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Old 10-26-2010, 11:21 PM   #1
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Proper color of flame for oil burner


What color should the flame be and how is the color adjusted? I suppose the color should be white without traces of blue. But that's a guess.

Also I suspect that adjusting the vents on the side of the burner is the way to adjust the color.


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Old 10-26-2010, 11:33 PM   #2
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Proper color of flame for oil burner


The best way is with the proper test equipment by a qualified oil burner service tech!

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Old 10-26-2010, 11:51 PM   #3
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Proper color of flame for oil burner


I've only worked on 3 boilers, but I don't think "white" is possible; that is very, very hot. A bright yellow is about all you can expect; a dull yellow/orange means not enough oxygen, and if you see any signs of suet, you are WAY starving for oxygen. I tuned my boiler for many years by eye and ear; good color, a harsh flame (to the ear), but not screaming. Every 5 years, for a while, I'd have a pro come and tune it. Ya know what? Most of 'em never used the tools! One cat finally did, and he got maybe 1 or 2% better efficiency than me, and said "Keep at it." If you are familiar w/ flame (like oxy-acetylene), you'll probably do pretty well. Yes, the vents on the side control the air flow; be sure to set your fuel tip according to the specs in your book, too. I purchased the tools a few years ago, because me new boiler (professionally installed; I went halibut fishing for this one) had a very harsh HA-WHUMP! followed by the vent flapper doing cartwheels, when it started. The installer could not figure out why, even after he came back and re-checked it. Two years later I was sick of it, and called another tuner; he solved nothing. So I bought a smoke kit and a pressure tool ( I forget the name of it, but it is a common boiler tool), got the specs, and set it up accordingly. The whump and cartwheels are all gone. Moral of the story: get the tools when you can afford them, and set it yourself. In the meantime, tune by ear and eye if you have flame experience. After a few years of saving money, buy the tools. BTW: If someone sets it up WITH EQUIPMENT, you should be able to leave it that way, just replacing your nozzle, filter, and cleaning it every year. That is my 30 yrs of boiler experience; tune mine and my son's now.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:42 AM   #4
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Proper color of flame for oil burner


Thanks JK... I could not have asked for a better response. You told me everything I needed to know.

I installed the boiler myself about 20 years ago and I set the draft up according to the numbers in the manual. In the past I've adjusted the draft to see what effect it had on the flame but I could only guess at what looked best color-wise.

This is the first time that I've had a significant problem with the burner. It simply quit after firing it up this season. It was the transformer... only put out a minuscule spark... about a 32nd of an inch.

I bought a new one on-line and also a new flame-eye and a simple plastic tool that fits over the nozzle so that the tips of the ignitors can be set properly according to the degree of the nozzle.

I put it all together and she started right up as soon as I threw the switch.

So tomorrow I'll check out the vents and have a look-hear at the flame.

Thanks a lot for your input. You have been most helpful.

Earl
Accokeek, MD
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:53 AM   #5
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Proper color of flame for oil burner


Happy to help, but, yes, having the tools is "the proper" way to go. The magnamometer (?) and the smoke tool were only a couple hundred bucks, total; keep that in mind. I am sure you can tweak a couple per cent out of the boiler with them, and, like when you get a boat, you'll suddenly have 11 new best buddies that need some boiler tuning... good luck. j
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:10 AM   #6
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Proper color of flame for oil burner


J... I looked up Magnetometer and they measure magnetic fields.

Is this the correct tool or are you thinking of something else?
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:17 AM   #7
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Proper color of flame for oil burner


I believe he meant manometer(magnehelic is a brand, and type of it). It measures air pressure.

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