How clean should an oil burner run?

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Old 12-16-07, 04:19 PM
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How clean should an oil burner run?

I'm curious about how much combustion byproducts I should be seeing in my Biasi B4 triple-pass boiler with a Riello burner. This was setup by my oil company last year.

I'm seeing a little carbon dusting on the bottom of the flue connector pipe. The inside of the boiler has about a light coating of carbon on the surfaces and the usual brown dust and other stuff. Most of it is easily vacuumed up or removed with a toothbrush or stiff brush.

I'm seeing a small amount of carbon dust on the Reilo cone, that also is easily removed with a small acid brush and vacuuming. The flue stack temperature seems to be a bit higher than what the tech read it at, 400 vs. 350 but my Dwyer thermostat's calibration hasn't been verified. The boiler is cold start, but it runs hot (140 degree TV valve on the return.)

How much build-up is normal in the main chamber and in the upper passages for these boilers? I'm kind of anal and peek inside every four months or so...

Pete
 
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Old 12-16-07, 05:03 PM
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Quit Worrying

I'm not familiar with Biasi's but most boilers, especially cold starts, get a little carbon. Clean it once a year & quit tinkering, ya ol' worry wart.
 
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Old 12-16-07, 09:47 PM
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You might want to take a draft check and make sure you have adequate draw. I had a similar problem a couple of months back and the venting was in serious need of cleaning. Make sure you have a good fuel/air mix on the rillo (good flame characteristics)and no flame impingement.
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Old 12-17-07, 06:37 AM
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Oil burners today with all the proper adjustments and enough combustion air should produce no black deposits. A little yellowish/gray is normal, but no black. Black is soot, which is improper combustion. Riello will run best in zero to slightly positive in the combustion chamber. I also am not very familiar with Biasi but it does not change the characteristics of the oil burner operation.
I just looked up the manual and it states to adjust to a breech draft of -.02” w.c., 11-12.5% CO2 and use a .65/80/W nozzle at 145psi pump pressure. If the burner is set to these spec’s it should burn clean. Combustion test equipment needs to be used which means you should have a ¼” to 5/16” hole in your vent pipe. It may have a plug, bolt or tape over it. It does not need sealed but a lot of guys will seal it.
 
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Old 12-17-07, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rbeck View Post
Oil burners today with all the proper adjustments and enough combustion air should produce no black deposits. A little yellowish/gray is normal, but no black. Black is soot, which is improper combustion. Riello will run best in zero to slightly positive in the combustion chamber. I also am not very familiar with Biasi but it does not change the characteristics of the oil burner operation.
I just looked up the manual and it states to adjust to a breech draft of -.02” w.c., 11-12.5% CO2 and use a .65/80/W nozzle at 145psi pump pressure. If the burner is set to these spec’s it should burn clean. Combustion test equipment needs to be used which means you should have a ¼” to 5/16” hole in your vent pipe. It may have a plug, bolt or tape over it. It does not need sealed but a lot of guys will seal it.

Hi Rbeck

I installed this boiler, and the 1/4" test hole is in the connector pipe. One of the techs from my oil company set the burner up and he measured the draft at around -.02 wc. I have a Bacharach smoke pump that needs some new parts (handle, valve disk), and I do own a Dywer 1200 wetkit. I'm not that comfortable adjusting the burner on my own to try doing so, yet.. I did call them back, but they said it was running fine?! I figured the sooting wasn't a good omen. But since the boiler is a cold start, I wasn't sure if a small amount of soot wasn't to be expected..

Pete
 
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Old 12-17-07, 02:40 PM
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I know that it may be difficult to get a photo that looks 'true' to the amount of carbon, etc you are seeing, but why not try ? and one of the burner head too, since you mentioned that also.

I'm still getting a minmal amount of 'red flakes', some yellowy-grayish ash, a very little bit of deposit on the burner head, and not any carbon really to speak of... just for a point of reference. I guess I could try and get some pics too for you to compare...

Anybody have a photo of what a properly running oil burner chamber looks like after say 100 hours of burn time ?
 
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Old 12-17-07, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
I know that it may be difficult to get a photo that looks 'true' to the amount of carbon, etc you are seeing, but why not try ? and one of the burner head too, since you mentioned that also.

I'm still getting a minmal amount of 'red flakes', some yellowy-grayish ash, a very little bit of deposit on the burner head, and not any carbon really to speak of... just for a point of reference. I guess I could try and get some pics too for you to compare...

Anybody have a photo of what a properly running oil burner chamber looks like after say 100 hours of burn time ?
Hi Trooper

It is a light coating of soot on the main chamber and in the upper two chambers.

The problem is this sooting was occuring before I added the TV valve, and the boiler is running hot a lot sooner than it was in the past. I need to do a really good cleaning, and see if the sooting comes back, and how fast... I do have the blanket for the floor of the boiler, but I doubt I need it at this point. Biasi stopped shipping them at one point.

It may be a non issue now? I could take a photo or two and post them! Your chamber surfaces are bare metal?

Pete
 
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Old 12-17-07, 03:56 PM
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I doubt that return water temps are going to have any effect on the amount of soot ...

Tellya this though, I tuned mine up when it was still warm out. Set for zero smoke, ran nice. Then, it started getting colder out... I peeked at the flame and it looked yellowy... and I thought there was a bit of soot. Took a smoke spot and sure enough, there was between a trace and a #1 spot. Cracked a wee bit more air in there and it cleaned right up. I'm not talking a lot of air either! I barely moved that band maybe 1/4" tops.

This is one of the reasons that it's recommended to drop the CO2 1/2 to 1 percent after you hit zero smoke, to give a little 'padding' or 'headroom' so that as the conditions change during the heating season, the unit stays smoke free. If the guy who set it up didn't increase the air enough after he did his spot, there's a good chance you now don't have enough air.

Originally Posted by radioconnection View Post
Your chamber surfaces are bare metal?
Well, yeah, except for the refractory ? What you mean ? It's not a 'no refractory' job like your B4 ... if that's what yer drivin' at.
 
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Old 12-17-07, 04:20 PM
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Bare, as in no soot.

I'm going to order the parts for my Bacharach after
Xmas. I need the smoke gun working, the wet kit
is useless without it.

I'd think the faster the boiler gets hot the less
byproducts that would be produced. Biasi supplied
a blanket for the chamber floor at one time, I think
it was to help with cold start sooting problems?
Don't forget, this is a cold start boiler with CI
baseboards.

Pete
 
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Old 12-17-07, 07:36 PM
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What may be happening is the air may be changing in the room. Are the tests being run with boiler room door and windows closed. Door at the top of the basement stairs closed? Normally the tests don't change that much unless the something else changes. Do all tests with boiler room doors and windows closed. Never leave a boiler with the draft regulator pegged open to get the proper draft. As the outside temp changes the draft goes up and flame leaves burner head making soot. If all burner adjustments are right the burner should have zero smoke at 14% co2. Than adjust to manufacturers spec's. Never leave the co2 at 14%. If you cannot get a clean fire at least 13% there is something wrong.
 
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Old 12-19-07, 11:32 PM
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Also Grady, don't forget to calculate for the colder oil, and the slightly higher density of air, which means a tiny bit more oxygen, oh yes and more humidity in the winter, let's see. Hey! Who took my calculator? I was just getting the numbers. Shucks! I gotta leave it for another day. Sorry guys. Good Night! Charlie
 
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