High-pitched noise from oil lines?


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Old 12-26-07, 06:38 AM
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Question High-pitched noise from oil lines?

It got quieter after I changed the filter and pump screen, but there's still a shrill erratic resonant noise that starts a few seconds after the burner. I can hear it at the tank (1/4 full) and along the lines, which I can feel vibrating. It doesn't seem loud near the bearings but who knows.

The Beckett AFG/New Yorker boiler is almost 20 years old but seems to work OK. The two copper lines run about 40 feet atop the foundation in basement under the family room to the 250-gal tank. Gets noisy in family room!

If the lines are partly clogged...or whatever they connect to in the tank...is there an additive that might clean them? Or something else?

Paul
 
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Old 12-26-07, 07:54 AM
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Normally pump whine is caused by high vacuum and starving for oil. Have the pump vacuum checked. Have the fuel system cleaned. This involves a pump strainer and blowing out the oil lines and tank drainer.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 02:44 PM
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Oil Line Noise

As rbeck said, this type of noise is usually caused by a high vacuum condition. Elimination of the return line & conversion to a Tiger Loop will significantly reduce the vacuum but the real problem is probably fouled lines. Blowing out &/or flushing with kerosene will help but replacement is the best solution.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 07:51 PM
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I got called to a customer's house 5 times for the same problem! I blew out the line, shortened the feed line a bit (as much as I could), and every time, about 1 month later the problem returned.

I got tired of coming back so I took a chance and changed the line (about 20 feet long) but left about 4 feet extra and made a 'circle' out of it so I could always shorten it if I had to.

I was thinking that maybe the 'harmonics' had something to do with it. I know, I am going to deep, but everything on this planet has its own resonance frequency so I figured I would be able to change the length by shortening it thus also changing the frequency. As it happened there was never a call-back so I never found out if the length had anything to do with it! The new line fixed the problem.

Good luck!

NOT keeping it simple (for a change---hehehe)

Charlie
 
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Old 12-29-07, 01:12 PM
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You guys are good!

Charlie, Grady, rbeck, thanks for the super-quick replies...day after Christmas no less!

Just installed gauge, vacuum is 20 inches - red zone.

Replacing the lines would help but I'd hate for them to clog again. How about a spin-on filter at the tank? (My father-in-law sells Baldwin.) Would you put something like Fuel Right in the tank, or try to run some thru the lines?

Apparently Westwood has an aerosol fuel line cleaner and CO2 injector kit, but could be pricey for one job. Maybe Gumout chased by compressed air? As long as I don't blow up the boiler...maybe Grady's kerosene is safer!

The other thing I'm clueless on cleaning is the tank drain. I don't even know what it looks like inside the tank, and how likely it will re-clog if blown back.

Thanks again.

Paul
 
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Old 12-29-07, 04:32 PM
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20" vacuum

No wonder your pump is screaming.
Save yourself a lot of grief later & replace the lines. Blowing or flushing is a band aid at best. Rather than running 2 new lines, unless you want one for a future spare, I suggest a single line & a Tiger Loop. Treating the tank will certainly not hurt anything.
 
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Old 01-03-08, 07:44 PM
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Thumbs up

Here's where this went. Used CO2 to blow back both lines. (The feed sounded like a big accident in the loo!) Squirted Sludge Solve into the feed at boiler and blew it back again. (When ya have 10 cartridges...)

Amazingly quieter and < 10" vac. Still a hint of the shrill resonance though.

Hoping to keep the feed line clean, I added another filter at the tank today. Vac up to 12". But - amazingly - even the hint of noise is gone. Maybe the new filter dampened the flow or adding its mass/length cured the resonance (harmonics?!)

Thanks so much to all of you...now I can sit in peace and read your forum ! At least till I start calling myself back....

Gratefully,
Paul
 
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Old 01-04-08, 07:26 AM
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Just some "Ole timer's advice':

If you ain't gonna replace the lines make sure you bleed out some oil from the line after every CO2 charge. BEST results are obtained when you are pushing oil through the line back into the tank than just plain air.

ALSO, make sure you are blowing out each line separately while BOTH lines are NOT connected to the pump because you can damage the pump otherwise! Take off the filler cap before you blow out lines so that the air can escape and it won't be working against you.

ALSO, make sure than the tank has a 'pitch' AWAY from the supply line to the boiler. A rule of thumb is 1/4" negative for every foot of length (minimum). This keeps debris and water away from your supply line.

Charlie
 
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Old 01-04-08, 06:17 PM
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I agree with everything you stated except the last paragraph. If I understood your post you wanted the tank to slpoe away from the valve. The tank should slope towards the tank valve. You want small amounts of moisture to move through the system and get it out of the tank. The burner can handle very small amounts of moisture. The tanks that trap and accumulate moisture are the ones that leak quicker. Sorry if I misunderstood the post.
 
