Red flakes in combustion chamber...


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Old 12-30-06, 02:07 PM
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Red flakes in combustion chamber...

Grady thinks these may be the red dye in the fuel oil...

What do y'all think ?
(not to question Grady's expertise of course! just soliciting opinions...)



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Last edited by NJT; 06-18-08 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 12-30-06, 03:18 PM
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Question red stuff

I have a VERY FINE red dust in my boiler. Grady thinks it may be the red dye. Beats me! It sure stains my pinkies when I touch it, though. Aren't you sorry you looked inside the boiler?

Pete
 
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Old 12-30-06, 07:03 PM
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Red Flakes

Obviously I'm guessing but I think it is a combination of ordinary ash & fuel dye. Here's a test which may or may not work. Take some of the flakes & put them in some diesel fuel. Be sure to use "clear", undyed diesel, the same as is used in on road cars & trucks. Clear kerosene might work too. Put the flakes & fuel in a bottle or jar with a cap & shake the crap out of it. If the fuel turns red, like your heating oil, I think we have an answer.
I'll ask KField, another moderator & oil guy to look at the pic & get his take.
 
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Old 12-30-06, 08:02 PM
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Talking This backs up Grady's opinion:

http://www.carpenterandsmith.com/fuel_dye.html#bnl
 
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Old 12-30-06, 08:18 PM
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What does it taste like? Just kidding. I can say that I have seen the red color before there was dye in the fuel and I always thought it was from the combustion chamber. My only guess is that it is sulphur, fried condensation, and whatever else in the mix that can stand 2000+ degrees. It is not a bad sign to my knowledge because the combustion is good and if that is all thats left from a years worth of burning oil, there isn't much to clean out.

Ken
 
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Old 12-30-06, 09:43 PM
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Ken, that's not a year's worth. That's just 2 months... and since it's been so warm out, not even representative of a "real" heating season. But the heat exchanger is clean as a whistle...

Grady, I'll try your test with some K1 tomorrow and let y'all know the results.

I sprinkled some on the wife's christmas cookies... actually IMPROVED the taste! no, I'm kidding... they tasted as good as ever. ha ha ha

I hope she don't read this!

Happy New Year!!!
 
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Old 12-31-06, 06:56 PM
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Wanted to post this before I got into the beer and wine... I see the neighbors have got the firepit going, and they're starting to hoot and holler, so I'll be headin' over soon...

I scooped out a few tbs of the red flakes. Puttem in a jar. Added a few ozs of 1-K . Shaken, not stirred. Yes, it turned red. BUT>>>>

It's CLOUDY red, not clear. Looks like it's only red dust in suspension, not in solution. This could be because after the dye is burnt, it changes properties and won't go back into suspension. OR, it might not be the dye at all that causes the red flakes. Maybe it's IRON in the oil... or maybe CLAY ... or... could be a hunnert things I guess.

The solution has been settling for about an hour now and it appears to be clearing up. I'll let it sit overnight and take a look tomorrow.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
 
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Old 12-31-06, 07:25 PM
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NJ Trooper

Don't be digging through your boiler's poop. Its retirement is coming, it has kept you comfortable and safe all the time. Let it have it's dignity for the remainder of the season and it passes the torch. And no more nozzle shots!
 
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Old 12-31-06, 09:42 PM
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Who You Funny!

What's even funnier ( NOT! ) is what I found today.



I have to say that the design of this old boiler is awful. In order to clean it properly, you have to risk damaging the refractory by sliding it toward the rear of the boiler in order to access 4 of the 10 flue passages. So, most years I forego doing this. Big mistake ... these "cookies" are but a small sample of what I found plugging those 4 flue passages today, and I did actually damage the refractory in the process. Not too badly though that a few bits of kaowool blanket couldn't be used as a temporary fix.

I also believe this is a contributing factor to the burner head problems in my other thread.

Sooo, I unplugged it, cleaned it all up, and guess what?
My stack temp dropped a full 20*F ! Geeeee, big surprise, eh ? It's now running at 520* gross instead of 540* . How's that work out efficiency wise improvement ? At least a few percent I'm sure.

