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Country Discussion Topics
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Oil-fired furnace question: Problem?
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Tom A    Posted 02-21-2001 at 04:25:49       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hey all,

I've got an old (50-75 years) oil-fired steam boiler in my house. Has always run fine; serviced it each fall. Just recently, it has started to start up differently on occasion. What I mean is, during 'normal' start up I hear a click, the oil pump starts running and the 'whoosh' of the oil catching is almost immediate. During the occasional different cycles, there's the click and the oil pump starts but there is a noticable delay before the 'whoosh' of the oil catching fire--perhaps it is only a half or three-quarter second, but it is noticable. I noticed it the first time back in early January, and hear it now perhaps every half-dozen or dozen start-ups or so.

Any thoughts on what the problem is? Is it normal and maybe I just never noticed the delay before? Thanks!


paul barton    Posted 01-29-2006 at 06:42:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
new home (prefab) had masonary chimny for oil furnace added-not as high as peak and 6 feet from it. also they did not attach the cement block for foundation of bricks to the eight feet of exposed house foundation--references would help looks like a battle with builder/installer
thoughts? i have photos in digital
thank you in advance


Leo R. Notari    Posted 11-13-2003 at 12:02:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a 40 year old oil-fired wet base boiler which has been serviced yearly. Shortly after this years service I received a call from my oil supplier that the effeciency was only 64% and it should be replaced. Mr question is what are rhe causes of a change in effeciency and are they repairable?


John    Posted 11-19-2003 at 19:30:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
64% Doesn't sound so bad for a 40 y.o. system. The tech calculates efficiency by reading the oxygen content of your exhaust. Complete combustion would be 100% efficient (and impossible). Modern systems achieve high 80's by better atomization of the fuel and spray pattern/igniter improvements (as I understand it and reading their literature). If you could obtain a modern system, you could use a third less fuel. It wouldn't take long for the system to pay for itself. As a boiler/furnace ages there are other inefficiencies that creep in, such as deposits on firesides and watersides of the heat exchanger (for a water system) and breakdown of insulation. I'm not a tech, just a person who's become more familiar with my 30 year old system. I intend to buy a modern one and install it myself under the advice of a moonlighting burner tech.


geo in MI    Posted 02-21-2001 at 20:14:28       [Reply]  [Send Email]

I had a similar problem. Two possibilities: If you have a double line feed system, it could be that you have a slight air leak in the line, caused by a bad seal at the filter. Causes an air bubble. Other possibility is that the 24 volt transformer is getting weak. Causes the same problem as your coil on a tractor. A voltage drop through the transformer could cause a weaker spark, and thus the delay in getting an arc at the ignitor points. Mine was the transformer. Hope this helps.


IHank    Posted 02-21-2001 at 08:34:46       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Tom- A machine that old could have many things getting weak, even though it's had good maintenance over the years. Please be careful!

That WHOOSH when a burner lights off indicates there was an excess of fuel and insufficient movement of air. If the situation happened inside a container it would be an "explosion".

The last one of them oil burners I tinkered with had everything happen at once- fuel, air, and ignition switched on at the same time. Yes, it caused a WHOOSH & flash, but it was acceptable to the designers.

During start up, modern gas turbine engines (jets) are supposed to first spin up the tubines and get the air flowing, next fire the electric spark igniters, and lastly shoot the fuel to it.

Once in a while a commercial pilot will be impatient about getting going and short cut the engine crank procedure, and not wait for the starter to spin up the turbines properly before bringing in the fuel. Those are the times you see frightened passengers because of smoke and occasionally fire puking out of the engine.

Suggest take a real close look at the spark igniter, how it's positioned relative to the fuel/air spray, and quality & strength of the spark. Make sure the blower fan intake is not restricted and the blades are not clogged with accumulated dust, and is moving air like it should. Also, give the firebox and chimney piping a close looking over, because that WHOOSH puts a pressure spike thru the system and stresses those parts.

Ignition delays like you mention are scary to me, so please don't ignore it. IHank


vivek    Posted 10-29-2003 at 22:45:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
sir
plz explain me the the detail of losses in oil fired furnace& also tell me how can we minimise these losses


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