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Old 01-04-08, 06:46 PM
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Wink Why blow sludge back into tank?

Thanks for the info. Both lines had unions near the tank, so I opened them up and blew the sludge back into a bucket. (Do I need MORE sludge in my tank? Even if I'd had to disconnect at the top of tank....why not? )

(I did blow both short lines back into tank, but not 40'.)

Don't think this tank (250 gal) has a valve near/on it, so I'm puzzled about the slope. The supply and return come out the top, the fill and vent go outside (double elbow) so I'm not sure how I'd even get a dipstick into the tank to probe for water or 21 years of sludge.

Paul
 
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Old 01-05-08, 09:53 PM
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If the supply and return come out of the top you need not worry much about moisture or sludge as long as they have been properly installed. The idea is to keep the lines off the bottom of the tank so that the supply will not suck up moisture or sludge.

IF the supply line was at the bottom of the tank you would want the side of the tank where the supply line is HIGHER than the other end of the tank. The lower end of the tank is where the sludge and moisture will accumulate. IF possible a drain on the lower side would be nice.

Hope I cleared up any misunderstanding.

Charlie
 
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Old 01-06-08, 04:17 AM
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The tank should always slpoe to the valve side not away from the valve side. With the lines comming off the top of the tank should not be a problem depending how much garbage has accumulated in the tank. Hopefully there is a valve in the tank even though there is no line connected to it. If so, open the valve and see if there is water. There are chemicals to combat moisture and slidge you can add. If you chose to use these use with caution. Break the sludge up too fast and your oil system will constantly giving you problems. No shock treatments.
 
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Old 01-06-08, 07:04 AM
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Tank Slope, etc.

I agree with rbeck. The tank should slope toward the outlet. This allows any moisture, being heavier than oil, to run toward the outlet & be removed instead of building up in the tank.
I also advocate the abandonment of return lines. A two pipe system causes more problems than it cures. With a two pipe fuel system you are pumping nearly 20 gallons per hour regardless of how much you are burning. If the particulate contamination in a tank was of a finite size & quantity, a two pipe would be great but it isn't. Any filter works better at lower flow rates. BTW, your Unifilter #77 is only rated for 10 gallons per hour.
 
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Old 01-06-08, 08:57 AM
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I DISAGREE!

Hear me out first and then decide.

1) FEED LINE FROM THE TOP OF THE TANK

IF the feed line comes off the top of the tank it really does not matter BUT you would want the valve at the bottom of the tank on the LOW side so that you can drain the moisture, water, sludge, debris, etc.... once in a while. I presume EVERYBODY is in agreement here, RIGHT?

2) FEED LINE FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK

IF the feed line comes from the bottom of the tank you have two choices:

A) IF you want moisture, water, sludge, debris going into the feed line and into your system possibly clogging the line, fouling the nozzle, and shutting down the boiler put the valve and feed line on the LOW side of the tank. You will get everything mentioned eventually. Trust me!

B) IF you want nice clean, smooth, moisture-free, water-free, sludge-free, debris-free, clean fuel oil coming out of the tank and into the feed line and into your heating system then put the feed line on the HIGH side of the tank. You will get nice, clean, pink colored fuel oil, like a vintage rose' wine, going into the feed line. (The stuff you do not want will be on the OPPOSITE side of the tank, yes on the LOW SIDE, which is where you want it, AWAY from your feed line.)

NOW, here's the secret! Take out the plug on the LOW side of the tank and replace it with a drain valve and put a cap on it too. This will minimize any tampering and prevent any leaking at the DRAIN valve! This way you will be able to drain all that stuff that DID NOT go into your feed line every so often. Save it so that you will be able to see the stuff that DID NOT GO INTO YOUR LINE!

How do you guys like your wine? When you hold up that glass do you like to see a nice clear pink or would you like little 'stuff' floating around in it, some of it sinking, some of it foul? Perhaps a little sludge in your wine sir?

Do you like to see a separation in that glass (water & fuel oil --hehehe) OR would you like to see a SMOOTH CLEAR Rose' ? BTW----It's magically delicious!

***WARNING TO ALL BEGINNERS*****
DO NOT REALLY DRINK THIS STUFF! THE SURGEON GENERAL HAS DETERMINED THAT DRINKING #2 FUEL OIL MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH AND MAY CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS IN PREGNANT WOMEN. DO NOT DRINK IF YOU ARE LACTATING!

This is the way WE DO IT here on Long Island, NY where there are so many summer homes that depend on reliable heating during the winter months because nobody is there to check the houses. Can you imagine an unattended house 'freezing' because there was junk in the oil line or water in the oil line and it stopped the boiler!!!??? These Hampton's people will bite your head off if the boiler went down!

This is my 2 cents and the only opinion I can possibly have is my own. HOWEVER, I am very analytical and objective.

