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Removing the foam insulation on a copper hot water tank.


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A redundant 40 gallon tank given to me for the sheet copper, has foam insulation.

No problems cutting and using the metal for various things as in the past, but this is the first tank where I have to shift its insulated covering.

I think the bulk of cover is polystyrene foam, but some adhesive holds this to the cylinder.

I think a blow torch would make a mess of treacly blackened foam unless most of it is chiselled off first.

I could use cellulose thinners on the last adhesive layer when the foam has been scraped off, but that would also be expensive and messy and may not attack the adhesive. I haven't tried anything yet, awaiting pearls of wisdom from members.

Has anyone tried (and succeeded) in cleaning back to the metal?

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A rider to the above in case anyone wants to do likewise.

The insulation looked and behaved like the polyurethane foam beloved by double glazers. I have a large bin bag full awaiting refuse collection.

The connections surrendered to a large Stilson and a lot of care.

The immersion heater was virtually solid, neither heat nor WD40 had any effect, so a small bolt cutter clipped off anything sticking out and my trusty jig saw with a new hacksaw blade cut the immersion heater 'plug' in two bush included, and enabled its removal in two pieces.

The top and bottom plus gaffer tape for covering holes and a cling film separator will make a mould for a concrete birdbath. The sheet will provide a coolie hat (shallow cone) as a hat for a bird table. I could go on about copper strips around tender slug vulnerable plants........

Only warning apart from wearing gloves, is to use ear defenders! The racket when cutting the sheet copper is appalling.

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