Posted 12-19-2004 at 02:43:29
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I'm no expert, but I learned a lot last few years but especially last year wrestling the same problem with my 75 year-old steam system. Lots of possible causes, I'll suggest a few likely ones for you to check.
First off, check the filter again. I got a bad load of fuel once that caused similar problem...it restricted fuel flow, and didn't burn hot enough. If it is gooky again, swap it out with a new filter and add some of the stuff they make to treat heating oil for water. Here it cost me $10 for a quart can, but it worked well.
Next, remove, clean, and inspect the stack temperature sensor. If it is covered with soot, then it may not be "feeling" the heat to tell the controller that the fire is burning and turn the flame off...this normally occurs about 60 seconds into the cycle. In my system, it'll do that 3 times and then cut off the system altogether to let you know somethings wrong; you're supposed to troubleshoot before hitting reset again!
that's what I'd look at first, anyway. If there's a flame then I doubt there's a problem with the ignitor. If the flame looks normal, then I doubt there's a problem with the nozzle.