OBJECTIVELY what would you rather have????

CLEAN or DIRTY?

Gotta go now, time to help with the laundry!

Doing it right!

Charlie (NO -- IT IS NOT COFFEE-----IT IS WINE!)
 
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Old 01-06-08, 09:28 AM
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Clean Fuel

Nobody is disputing the fact we want to deliver clean fuel to the burner. The cleanest fuel we can get is a couple of inches below the surface. A floating suction line will accomplish this & the tank should be sloped toward the bottom valve for draining moisture. The addition of a fuel treatment taylored for the particular problem is also helpful.
 
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Old 01-06-08, 09:51 AM
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I can actually agree with both sides of the argument!

The only thing I want to comment on is that Charlie's approach would be fine IF and ONLY IF the customer was fastidious about have the system serviced yearly... if not, that sludge and water pool at the bottom of the tank is eventually going to fill the area allocated for it, and end up in the lines and filter ANYWAY!

Grady once suggested something to me that I wanna add... right at the outlet of the tank (on 'bottom feeder') install an EMPTY (no filter element) 25 or 700 filter can. It will act as a water trap, but still needs to be emptied out from time to time.

I prefer my adult beverages amber, and with CO2 please!
 
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Old 01-06-08, 11:33 AM
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That sounds good to me!

Not too familiar with the model #s though.

How about a REAL water trap like they use on pneumatic controls with the bleeder on the bottom. It bleeds right from the bottom and the bleeder is large enough for common debris too!

HOWEVER, I hope nobody wants to find out what that 'cute' little 'thingy' at the bottom of the canister is. (Oh, let's see, it turns! OH MY GOD! I can't get it back on!!--- --Maybe NOT such a good idea, but great for a basement tank where there are no kids around!)

Maybe NJ Trooper's idea is more secure.

You know, I STILL like my original method best. SIMPLE.

Great minds think alike!

Greater minds challenge for the best result.

Charlie
 
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Old 01-06-08, 01:03 PM
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If you want the tank last slope towards the valve. The stuff you are talking about accumulates very slowly. Pump manufacturers say as moisture passes through in small amounts it is not a problem.
I donít know if I have ever seen a tank with two plugs on the bottom of the tank. If the owner or tech does not drain off your drain plug/valve the water stays in the tank and causes corrosion/leaks.
I agree the best oil is to stay off the bottom but who is responsible to drain the valve to get rid of moisture? The tech? The homeowner? Does it become a finger pointing match when the tank leaks.
 
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Old 01-06-08, 01:16 PM
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Tank Draining

Whenever the fuel system is serviced it is, or should be, the responsibility of the servicer (tech or homeowner) to open the tank drain, drain off at least a quart, & check for contaminants. Where I work, this is part of our SOP for service on a fuel system. Whenever we see a top feed & no tank drain, we tell the homeowner a drain should be installed. This conversation is also documented on the service ticket.
 
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Old 01-06-08, 08:20 PM
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This area of discussion describes the difference between a $79.99 tune-up/PM and a $200+ one. If the service company does everything they are supposed to it should cost more and your equipment should last longer and also run better. They should also service the entire system including the radiators, baseboards, expansion tank, safety devices, and of course the fuel system which includes the tank!

I charge higher than my competition and it shows long after I have left the job site.

One bad thing though: I can't do 8-10 tune-ups a day like the other guys.

Good discussion guys. Some of us are so opinionated!

Charlie
 
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Old 01-07-08, 05:54 AM
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You are two steps above the norm. You have the norm, which does a good job. Does all that’s supposed to be done. But does not go above that. Then you have the step above which uses test equipment (all types) and does a nice job making the work area cleaner and takes the time to do some extras for the fuel system and boiler. Above that is people who take care of system problems at the same time.
We also have the group who does not even do what is expected. Who has but does not use test equipment. Than the ones who do not have the test equipment, standard parts changer and takes all the short cuts and uses rules of thumb.
My theory was to always try to make sure the system can take care of itself as much as possible. Getting rid of water in the tank, air in the system, good flow to get more heat from the radiation, maybe not using a bladder type tank, etc. For those who tilt tank opposite way and drain what happens if you lose the account and the next guy is below norm. He never drains. When I was a service manager we had mostly above norm tech’s. It took about 2 yrs to get to that point. Had a two norm or below. They decided to leave after awhile. It took awhile to get all on board to that point. When we did the callback rate was 1.5%. Way below the North America rate of 10% for our industry at that time. I congratulate all who are above the norm, but, many tech’s fall norm or below.
We state here all the time the installation is far more important than the choice of equipment. A good install makes good equipment very good or average equipment good or bad. I do not believe there is bad equipment today as they all have to meet the same criteria during design and manufacturing. I do believe some is better than others due to some internal and external bells and whistles. They all hold water and heat the home.
 
 

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