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Old 09-07-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
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DIY oil burner service?


Well, it's that time of year again. Debating whether or not to drop about $200 on a pro oil burner tech (a good guy whom I've used before), or learn how to do the routine maintenance myself. Nothing wrong with the boiler or burner, just want to clean it out, new filter, and whatever else is standard practice in annual maintenance.

Worth learning how to do myself? Easy enough? Or call the pro?

I have a lot of plumbing experience, but none working on my boiler.

Thanks.

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Old 09-07-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
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DIY oil burner service?


Over the 20+ years that we had an oil fired boiler, I think that I had our heating and cooling company out mayber 3 or 4 times, to make sure that the boiler was operating safely, and to more-or-less just make sure that everything else was as it should be. As for routine maintenance, I changed the filter, removed, cleaned, adjusted as necessary, and reinstalled the gun and electrodes annually. Before each heating season, and once during the winter, typically over the holidays, I shut the furnace off, removed the covers, and carefully brushed out the soot from between all of the plates, as well as inside the firebox. It's certainly not a clean job. I had a small shop vac that I used just for that task, and after the time that the filter plugged, spreading soot all about the utility room, I was very careful about cleaning the vac filter when I was done with it, and rigged up a tube on the discharge side so that I could filter that through an old sock. I never minded doing it, and it did give me some piece of mind that I had some idea what to do if it went out in the middle of the night, but I don't know that I would recommend it to everyone.

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Old 09-07-2010, 03:59 PM   #3
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DIY oil burner service?


Better to get it done by a Pro as long as he is experienced and does a smoke and combustion test/analysis. NO way to eyeball a flame and get it to burn efficiently. A proper tuneup will pay for itself in fuel savings and extend the life of the unit. If not, the oil companies will be happy to take your dollaros $$$.
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:25 PM   #4
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DIY oil burner service?


Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
Better to get it done by a Pro as long as he is experienced and does a smoke and combustion test/analysis. NO way to eyeball a flame and get it to burn efficiently. A proper tuneup will pay for itself in fuel savings and extend the life of the unit. If not, the oil companies will be happy to take your dollaros $$$.

I agree with Yuri.

I have been in the biz for 20yrs.. Have done some oil fired units, but not enough to be a pro at them..


I would let a Pro take care of it. Is you house or family worth less than the $200.00 it will cost to have it ready for the season???


I think that I remember that Beenthere had a post that; he watched as the fire dept was called out when the chimney was on fire cuz someone had pushed the reset one too many times...
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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DIY oil burner service?


Without combustion testing equipment you are pretty much wasting your time.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:41 PM   #6
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DIY oil burner service?


You can't tell the difference between a 4 smoke flame, and a trace smoke flame by eye.

You need the proper equipment to do it right.

A well set up burner, won't make a lot of soot in the furnace or boiler, which ever you have.

If you have soot build up by the middle of winter. The burner isn't set up right.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:27 PM   #7
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DIY oil burner service?


No disagreement with Yuri or any of the subsequent posters, which is the reason that I started off by mentioning that I did have the heating and cooling company out every several years, and closed by saying that I didn't know that I would recommend my approach to everyone. The points that they raised are very important, and are not to be overlooked. I am very careful when it comes to protecting myself and those around me, but having lived with oil heat for more than 5 decades, and being curious about how things worked at an early age, I felt comfortable with it. On the other hand, I now have propane, and because my knowledge is limited, I don't mess with it. Just a matter of where one's comfort level is. I should have added though that you should find a company that specializes in oil heat, because my experience has been that it is different, and a lot of companies either don't work on them, or are not proficient at them.

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