Carrier (oil burner runs but no ignition

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Old 12-23-14, 08:11 PM
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Carrier (oil burner runs but no ignition

Carrier (Ducane) Furnace with Ducane DMR-10A oil burner and 2 pipe Webster pump (3450 rpm). Using .75 gph 80 solid nozzle - integrated with carrier heat pump (all components except fuel pump are 30 years old. Cleaned exchanger and replaced nozzle and filter at start of season and just replaced nozzle again but does not resolve no ignition. Cleaned, gapped electrodes (1/8 x 1/8 x 1/2 inch).

Checked resistance on Cad Cell while out of socket. 20000 ohms when I block the light. virtually zero when I shine a flashlight on it. I jumpered the F terminals and applied power - no start; remove jumper...burner starts but no ignite. Transformer seems to spark decently and arcs about 3/4 inch as I slide a screwdriver across terminals. whitish blue/yellow spark. Checked Cad Cell resistance sensor with both wires disconnected from F terms and cad cell in socket...needle did not move, hmmm. started burner with cad cell removed...no ignition. Ignition will happen intermittently and furnace runs fine and primary relay does not shut it down. If I power off while its running/firing and power on immediately it still ignites. After the thermostat no longer calls for heat and shuts down furnace, there is no ignition on the next call and relay locks it out. Pressing reset button starts burner but then no ignition. The nozzle is spraying as I see the mist in the chamber but no flash from ignition. I took the nozzle gun out and tested it on the terminals of the transformer and blue spark arced across the electrode tips. I guess spark is to small and hidden to see any glow when peering into the chamber. Did not test voltage to the primary relay or to Transformer. If everything seems to spark fine with the transformer open and even firing the gun outside then why no ignition when everything is in place.

Finally I have 10 inches oil in a 550 tank. Fuel delivery tomorrow. I ran the pump into jug and its pumping. Did not test pressure. Its a relatively new Webster pump which I find odd because its sounds different at different times. Sometimes smooth and sometimes whiney. Will recheck fuel filter in case it clogged up tomorrow after the fuel delivery.

I'm running just the heat pump now and that seems to work fine other than will not go into defrost cycle (save that for a later post); an issue I've had last couple of years.


What do you advise next other than ****-can this god awful furnace. Do I need a new primary control? Thanks
 

Last edited by Wayfarersun; 12-23-14 at 08:21 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 12-23-14, 08:26 PM
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sometimes whiney
Whiney pump usually indicates high suction vacuum (plugged filter or line) or sucking AIR.

Will recheck fuel filter in case it clogged up tomorrow after the fuel delivery.
Yes... especially since you are probably sucking sludge. How old is the tank? Underground? TWO PIPE fuel lines?

Checked Cad Cell resistance sensor with both wires disconnected from F terms and cad cell in socket...needle did not move, hmmm.
What are you saying? Open circuit with cad cell in socket? Stop there, you should see SOMETHING. Check that again. Pull the cad cell, one meter probe on one wire, other meter probe check each of the cad cell socket holes. Do same for other. Maybe you have intermittent connection in socket. Maybe socket is just plain worn out and not making contact any longer.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 08:39 PM
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Not sure what I'm saying on the Cad Cell check. Its a cheap multimeter but when I put the two leads together it jumps to zero resistance so I assume its okay and seems to work logically when testing the cad cell out of socket. Just strange that the needle does not move when testing at both wires of the sensor while disconnected from relay terminals. I agree I should see something. Isn't it strange that the socket is worn out when the cad cell has never been touched in 30 years? Or could be 30 years of vibration I suppose. Just now heard the oil hot water heater fire up and it whined and the becket burner on it always run perfect. So I must have a suction issue as well. Will the high suction cause no ignition in the furnace? I'll do the Cad sensor socket checks one by one and replace filter tomorrow after the fuel delivery.

Tank is 30 years old underground. Doesn't two pipe system kind of pump the sludge to the filter?
 