Question keeps nagging at me though... why am I condensing ???? Could this be "leftovers" from when I was not as smart as I am now (read _stupid_!) and my old doggy was living out in the mech room, and I removed the insulation and some of the jacket to provide a bit more heat for the poor old pooch ? Uhhhh, yeah, probably. I don't think it's still doing that, but I'm gonna keep a watchful eye for certain, and poor old pooch is in doggy heaven now, so all the trim is back on the boiler.

Yeah, I'm thinking to replace the boiler before next season, but reality is that finances may not allow.

OK, one more Sam Adams Winter Lager and I'm off to la-la land.

Happy New Year everyone!
 

Last edited by NJT; 06-18-08 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 12-31-06, 10:47 PM
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Cool Purty yellow stuff

Looks like sulfur crystals from condensating combustion gasses. Fortunately this won't be as big of a problem in a couple years. Jan. 2009 fuel oil will be ultra low sulfur (like the diesel is as of today...Jan. 2007). Red stuff, I think, is indeed the dye that has been burnt. Lack of draft in the combustion chamber could have contributed to the burner problem.
 
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Old 01-01-07, 06:08 AM
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Yeller & Red Stuff

Trooper-you'd better hope your wife doesn't read that comment 'cause she'll put knots on your head faster than you can rub 'em off.

The yellow stuff is sulfur no doubt. The red is still up for debate. I've burned nothing in my boiler but low/ultra low sulfur & it does make huge difference.
 
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Old 01-01-07, 06:31 AM
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Wink ultra low sulfur fuel / biofuel

Originally Posted by Grady
Trooper-you'd better hope your wife doesn't read that comment 'cause she'll put knots on your head faster than you can rub 'em off.

The yellow stuff is sulfur no doubt. The red is still up for debate. I've burned nothing in my boiler but low/ultra low sulfur & it does make huge difference.
I serviced a furnace that hadn't been serviced in a couple years. To my surprise, the heat exchanger was spotless and the filter. nozzle, and strainer were all in really good shape. Got good efficiency results too. I told the customer my findings, and he told me he ran low sulfur diesel / undied kero in his oil tank. It costs a bit more, but is very good for the heating system. I've also seen a boiler that ran on B100 biofuel / biodiesel that had similar results. There are a few B5 distributors in my area, so I am running that in my system now. I was told that when they went to the blend, fuel pump failure dropped by 90%! I looked into it & found biofuel has much better lubricity than regular heating oil, not to mention it has a detergent effect. The only downside I have heard of, is that you might have to change your oil filter a little sooner if your tank has a serious sludge problem. The up side is that the tank will be cleaner (and less likely to leak). One thing that is really good, is that B100 biofuel isn't toxic, smells like vegetable oil, and if you spill it, it is biodegradable, so you don't need to call the EPA or pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for cleanup if you have a catastrofic failure of your oil tank.
 
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Old 01-01-07, 08:04 AM
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Smile biodiesel

Have you experienced problems with the pump or jack seals in the Riellos when using biodiesel?

Pete
 
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Old 01-01-07, 10:01 AM
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Smile Biofuel / Biodiesel

I've never had or heard of any problems with biodiesel and riello pumps. I highly doubt there would be any adverse effects. I have heard that a 20% blend can be used in any burner without having to make any adjustments, and 100% biofuel can be used in most burners without and burner adjustments. I would reccomend that if you decide to go with biofuel, that you have the burner tuned up and checked with a combustion analyzer and smoke tester a few days after the delivery of the B100. (biodiesel and biofuel are the same thing, just as diesel fuel and heating oil is almost the same thing. Diesel is a little cleaner and doesn't have dye in it. The dye can cause problems with some diesel engines, and is illegal for on road use...big fine if caught)
 
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Old 01-01-07, 10:28 AM
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Interesting about the bio stuff. Is it cheaper, etc ? Other than pollution and boiler cleaning issues, is there any other motivation to use it ?

Here's the results of the red flake tests:

Kerosene: It's almost clear again, only a VERY slight trace of any red color, and that could still be some very small particles suspended in it. I'm going to filter it through a coffee filter and let it sit some more. *BTW, the kero now smells like B&B mushrooms!*

WATER: I took one of the "cookies" and put it in a jar of water, again shook the crap out of it and let it sit overnight. Guess what? Beautiful clear red color, if I didn't know better, I would think I was looking at a jar of fuel oil. I'll filter this one also and see what happens. *this sample smells like dill pickles!*

I didn't taste either one...

