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Old 03-01-2007, 05:51 PM   #1
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oil furnace problems


I am having problems with my oil furnace, it will turn on and spray oil but it never ignites. I will attempt to get in there and see if something needs to be cleaned or something simple as I can not afford to/do not want to call a repair man at the moment.

It is an old williamson unit that was working fine, it will be replaced in the spring with a heat pump/gas furnace combo, but needs to be limped along for at least the next 2 months.

any help or suggestions of where to start on the trouble shooting would be appreciated.

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Old 03-01-2007, 06:04 PM   #2
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I just went down and checked the filters, they were farily dirty but not completely clogged. I took them out and reset the furnace/thermostat but it did not help anything.

when I open the little window a little mist of oil comes out, so it is definately spraying.

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Old 03-02-2007, 05:02 PM   #3
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Can anyone help me with this? I'm freezing here haha..I've got space heaters running so i'm not without heat but i'm sure my electric bill is going through the roof.

I know on small kerosene or diesel space heaters there is a spark plug that sometimes needs to be cleaned and/or replaced. Is there anything similar on oil fired furnaces?
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:45 AM   #4
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oil furnace problems


I see that no one has ever replied to this thread, so I am not sure of the respose I'll get either. This morning I woke up to 12C temps when its still -10 outside. The air was frigid. So I checked and sure enough the furnace had stopped working. The blower was still on and circulating air, but it was Cold air. The indicator light on the furnace was on, so I reset the button and nothing has seemed to change. I have a programmable thermo so the "heat" light was flashing, but when it doesn't go off, its an indication that there is something wrong. All the wiring is connected as it should be, so I am not sure what to check next. It's a grimsby, if that helps anyone. I would like to avoid called the repair tech as just to come to the house will be $170, on top of what ever he finds...but if my problems seems to be of that status, then I will defiinitely give them a call. If anyone has any suggestions, I would be very grateful to them.
Thank you,
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Old 03-21-2007, 12:18 PM   #5
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oil furnace problems


Im no oil expert, but here goes.
There should be an igniter electrode and a flame rod. The 1rst acts like a spark plug but arc's to a ground, this is where you need to know your gap. The 2nd tells you have igniton. I have a picture of a gas fired unit but Im having problems uploading on this sight. If you need it Ill try again! Hey if Im wrong you may get another response from someone with more experience. So anywho if # 1 has to much gap or a break in the insulation it may arc out of the atomized stream of oil.Oil really needs a strong arc to ignite.I think DIY Wwoman use her burner reset not her stat reset have you?

Last edited by mikemy6; 03-21-2007 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 03-23-2007, 09:45 AM   #6
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Recently had a similar problem. In order to keep my oil furnace running, I had to clean the igniter tips (carbon fouling) daily for about a month. The furnace would spray oil but not ignite unless the tips were clean. I had a tank (550 gal. inground) fill up in Feb. The problems started after that. I believe the delivery flow was too fast and stirred a lot of moisture that will lay on the bottom of an oil tank. It will take some time for the tank too settle. To prove the point, pull the in line filter and dump the contents into a glass to see how much water settles to the bottom. You can also do a dip test with a compound (don't know the name) from you fuel supplier. Put this material on a dip stick that reaches to the bottom of your tank(s). The bottom of the stick will turn red when water is present. Take that measurement (usually in inches) to a water conversion chart supplied by your fuel company to let you know how many gallons of water is infecting your tank. If your tanks are above ground you may have a drain valve to dump any condensate build-up.
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Old 03-25-2007, 03:50 AM   #7
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Hey cross + woman how did you ladies + guys make out Please reply
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Old 03-25-2007, 01:59 PM   #8
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oil furnace problems


Hi crossthreaded

I am sorry I did not reply right away, I have been busy with my new job. It sounds like to me that your cad cell is shorted out. The way to find this out it to remove the cad cell, (cad cell is the piece that sets between the electrodes of the coil) and put the coil back in place. Start the furnce up and when it ignites, it should run for about 30 seconds and trip the ignition module. If this works, replace the cad cell and the furnace should run ok. However I would reccomend having furnace serviced, oil furnaces are not a set and forget heating source.

Good luck
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:34 AM   #9
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Hi Crossthread
Sorry I did not see your post sooner . Are you still having problems with your oil furnace ? Hopefully you where able to get it fixed and are not still frezzin. I can give you everything that could be wrong and the order in which to check if you still need it . Let me know I would be glade to help .
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:27 PM   #10
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oil furnace problems


Thanks for the good advice. Right now it's in the 70's and the furnace hasn't been on. The last two times that it fired, everything seemed to be ok. I strongly believe in-don't fix if it ain't broken. My next check will be the cad cell if this furnace gets cranky. However this oil nag is going to be replaced with gas when this tank empties next winter. Like I said, I'm researching what type of gas furnace to get. I'm open to everyones opinion. All of this and not one swear word-my anger management must be working. Could be the herbal treatment.

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