smoke and sparks

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Old 02-04-04, 12:45 PM
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smoke and sparks

I started an oil furnace that had been off for about a year. It started right up but big puffs of smoke came out of the chimney in the basement and I could see some sparks flying from the burner. They looked like sparks from a fire not electrical. Is there anything normal about this? It is a hot water system.
 
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Old 02-04-04, 01:41 PM
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oil burner

If it has set that long I would say for sure to have it looked at by a tech form end to end. I have even found dead bats down in the air tube for the burner. This can short out the electrodes. the inside of the nozzle a wax build up .The oil filter who knows and the pump did it get oil or is there air in it ED
 
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Old 02-04-04, 08:03 PM
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Depending on the design of the boiler, when it sat cold and absorbed moisture, the sulphur in the scale inside could have made a lot of crusty dirt that would block up the flue passages. When you fire it up, you drive all that moisture out and some of that stuff will begin to burn up. It isn't like it will catch on fire, just small sparklers will fly around inside the boiler and you may see them going past the draft regulator and heading for the chimney. It would have been wise to brush and vacuum it before restarting it but it's not too late to do that now. Also it would have been prudent to fire it gently up to temperature. Run it for a few minutes and turn it off for a few minutes. Do that about 5 times to bring it up gradually so as not to thermally shock it. A brand new boiler can handle that shock once, but it is bad to do that to a steel boiler too often. Cast iron boilers handle it better because there are no welds and everything is made of the same material.
 
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Old 02-05-04, 06:12 AM
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I only ran it 2 times for less than 1 minute each time.
Is it ok to have some smoke seeping out of the chimney into the basement during this repeated start up process? I'm not sure if there's a draft up the chimney or if it may be blocked. The chimney looks like its new. Its shiny stainless steel.
Is it the chimney I should brush and vacuum?
 
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Old 02-05-04, 03:31 PM
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It is the boiler flue passages that should be brushed and cleaned. The chimney will probably draft soon after startup but if the boiler is plugged with scale, the heat will not be good for the burner as it builds up with no place to go. A small amount of smoke will do no harm espesially if you ventilate the room but don't let it smoke for more than a few minutes. There is no smoke when an oil burner burns properly.
 
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