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Old 10-20-2009, 04:17 PM   #1
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I'm new here and hoping someone might be able to help me! I've got an oil burning furnace at home. We just recently purchased the home and hadn't needed to use the heat until now!

When you turn the heat on from the thermostat, it does nothing. You have to go down to the furnace itself and press the button. The reset button I'm assuming. Once you press the button it'll continue to run for a few minutes. Then, it shuts off. It won't kick back on.

It's got oil, so that's not the issue. It's an older unit (1988). I don't have any other info on it now. I'd have to write it down when I got home.

Any idea on what could be causing this problem?!

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Old 10-20-2009, 06:31 PM   #2
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It could be a dirty nozzle and you are not getting the right flame and the eye doesn't see the flame so it is shutting it down? When was the last time it was serviced?

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Old 10-20-2009, 06:39 PM   #3
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Hard to say but start with Plumvoltage answer.

SAFETY NOTE: DO NOT TRY PUSHING THE RESET BUTTON MORE THAN ONCE, IF YOU PUSH IT AND IT TRYS TO START BUT DON'T YOUR ARE LOADING THE FIREBOX UP WITH OIL THEN GUESS WHAT??? IT DECIDES TO FIRE BOOM.

I know from experience. Oh one other thing if and when you push the button don't stand in front of the burner stand to the side.
Just another on the job experience thing.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:44 PM   #4
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They don't go boom, just RUMBLE like an earthquake. LOL. Asked the customer how many times he pressed the reset. Twice, you sure, well maybe once more. Long story short, I got to meet some nice firefighters and wake up the service manager. The joys of being a newbie. Never made that mistake twice.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by yuri View Post
They don't go boom, just RUMBLE like an earthquake. LOL. Asked the customer how many times he pressed the reset. Twice, you sure, well maybe once more. Long story short, I got to meet some nice firefighters and wake up the service manager. The joys of being a newbie. Never made that mistake twice.
I had one go boom it was in a firehouse blew the 12" pipe and damper assembly off the back and all kinds of stuff out the front including me.
I guess every situation is different.

I think the thing that remains the same is the experience and never making the mistake again. More Sea stories at later date. I should have known better I was a Boiler tender in the Navy DUH!
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:21 PM   #6
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Mine was like a runaway train. Square steel heat chamber oddball Shell furnace. Could not see the oil behind the steel part. When the sum*itch got red hot it was all over for me/could not stop it. Smokepipe went white hot and I called the fire dept. Customer looked kinda sheepish and I threatened my boss I would quit doing oil calls. Got outta oil later.

Had one like yours, 2 stage big old oil boiler. Had a spring loaded explosion hatch door on the 12" pipe which blew open and reset. I was a apprentice at the time and watching the old guys. Just about needed clean undies after that one.

Last edited by yuri; 10-20-2009 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by yuri View Post
Mine was like a runaway train. Square steel heat chamber oddball Shell furnace. Could not see the oil behind the steel part. When the sum*itch got red hot it was all over for me/could not stop it. Smokepipe went white hot and I called the fire dept. Customer looked kinda sheepish and I threatened my boss I would quit doing oil calls. Got outta oil later.

Had one like yours, 2 stage big old oil boiler. Had a spring loaded explosion hatch door on the 12" pipe which blew open and reset. I was a apprentice at the time and watching the old guys. Just about needed clean undies after that one.
And these young guys think we don't know anything. I got news for them.
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plumbvoltage View Post
It could be a dirty nozzle and you are not getting the right flame and the eye doesn't see the flame so it is shutting it down? When was the last time it was serviced?

Just bought the house. So, it hasn't been serviced. I was hoping I might be able to get it taken care of myself!

Is the nozzle the button that I'm pressing? Where's the eye?

Anytime the button is pressed, it starts right up. Haven't had to press it more than once to get it started.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:43 AM   #9
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Call your oil company and find out the last time it was serviced and who serviced it. Hate to pile on with the good-ol-boys (or maybe I like it?) but unless you REALLY know what you are doing oil boilers are not for DIY newbies.

Just had mine serviced (I get it done every year - by someone else). The tech has been working on this boiler since it was installed six years ago. The former homeowner had to replace it because she BLEW UP her old one. The tech kept saying how lucky she was that she didn't get killed or kill her kids.

