Oil Boiler will not ignite

Old 02-04-07, 07:01 AM
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Oil Boiler will not ignite


I live in Richmond, VA in a house built cira 1899. All brick home with Oil burning water radiator heat on 2 floors. Temp is moderate but tonight will get down to 14 degrees F.

Boiler: Cast Iron A-3 Series IB J1 (Pretty old) 1.70 Gal/Hr Gross 173 output
Radiation: 541 sq ft steam water MBR/hr 129
Expansion tank: Water based raised above boiler
(Hydro)Water Pump: Bell & Gosset
Oil pump: Beckett Burner
Honeywell Ignition
Thermostat: Hunter electric programmable

Problem: My Oil pump comes on and fire oils mist into the burner but does not ignite. I have tried to reset it with the button on the Honeywell ignition. I have to throw the fuse switch to stop the pump from spraying oil.

I thought my nozzle was clogged, its a .75 80 A head, but it is spraying oil still? My next guess is that there is some kind of sensor that triggers the ignition spark that could be failing?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks a ton.

Old 02-04-07, 11:30 AM
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No ignition

My guess would be a bad ignition transformer. This is the black box on top of the burner. It is also possible for the nozzle to be partially clogged & not spraying as it should.
To check the transformer, disconnect the small copper line going to the nozzle & point it into a container capable of holding at least 1/2 gallon. Get a WELL insulated screwdriver. Open the ignition transformer by loosening or removing the two screws (usually 5/16" hex) holding down the front of the transformer & flipping the transformer back. Unplug the cad cell (electric eye) which is mounted to the underside of the transformer. Start the burner & put the screwdriver against the springs of the transformer. CAUTION: THE TRANSFORMER PUTS OUT 10,000 TO 17,000 VOLTS WHEN GOOD. Keeping the screwdriver in contact with one spring, draw it back away from the other spring. No spark or a spark which does not follow the screwdriver at least half way to the other spring indicates a bad transformer.
Old 02-05-07, 11:15 AM
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These transformers make great Jacob's ladders for the adventurous folks. I made mine when I was about 13 years old, and still have it today! I'm pretty amazed that I never got bit by it. Maybe just extra careful with it.

Note that you CAN get ELECTROCUTED very easily with these as mine is 10KV at a few milliamps, so one does NEED TO BE CAREFUL.

The few years I brought it outside for Halloween, it seemed to scare the kids away (look honey, we saved money on candy!), and dumbfounded many adults. You just have to ensure that it's out of reach, and that nobody will touch it!

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