Looks like the burning process modifies the structure of the dye such that it won't re-solute in oil/kero, but it will in water. more later... I gotta go tend these bruises on my head from the bald-headed end of a broom ... ha ha

Who, sorry, I just can't help myself! When there's a mystery, I gotta get to the bottom of it. Just call me Holmes. (Sherlock _not_ John!)

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Old 01-01-07, 10:49 AM
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Smile bio

Biofuel is usually more expensive in New England, but the 5% blend is usually the same price. In the midwest, it is often cheaper though. I like seeing my miney go to the midwest instead of the mideast.
 
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Old 01-01-07, 11:48 AM
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A pic of the two solutions before filtering:



Last edited by NJ Trooper; 06-18-08 and the water solution is still this nice red color more than a year later of sitting on the shelf !

December 2014, the samples are still on the shelf, the water is still bright red, the K1 has yellowed some from age I guess. Hope I don't mistake it for Tequila!
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Last edited by NJT; 12-22-14 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 01-01-07, 01:42 PM
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Good work Sherlock

What I find amazing is the solubility in water & not in kero.
Interesting sub-thread about the BioFuel. I have acess to B-100 but question it's cold flow properties. I know from experience it is hard on some rubber compounds.
 
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Old 01-01-07, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady
What I find amazing is the solubility in water & not in kero...
Yeah me too... I was extremely surprised in fact. Don't even know why I did it. After sitting all night and day, the 1-k is completely clear, and the water is still a beautiful red. It appears that the sulphur has also dissolved in the water, but not in the kero.

Makes me wish I had a mass spectrometer...
 
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Old 01-01-07, 09:39 PM
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Red Water

My theory on the red water is the sulfur made the water acidic & thus dissolved the dye. When you get your mass spec, can I come over & play with it? I have a whole bunch of fuel related stuff I'd love to run thru a M/S.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 12:12 AM
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Post bio

Originally Posted by Grady
What I find amazing is the solubility in water & not in kero.
Interesting sub-thread about the BioFuel. I have acess to B-100 but question it's cold flow properties. I know from experience it is hard on some rubber compounds.
Biofuel is not reccomended in an outdoor tank for that reason. It will gel at higher temperatures than fuel oil. My oil tank is in my heated basement, so it is not an issue for me. I have to drive about 50 miles to get B100. Please elaborate on the effects on rubber compounds, what kinds of rubber? How did you find this out?
 
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Old 01-02-07, 03:37 AM
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B-100

It will attack & cause to leak rubber such as that used in farm fuel dispenser hoses & some pump seals. I've seen it first hand since at work we have
B-100 as blend stock.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 05:17 AM
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I know the flex lines we use between fuel filter and fuel pump on boielrs with hinged burner doors need to be changed to use biofuel.

Ken
 
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Old 01-08-07, 12:34 AM
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I havn't posted here for quite a while, but I was just browsing through some posts and came across this. I have a similar thing going on with my boiler. It is also a Vaillant, but mine is the F-100. Here is a pic of the chamber of my boiler -

http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/6465/img0636sl5.jpg

This is also only 2 months of buildup. This is a relatively recent development. Last season as a whole, I only had a very slight amount of red flakes. The specs on my system - Delevan .75 (I think 60 B, but not sure) @ 150psi = .92 gph, CO - 182, stack - 385, O2 - 5.7%, CO2 - 11.3%, Excess air - 34.8%

I was reading a different post of yours saying that your boiler had a 1.25 nozzle (probably at a pump pressure of 140) which means firing at 210,000 BTU. Your heat loss was around 75,000 BTU. This means short cycling since the boiler is over 2x too big. My boiler is also oversized for the load. They are also both cold start.

My opinion on the red flakes, and I am just guessing here - it is a result of the short cycling combined with the cold start. It may be slightly condensing when it first fires and then it doesn't run long enough to fully dry out.

I ran across a 4 year old post on heatinghelp.com where it was suggested that it was a result of sulfur and condensation from cold start units.

You could try posting your picture over there and see if anyone has any new ideas.

Michael
 
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Old 01-08-07, 09:05 PM
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Michael sed:

>>Here is a pic of the chamber of my boiler -
>>http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/6465/img0636sl5.jpg

That's a WAY DIFFERENT design than the F70 ! How old is your system ?