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Old 12-24-14, 12:14 PM
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Stop there, you should see SOMETHING.
In fact, you should see exactly what you see when connected directly to the CAD cell pins.

Tank is 30 years old underground. Doesn't two pipe system kind of pump the sludge to the filter?
A 30 year old tank has at LEAST six inches of sludge in the bottom.

Two pipe does move more oil through the filter of course, and yes, if your tank is full of sludge you'll be changing filters fairly often. I used to go through 3-4 filters each heating season with my old in-ground tank.

Is your burner BELOW the level of the tank? i.e. in the basement?
 
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Old 12-24-14, 12:44 PM
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Did you get fuel? How did the filter look? You could have a fouled nozzle even if it looks like it has a good spray. Before installing a new one, flush at least a quart of oil into a container thru the system including the nozzle assembly with the old nozzle removed.

If the burner motor runs, the cad cell would not have any effect on ignition.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 02:59 PM
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[Edit: Right - so I get same resistance readings with the cad cell in as when testing the cell directly. Furnace is basement and fuel line comes in about 4 feet above basement floor and maybe 1 foot higher than fuel pump. Filter is not usually sludge caked at the beginning of heating season (happened once only years ago where it was covered in heavy sludge. ]

Got fuel 3 hours ago. Replaced filter - it was fairly clean, just wet and mostly gray, no sludge (hmmm, so why the whining last night when the oil fired hot water heater kicked on - the becket burner on it has run notoriously smooth for 30 years ). I tested and did get continuity on each of the cad cell sensor's sockets - zero resistance and also with the cell in and shining light on the cell. Needle moved literally a hair when I covered the cell so I guess the reading would be 1 million ohms.

I pumped maybe 5 oz of fuel before reconnecting the line to the nozzle gun. No ignition with either the cad cell in or out. There is at least a fifteen foot run of say 1/2 inch pipe from filter to fuel pump. Tomorrow I will pump out the quart as you suggest with nozzle out and replace the nozzle again. Its a two pipe system (at least furnace is - have to take a look on the hot water heater if two pipes). Seems most of the time I that I do get ignition is when I remove the nozzle gun and/or nozzle.
 

Last edited by Wayfarersun; 12-24-14 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 12-24-14, 03:51 PM
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Well the chances I find something that the experts didnít is one in ten trillion. No, make the odds even less. lol

Cleaned, gapped electrodes (1/8 x 1/8 x 1/2 inch).
But are those numbers good? Just a WAG, not even sure that would explain the symptoms.

But Merry Christmas to ALL - and the very knowledgeable folks who contribute to this forum have been very good all year and I hope Santa takes good care of them!
 
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Old 12-24-14, 03:59 PM
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Those are what the manual calls for and pretty much standard from what I've read. Grady has suggested other measurements for Ducane in a different thread but they didn't work for me.

I'm also wondering if I should pull the burner off and clean the flame retention ring which hasn't been cleaned in forever and since then the burner does tend to ignite dirty since I never seem to achieve consistently clean ignition for very long.

The electrodes are carbon stained and don't easily clean to white but I can't see any cracks. I'm wondering if it is worthwhile to also get a new set of electrodes. I actually found a sight that has Ducane replacements.

Thanks for the suggestions. My odds are as good as yours I guess . LOL
 
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Old 12-24-14, 04:00 PM
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are those numbers good?
Not for a Beckett they ain't... but I dunno about that old beast that Sun has...

Yes, MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my friends (and even those who aren't), past and future!
 
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Old 12-24-14, 04:36 PM
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Does that Webster Oil Pump have a strainer in it similar to the SunTec or Sunstrand ?

I went for years without cleaning or replacing my strainer . . . . now I change it every year, after having it completely wax up on me one year.

I don't know if a blocked strainer would whine; but if it's not bathe in oil, it might.
 
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Old 12-24-14, 07:07 PM
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Webster does not have a screen. It has blades which are supposed to chop up the junk fine enough to pass through the nozzle. Believe that? I don't.

