the pans out, pressure wash them and clean the bottoms with oven cleaner and a pressure washer. The oven cleaner does most of the work. Realize that with the use of old sap, it can get pretty rank which is not an option for us seeing how the sugar shack gets other uses throughout the year.
    270 taps on 2 Shurflo's, 31 taps on 3/16" and 229 taps on gravity. 530 in all
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