>>CO - 182, stack - 385,

Isn't that CO a bit high ?? Is that stack NET or GROSS ?

>>your boiler had a 1.25 nozzle (probably at a pump pressure of 140) which means firing at 210,000 BTU. Your heat loss was around 75,000 BTU. This means short cycling since the boiler is over 2x too big. My boiler is also oversized for the load.

Pump pressure is 100 PSI. About 140,000 NET, but still about twice what I need. During the shoulder seasons, my observations have been that there are times when significant condensation could be occuring. She'll fire up, the water will get to around 140 on the supply, and then shut down.

>>They are also both cold start.

Not anymore! See "System Triage..." thread

>>My opinion on the red flakes, and I am just guessing here - ...

Yeah, me too. I think all the answers so far are correct to some extent.

UPDATE: I haven't filtered those solutions yet, but the 1-Kero is crystal clear after sitting for a week. The water is still the nice deep red in the pic.

It's almost certain that some of the color in the debris is dye. The rest is soot, ash, and sulphur. I'm sure some other nasty stuff too, sulphuric acid, carbonic acid, who knows what else. I had to cancel the order for the mass spec... (sorry Grady!)
 
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Old 01-09-07, 06:20 PM
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cold start

So far, all of the boilers we've discussed with the red Martian artifacts have been cold start--seems to be a common thread. I'd be interested to see if maintaining a low limit on that Valliant solves the problem. I'm getting antsy to try the Danfoss TV valve on my Biasi to see if it reduces the problem. Artifacts of refried condensate?
 
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Old 01-09-07, 11:59 PM
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[QUOTE=NJ Trooper;1104432]

>>That's a WAY DIFFERENT design than the F70 ! How old is your system ?

Yeah, the F-100 is very different. It has a small chamber at the bottom, and then 4 horizontal flue passages above that. It was one of the first (maybe even the first) high efficiency boiler of this style. Presently, 3-pass boilers are starting to become common from most manufacturers. However, The Vaillant F-100 is not really a 3-pass, even though it closely resembles one. A typical 3 pass boiler fires in the chamber at the bottom, then goes up the back wall, then back to the front though 2 of the upper passages, makes a u-turn and then back though the other 2 upper passages, and finally out the flue.

The Vaillant F-100 is really only a 2-pass boiler. It fires in the lower chamber, but then then has to come back around the flame cone along the sides of the chamber, then it goes up the front door, and then out the 4 upper passages.

Here are some wider shots of the boiler -
http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/4258/img2425lw4.jpg
http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/3469/img0633sf1.jpg

My dad bought the boiler in 1991 to replace an old Timkin. While piping in the new zone valves, it was discovered that the flare fittings for the B&G valves were manufacutered improperly. For some reason, after this he never finished repiping everything. So it sat for a couple of years. When I got the house, I finished everything up and got it running.

>>Isn't that CO a bit high ?? Is that stack NET or GROSS ?

CO - 182, stack - 385,
Yeah the CO is high, but I have not been able to get it any lower than that. I have talked to other people who have said that the F-100/AFII combo is very difficult to set up, and high CO is almost always there. At the end of last season, I put a Carlin EZ1 burner on it. This has helped somewhat - getting the CO in the mid 100's whereas with the AFII it was in the 300 range.

The stack is the gross. Basement temp is 60, so net of 325. Combustion efficiency of 86%, however system efficiency is quite low because of the short cycling.

The plan for this comming late summer/fall is to put in a mod/con gas boiler. The Vaillaint will stay, on the off chance that oil becomes cheaper than gas in my area at some point.


To radioconnection - last year the boiler was set to maintain a low limit. The red flakes were there, however just barely. I'll clean everything out in a few days, and turn the low limit back on (have a 7224 digital aquastat) and see what happens.

Michael
 
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Old 01-10-07, 08:33 PM
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Interesting... I don't know what to call the design of the F70 ... combustion chamber on the bottom, 10 flue passages, 5 on each side of the chamber up to the heat exchanger, just an open 'box' with a few fins in it, vents out the rear of this 'box'. A real bear to clean... the HEX ain't too bad, but the CC is a pain. Small burner hole, appx 10" diagonally in front plate. Can hardly get my arm in there, let alone a vac hose, and a light! Oh, and my face so that I can see what I'm doing. Most of it is done blind.

