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Hydroblasting vs. Other Boiler Cleaning Techniques

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There is usually more than one way to do a job, and combustion-side boiler cleaning is no exception. In fact, the different cleaning methods that contractors use for this task are extremely varied, ranging from the use of explosives in a more brute-force approach to hydroblasting.

Each method has its own pros and cons, but our teams focus on hydroblasting because it enjoys some key advantages over the alternatives.  Lets take a look at how hydroblasting compares from other boiler cleaning techniques.


  1. Less Downtime Required 
  2. Get in and Get Out 

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Less Downtime Required 

Perhaps the biggest benefit of hydroblasting, which causes facility managers to sit up and take notice when informed about its application, is the fact that in most situations, it can accomplish a fireside or gas path boiler cleaning job with little or—incases where there is access—nodowntime at all.

If using explosives to blast debris from the external side of boiler tubes, in almost all instances adjacent work must cease and all others must exit the area for safety. Hydroblasting, however, is highly focused and doesn’t pose a risk to those who may be working in the adjacent area. That allows surrounding work to continue, and in many cases, our technicians are able to clean the boiler tubes while it is still operational (again, depending on access, proximity, and other design conditions). 

Get in and Get Out 

In our experience, hydroblasting, since it employs a non-toxic, unregulated substance (water!) and is extremely versatile, simply carries fewer complications than other boiler cleaning techniques. You don’t need a permit from the government to hydroblast, whereas obtaining permission to use explosives can be a long, tedious process when time is critical. 

One more significant advantage of hydroblasting is its precision. Using explosives, by definition, creates strong vibrations and sonic waves that may affect other areas of the boiler and can dislodge scale from within the tubes, thus potentially causing down-stream problems such as eroding turbine blades or steam valve. Addressing those unintended effects can add time and cost to the overall job. Hydroblasting takes place within a clearly defined area and gets the job done as quickly as possible.

Safety. Productivity. Quality. Integrity

Thompson is your go-to provider for all your hydroblasting, vacuuming and other comprehensive industrial cleaning needs. We are committed to safety, which means we are committed to constantly automating our solutions wherever possible. Our hydroblasting and vacuuming services are highly customizable and Thompson’s trained personnel are ready to solve your biggest challenges 24 hours a day.

We serve pulp and paper mills, power plants, steel mills, chemical plants, bulk terminals, and other industrial facilities, by developing a strategy to meet your plant-specific needs. Let our experts engineer a custom job to eliminate down time and yield impressive results.

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About Thompson Industrial

Thompson Industrial specializes in safe, quality Lifecycle Industrial Cleaning Service Solutions. From critical path pre-commissioning & dependable on-site operations support, to productive outages, turnarounds, and decommissioning.

As part of the Hydroblast Vacuum + Big Pump branch, we offer Automated Hydroblasting, Wet + Dry Vacuuming, High Volume Big Pump, Vaccum Excavation and UHP Cutting + Hydrolazing.  When it comes to Chemical Cleaning and FINFOAM®® we are the experts.  

We also offer Specialty + Custom Solutions, including Pigging/Brushing, Combustible Dust Remediation, Dry Ice Blasting, Drone Inspections, In-Situ SCR Catalyst Cleaning, Tank Cleaning + Vapor Control, Sponge Blasting and EPIC™ HRSG Off-line Cleaning.

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