Wayfarersun:
When you pull the nozzle assembly, pay particular attention to the electrodes. If any part is wet with oil, fuel is impinging on them which is an indication of either a nozzle problem or the electrodes are not adjusted properly. Three quarters of an inch spark is on the weak side. I like to the the spark go to, or almost to, the other terminal when testing with a screwdriver.
 
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Old 12-25-14, 10:58 AM
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Ok Before I forget, since I'm an AH doing this crap on XMAS, Merry XMAS to all and thanks to all who try to help and especially the patient professionals who put up with my ignorance.

So Grady, I flushed a quart of oil thru the lines and nozzle gun w/o nozzle attached. I cleaned the electrode screw-on connections where the copper contact bands screw on to the electrodes. The screw points/threads were a bit rusty so I got everything to shiny metal before screwing back together.

Reinstalled and fired up nicely.
Ran for a minute or two and I shut it down. Would not ignite on next power on. Took out nozzle gun and wiped electrode tips which were wet. Powered up nicely again and ran it till thermostat switched it off. With power off, I pushed the thermostat up twice on two separate occasions and the furnace ignited nicely. Next I'll just have to leave it alone and energized and see if it ignites consistently under normal operation. I think you may have something there between the oil impinging on the electrodes so hopefully the new nozzle solved it or I'll have to experiment with the gaps. Like I said earlier, most of my ignition success has been after removing the nozzle gun and wiping it. Could anything else be wrong like maybe with the flame retention ring also cause the impinging?
By the way, new nozzle is 80 degree hollow. Previous two nozzles were solid which I tried cuz I read the solid has better ignition properties. Any thoughts there?

I'll keep you posted, but for now I'll run my heats pumps cuz it's warm and I'll be away for the day and run the furnace tonight when I can monitor.
 
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Old 12-25-14, 11:42 AM
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Thermostat just called for heat and had good ignition and everything sounds real good. Flame looks good and even on both left and right windows of the firebox. Something I haven't seen in a while. I'm out for a while now.

P.S. I replaced Webster fuel pump 2 years ago with Webster again (now I don't think there was ever really anything wrong with the old one.) Got Webster instead of Suntec just because it's a cutter and not requiring filter replacement/Cleaning like Suntec. Though I agree I'm amazed that the Webster cutter technology could actually work but I guess it has for years. I thought new Webster was supposed to be quieter than old one and has supposedly better fuel cutoff than previous. Right now it's running smooth and quiet compared to the whiny/whirring noise I get intermittently. Lets say see if it stays consistent in its sounds.
 
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Old 12-25-14, 11:51 AM
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I'm taxing my memory & don't have any reference material to back up said memory but it seems to me the Ducane furnaces with the Ducane burner used a 70* nozzle. Memory could be faulty & the 70* nozzle was with a Wayne burner.
Something else you might try is to back off the combustion air just a bit, as long as you can maintain a clean burn.
MERRY CHRISTMAS
 
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Old 12-25-14, 11:59 AM
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Pretty sure the paperwork says 80* but will double check. Techs seem to always put in 80* but hey if that doesn't work I'd be glad to try the 70*. seems like such a narrow fire box anyway.

Thanks for the tips. Keep you posted on the longer term experience over next few days. I wanna find a good tech that can make all those critical settings next if I fail.
 
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Old 12-25-14, 05:20 PM
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When you hire a tech make sure he comes in with complete test equipment and knows how to use it .To get an oil burner set up to perform properly over the long term is not that hard but all aspects of the system must be with in specification and you need the test equipment to be able to check such things as pump oil pressure , over fire draft , smoke # , co2, stack temperature . The proper setting of the electrodes is best done with venire calipers or a gauge such as supplied by Beckett for their burners, can be done with a good steel 6 inch rule. Most experienced burner tech. who do it several times a day can set them by eye .
 