I have no idea what my CO is . The only thing the techs ever measured was CO2 and that was not even done by most of them.

I'll be taking a look at the chamber again when I open it to replace the door gasket over this coming weekend and give y'all an update as to what I find.

What I can see through the spy glass is that it looks like I might be getting a little sooty in there. I think this is because of the many short cycles keeping her warm with the low limit. I've got the control set for 140 with a 5* diff. In the past 24 hours, we've had 29 degree days, and I've burned 3.56 gall. K factor 8.31 . Not too bad I guess...
 
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Old 01-10-07, 09:01 PM
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So what's your BTU/DD/SF (with SF includes all full height finished/heated areas).
 
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Old 01-10-07, 09:52 PM
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Using 139,000 BTU/gall, and 1800 sq ft, I come up with 9.3 ... is that good or bad ??

-
 
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Old 01-10-07, 09:56 PM
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I don't know yet... I'm still trying to establish it as a good way to compare energy consumption. If you did iyt right then I miscalc'd on another post...
 
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Old 01-10-07, 09:59 PM
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Mine is running 4.8 fairly consistently. I've also been clocking the neighbours. LOL

You should make your boiler drink from an exact half gallon pail. See how long she goes... I think the GPH ratings are much less exact than we think. You might surprise yourself one way or the other.

Maybe we should have a pool to see Who guesses closest with their high and low picks. I'll go 1.11 and 1.38.
 
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Old 01-10-07, 10:17 PM
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I wonder if Delavan has a +/- spec on the accuracy of the GPH figure ?

I should get _some_ idea of how close the time vs Gall is going to be after a couple tank fillings. I know that's VERY inexact, but might give an indication of really gross differences.

This really oughta be in the "What's yer K factor" thread, think I'll bump it.
 
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Old 01-10-07, 10:39 PM
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Is it impossible to rig it up to see how long a half gallon lasts?
 
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Old 01-11-07, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Who

I think the GPH ratings are much less exact than we think. You might surprise yourself one way or the other.
The Delevan nozzle currently in my boiler is spot on.

I put an electric cycle counter & hour meter that reads hundredths on my boiler 2 years ago. I have a .75 nozzle running at 150psi which thereotically equals .92gph. My basement oil tank's guage is labeled in 5 gal increments. They have checked out to be very accurate compared to oil deliveries.

When calculating the actual gph burn rate using the hour meter and drop in oil tank level, it works out to be 0.9206 gph

Inaccurate pressure guages used when setting pump pressure probably is the big cause of not seeing rated nozzle flow.

Michael
 
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Old 01-12-07, 03:05 PM
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I've got an actual elapsed time meter around here somewhere, but durned if I can find the box that it's in ! What I would prefer (is to be $$$rich$$$) is to computerize the data collection, and tie it into the HN here. Stuff for that is kinda pricey at the moment for me though...

Who, I'm still on the 2-pipe, so it would kinda be a pain to do ...

I'd have to convert to 1-pipe, make the test, and then convert back.

But, sumpin ain't right with the oil I've been getting. I've watched the vacuum on a new filter go from 2+" to 5" in a matter of days. Once it hits 6" my old pump starts pitchin' a fit, and I get delayed starts. Throw a new filter in there, and she's good to go again until a couple weeks go by and I'm changing filters again. Good thing I bought a DOZEN! cuz I'm gonna use 'em. This is on a BRANDY NEW ROTH tank by the way. Think I'm gonna change suppliers.
 
  #37  
Old 01-14-07, 04:41 PM
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Two pipe

Wouldn't you be a lot better with a single pipe? With a two pipe system you're basically filtering the tank and returning clean oil while prematurely clogging the filter.
 
  #38  
Old 01-14-07, 04:58 PM
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Yes, and I'm gonna do that when the new boiler is installed. Probably will go with the Tiger Loop Ultra.

I'm not quite sure why the tank installers didn't recommend switching at that time. If I knew then what I know now...
 
  #39  
Old 01-14-07, 07:20 PM
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Fuel quality

Troop--Fuel like most other things is a git what ya pay fer thing. If you can find a supplier of low or ultra low sulfur product it is worth the extra $.
 
 

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