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Old 11-09-2007, 09:51 PM   #1
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Oil Furnace Questions


I'm a new homeowner, and also a father of a newborn as of this past Monday. My home has an oil-fired furnace/boiler centrally located in the house. I believe it to be the same age as the house, 36 years old. Oct 9th I had a service and tune done by a technician. About a week or so ago, the thing started to "delay-fire" upon start-up. It's basically a "stutter"-type of sound. [What I believe to be the Beckett burner] kicks on first, then the ignition fires, with hesitation, anywhere from 1-5 seconds afterward. What could be this problem? I'm pretty new to HVAC, but I am mechanically-inclined. Any help is appreciated, thanks

RJ

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Old 11-10-2007, 11:36 AM   #2
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Mudpaws: First I need to know just what this "tech?" did.
3 things come to mind right off;
1. partially plugged nozzle
2. Inline filter needs to be replaced
3. Inlet screen on burner pump clogged.

All 3 are not difficult, however the inlet screen is the one that will take longest to replace, about 1/2 hr.
Nozzle is about 5 mins, normally just 2, 3/4" wrenches
inline filter, messy but 5/8" wrench, take top off pull old element out put in new, REMEMBER TO CHANGE ALL GASKETS, tighten back up and let er rip.

remember to turn furnace OFF and the oil valves OFF.

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Old 11-10-2007, 11:36 PM   #3
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The tech, referred by a family member, performed a maintenance & tune...unfortunately I wasn't present to pick his brain a li'l, although I don't like to stand over people when they do their job.

Shouldn't those 3 things have been done already in the job he did?

Is it maybe an ignition problem? I know very little about these systems and don't want to get ripped off from repeated calls for things I can do myself.

I will need guidance to find the things you suggested checking, if you don't mind.

There is oil in the tank...BTW, how can I figure out the size tank? It's buried, and I don't have a proper "level stick". I measured from fill cap to tank bottom: 86.75" ; and from fill cap to bottom of fill pipe: 50.00". Local oil techs a while ago said to get those measurements, and they could figure out the gallon-size of the tank. ???

Last edited by mudpaws; 11-10-2007 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:15 AM   #4
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Plugged nozzles/strainers/filters/, incorrect pump pressure, incorrect nozzle size/spray-angle/spray-pattern, weak spark, incorrectly adjusted electrodes & z-dimension, worn electrodes, cracked porcelain, transformer/igniter gasket air-leaks, incorrect shutter/air-band settings, insufficient combustion air and nozzle after-drip are just a few things that can cause delayed ignition.

A qualified skilled professional sevice technician should check most the above things and perfom a combustion test during an annual service clean, tune and safety inspection. The biggest problem is finding a qualified service tech.


With better oil filtration, single line oil systems and modern burners with high voltage igniters, interrupted ignition, oil solenoid valves, pre-purge and post-purge, we have fewer problems with delayed ignition, electrode wear, nozzle after-drip and systems are much cleaner.
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:11 PM   #5
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Mudpaws; Everythin Mark and I said :] Now at the risk of offending you call that supposed tech, get his butt back there IF HE IS REALLY qualified and have him make it right. Among all the other things to check, the 3 I mentioned ARE PART OF A "TUNE UP".
As far as the tank you need height,width,length to figure it out, that said most normal buried tanks are around the 550 gal range. Buried tanks are now the NUMBER ONE environmental issue!!!!!!!!!! Most are being forced to rip em out, cleanup the area and either keep it above ground or use fiberglass tanks!!!!!!! Keep close eye on yours, if it has been in over 10 or 15 yrs that is in the potential trouble range.
Jack
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Old 11-12-2007, 09:04 AM   #6
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Dunno where you are, but here in NJ, a buried tank requires a special inspection if the insurance company is to insure a house. Size of tank and oil held as of closing should be in the closing papers since you likely had to buy that oil from previous owner.

After spending a single winter on oil (with an ancient boiler), enduring the noise, the stink and the soot, and 3 tech visits, I had enough. Sure, I might have replaced it with a modern oil unit, but I did not want any more gelled -up lines, clogged filters/nozzles, oil smell, pumping truck visits, a huge tank in my basement, etc - I switched over to gas. The fact that gas is presently about 2.5x cheaper per BTU than oil is also not too bad.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:16 AM   #7
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Scorrpio. I would have gas also IF there was gas available here in Netcong :}:}:}
Thats why I still have oil. In fact I changed the boiler last year to something 20 years newer ( weil mc lain) to save what I could.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:33 AM   #8
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We've removed or replaced most of our fuel customers older underground storage tanks as a safety precaution since many fuel customers don't even know the age of the tank and there's no effective method of testing a tank. Some customers don't even know they have underground storage tanks on their property since many were abandoned years ago. Sometimes they'd just pull the fill, vent and oil lines and/or fill the tank with sand. We just found one recently while excavating to replace a buried LP tank. Homeowners used to bury standard above ground tanks as well to save money.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:29 PM   #9
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Update: wow it's been a while guys....thanks again. I fixed almost all of the things you guys mentioned it these thread. A guy from my job is a master plumber, so I had him do a new cast-iron boiler for us. I HAD a "New Yorker" steel boiler before with half the baffles taken out, age unknown. Now we have a Solaia SLD4100* with a Riello BF5 burner. He also installed an Amtrol Boilermate 40 gal. water storage tank. He kept the 2-line system, and we still have the buried tank. Is the 2-line more efficient than the one-line supply? I heard it was- plus I have the pre/post purge too. Is that part of the burner itself? Hopefully we will be abandoning it during 2011. It's not leaking to my knowledge, and I figured out that it is a 275 gal. vertical tank. I have the proper oil measuring stick now, too...

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