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Old 10-21-2009, 12:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOVE2DIM View Post
Just bought the house. So, it hasn't been serviced. I was hoping I might be able to get it taken care of myself!

Is the nozzle the button that I'm pressing? Where's the eye?

Anytime the button is pressed, it starts right up. Haven't had to press it more than once to get it started.
That statement about young guys was in no way referenced to you just to clear the air.

No lets get back to your boiler.

When you push the button it runs for a while, do you actually see flames or feel heat ?? because it will seem like it's running and shut off on safety.
All right All right I will tell you this but if it don't work call a heating company. SHUT the main power off, look right near the reset button should be two yellow wires see where they go, the cell should be at the end of them, you might have to unscrew the big black box(maybe hinged) lift it up you will see a little round thing that's it, wipe the end of it off facing toward the boiler put every thing back and retry it.
If it don't work I suggest getting a pro. Wouldn't hurt to get a full cleaning and check sounds all sooted up, but don't know for sure can't see it from here. Let us know.

Last edited by SULTINI; 10-21-2009 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Added more information
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SULTINI View Post
That statement about young guys was in no way referenced to you just to clear the air.

No lets get back to your boiler.

When you push the button it runs for a while, do you actually see flames or feel heat ?? because it will seem like it's running and shut off on safety.
All right All right I will tell you this but if it don't work call a heating company. SHUT the main power off, look right near the reset button should be two yellow wires see where they go, the cell should be at the end of them, you might have to unscrew the big black box(maybe hinged) lift it up you will see a little round thing that's it, wipe the end of it off facing toward the boiler put every thing back and retry it.
If it don't work I suggest getting a pro. Wouldn't hurt to get a full cleaning and check sounds all sooted up, but don't know for sure can't see it from here. Let us know.
I don't see flames. (Not sure where to look for those at) I definitely feel heat though! It runs for a bit and does begin to warm the house. Then it stops, a fan kicks in and the heat doesn't turn back on.

When it's running, it's running good! It just seems to me that something like this should be a simple fix. Maybe that's just me being a woman who thinks she can do it all!

Also, if it's been sitting. Let's say overnight. When you press the button it seems to run longer than it would if it just shut off and you press the button again. Make sense?!

I'll definitely try what you suggested. Or have my man do it. He's WAY more mechanically inclined than I. I'm just more computer savvy.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:42 PM   #12
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I am not really sure about that overnight thing you might have to wait until someone else picks up on the problem maybe they have experienced this before I haven't.
Didn't know you were the opposite not that it matters.

NOTE;;;; Make sure the power is off if your checking it especially the big black box it's a high voltage transformer that will knock you through a loop.
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:46 PM   #13
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I will try what you suggested. I also read somewhere about cleaning ceramic near the electrodes on the transformer. You think that may be causing any of my problems?!

Turning all power to the furnace off is simply switching the emergency switch to the off position, correct?
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:58 PM   #14
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I would still get it serviced by a Pro for safety reasons. The nozzle may be partly plugged (not a DIY item) and spraying or DRIPPING oil into the combustion chamber unburnt. It will eventually accumulate and you will get a runaway flame/furnace like I had. NO JOKE!! As Sultini said it is probably burning dirty and plugging the furnace with soot which will cost a LOT for $$ to clean later (we get paid by the hour). It is also INCREDIBLY inefficient if not burning cleanly/sooted up and unless you like supporting the guys on camels a proper servicing will save you LOTS of fuel $$. Oil is just as dangerous and explosive as gas and more so if it accumulates unburnt in the furnace. $$ ain't worth dying for.
PS: Oil furnaces can produce CO Carbon Monoxide. Any fossil fuel burning device can produce CO, that includes fireplaces also.
Yuri (beenthere)

Last edited by yuri; 10-21-2009 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:16 PM   #15
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I'll try what's been suggested. If none of it works, I may just go ahead and price out a new furnace. Somewhere on the machine it says 1988. I'm guessing that furnace's don't last much longer than 20 years. Then I can keep up with the maintanence and have a clean slate as far as that goes.

Thank you all so much for all your suggestions and warnings! I appreciate it. If I ever have any other questions about anything I'll know where to look for an answer. I hope you all have a fantastic evening!

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