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JUNIOR437T 11-12-2006 01:39 PM

Oil Burner Problems
I have a Heil oil furnace. It is about 5 years old. There is 24 inches of pipe between the furnace and the chimney. The pipe rises about 4 inches in this 2 feet. The furnace started smoking around the "inspection port". When the furnace fires, you can see flame around this port. There is not excessive smoke or soot around this port. It almost acts like the chimney or the pipe is stopped up. I used a shop vac and cleaned up all the soot i could access. I removed the plate where the "pipe" goes out to the chimney and cleaned that area. Inside there was probably 1/4 inch of soot.

mdshunk 11-12-2006 01:45 PM

Just a head's up.... it is considered "bad manners" to post your question in multiple places at the same time.

Here's the other thread:

JUNIOR437T 11-12-2006 01:50 PM

Bad manners
I apoplgize for being rude. I had no idea that it was "bad manners". I figured I would stand a better chance of getting a reply if I asked more than one group of people. It is cold here, no heat and no way to get service today. If I can't fix furnace myself, it is going to be a long, cold night.

#CARRIERMAN 11-12-2006 03:25 PM


I work on waste oil heaters in car dealerships and other places.The most common thing I find when I pick up a new account, is no one cleans these things. For an oil fired heater to work properly you have to keep the ash cleaned out of them. You also need to keep the oil delivery filters and pre heaters cleaned. If you do not keep up the maintenance on them properly, not only will you be spending cold nights, you'll have a hell of a repair bill. Call your local HVAC company or the people that installed it, have it serviced and I'll bet it just needs a good cleaning.

Good luck

JUNIOR437T 11-12-2006 03:37 PM

I do not know what would need cleaned. My mother has had an oil burner for 25 or 30 years and has never had to get anything cleaned. Where would you clean the ash out of the furnace? I have one in another house that has been used 6 years. None of these 3 units have filters on the supply lines and no preheaters. The oil comes straight from the tank to the nozzle. I am confused as to what maintenance there is on these furnaces besides changing the filter in the return. Thanks for the ideas. I will call the company that installed it tomorrow and try to get them to come out. Bad thing is they are the only service company within 50 miles.

#CARRIERMAN 11-12-2006 03:57 PM


The ash builds up inside the heat exchanger and inside the flue tubes. The pre heater is the box that is hanging on the bottom of the burner assembly if its a Beckett. This heater is in a box that is about 4" x 12" and is mounted directly below the fan portion. This piece when dismantled has a cap that unscrews off of either end, you will find a rifled peice inside that tube, that is the pre heater. There will be three limits on the end of the preheater. There should be an acess panel on the heater that bolts on. That is what you take apart to get to the ash.

Good luck

mdshunk 11-12-2006 04:01 PM

Preheater assemblies are only used on waste oil burners and #6 and heavier fuel oil burners. For ordinary #2 domestic fuel oil burners, preheater assemblies are not used.

This OP's problem is a basic lack of PM. Oil burners need annual PM. There's no 2 ways about it. Going 25 years without PM means that the furnace had really large heat exchanger cavities and it is really, really in need of PM. I've cleaned furnaces so clogged that I had to use rebar to punch out all the collected soot.

An oil burning furnace is not a maintenance free affair.

The OP's flame retention ring may have fallen off also. This would also cause these symptoms, and would have been caught during annual PM. I direct you, again, to my response on the other site in which I briefly detailed what would be done during annual PM.

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