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Country Discussion Topics
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Oil burner malfunction
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Steve Anderson    Posted 12-18-2004 at 20:01:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Trying to get a grumpy oil furnace running. Start of season it wouldn't stay burning so I replaced the filter and repaired a broken flair fitting in the oil line that was causing some cavitation in the pump. It ran for a few days and then quit working again. I thought maybe the oil was too low and not enough pressure on the line to keep up with the pump suction so I put in 400 gallons and thought that solved the problem but it would still run fine until it got up to temp. Once it is up to temp and shuts down it won't start again until I push the reset button the controller. Sometimes that takes a couple of punches for it to light so i'm wondering if my oil is draining back to the tank or something. I replaced the cad cell and control and the pump is less than a year old. It's driving me nuts. How do I test the igniter. I don't think it's the nozzle cause once it's running it burns nicely. It just won't relight once it shuts off. Saw an oil burner thread on here so thought there might be somebody out there with some good knowledge.

bill b va    Posted 12-19-2004 at 04:21:14       [Reply]  [No Email]

be careful about repeatedly punching the reset button .if you are having an ignition problem the pump is putting fuel oil in the combustion chamber each time and will build up and then when you do get ignition LOOK out as it will start roaring and dancing . all you can do then is shut off the power and let it burn out . i suspect you have a nozzle problem . they should be replaced every year . the orfice size and spray angle is stamped on the nozzle .the nozzle has a filter/strainer on the back end of it which can get clogged . you said you replaced the cad cell which tells me you have a more modern furnace than the ones with the stack sensor . the cad cell see's the flame rather than feeling it .the spark gap of the ignitor needs to be correct for your furnace .there are a number of other thingd that need checking also . the ignition coil can easily be checked while on the furnace .i think you need to a burner repairman . if you want do your own repair in the future get him to show you how to do a check up . a check up should be done before every heating season not only for the relialibility but for safety and fuel econamy .once your furnace is working the safety features can be checked to see if they are working . to check the flame detection put a piece of black tape over the CAD lens and restart the furnace . the furnace should shut down in about 40 seconds .to check the high limit safety disconnect the power to the motor that circulates the hot air if you have a hot air furnace or block the return air and the burner should shut down as the furnace heat up from no air flow

Bkeepr    Posted 12-19-2004 at 02:43:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
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 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.

Tom A

TomH    Posted 12-18-2004 at 23:46:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mine did that when the transformer for the igniter started to get weak. If yours is more than a couple of years old it might be time to replace it.

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