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Old 12-25-14, 07:08 PM
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Well that's the thing, a lot of techs just replace the nozzle/filter, check the spark across the transformer and look at the flame. I want all the checks you specified. I have a good steel rule with a sliding depth indicator on it so I can get a decent measurement on the electrodes. Last year I filed them to a point because they were blunt. I'm considering investing 15 or twenty bucks on new electrodes cuz I just can't seem to get mine pristine and they seem to have a permanent carbon stain on the insulators. Thanks for emphasizing the line flush/nozzle condition. I seem to always underestimate the criticality of these simple things.

Just switched over to burner from the heat pumps and it fired up nicely and sounds good. I'll monitor it tonight and see if the ignition degrades as it usually does over time as the nozzle or electrodes seem to get covered with oil as the season goes on. Though this is probably the most thorough/methodical I have ever been in flushing out the line, getting a new nozzle in and gapping the electrodes.
 
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Old 12-25-14, 07:17 PM
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Those furnaces are noted for heat exchanger failure. I would really be surprised if yours was still intact. Without combustion test equipment, a boroscope (fiber optic camera), or near complete disassembly, there's no way to really know.
 
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Old 12-25-14, 07:52 PM
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Yeah you mentioned that once before so hopefully I can find one with the equip. and know how.

BTW I have a 58HU up boy model and my Carrier docs specify 80* solid nozzle @ .90 GPH. I would imagine the .75 GPH nozzle I run is even more susceptible to clogging. I only have to heat the first floor (1100 sq. feet) and I use my heat pumps during the milder months of Connecticut. Maybe that saved my heat exchanger's life.

I opened up the duct work a couple years ago to clean the AC cooling coil because some of the furnace insulation got lose and trapped there. Coil sits above the heat exchanger. Can one get a decent visual of the heat exchanger from there? I can't remember what was visible. Of course you couldn't see the bottom of the exchanger from there.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 07:47 AM
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Well since last night I have had to pull the nozzle gun a couple of times, dry of the nozzle and/or electrodes and it fires up nicely after reinstall. Seems to go thru one or two calls for heat and then finally no ignition on the next call. Just checked the electrode gap and maybe it was a bit more than 1/8 so I narrowed it to what I think is exactly 1/8 on my steel rule. Furnace sounds great when its running. If furnace/flame sounds/looks good when it's running, then at what point does the nozzle/electrodes get wet....gradually while its running or after failed ignition? Does ignition fail because nozzle is wet or vice versa? Do I have bad ignition (transformer maybe?) or a fuel cutoff problem? I see Alanson sells a direct replacement transformer for my Ducane for 57 bucks so its not a huge outlay to replace. and I can install it myself if the wiring is identical.
What should I try next? Maybe get the tech in first to make any checks and adjustments? I suppose I can have a new transformer on hand and return it if it doesn't turn up to be the problem.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 08:09 AM
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I agree spark seems short. But I like the Websters.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 09:26 AM
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I would replace the transformer & pull the electrodes back to no more than 1/16" ahead of the nozzle face when using an 80* nozzle. Were you ever able to verify the spec'd nozzle?
Transformer wiring will be the same. One wire to orange & the other to white.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 09:29 AM
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If the electrodes are wet ,it may mean they are too far past the nozzle . The spark forms a u between the tips of the electrodes , caused by the air from the burner fan which should put the spark into the oil spray, leaving the tips dry. If there is too much air and the igniter is weak there may not be ignition and the oil spray will wet the electrodes . When looking directly across the end of the nozzle you should just see the electrodes protruding past the nozzle . I find that the tips should be 7/16 above the center of the nozzle works for me .
 
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Old 12-26-14, 09:33 AM
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Yes (see yesterday @ 9:52pm) - verified the specs: 80* solid @ .90GPH. I've been running .75GPH and have tried both hollow and solid nozzles. Solid supposedly better ignition properties while hollow uses less fuel per some Nozzle website.

I think I will spring for the transformer - is Alanson okay or are there better that still make one that fits?

Also verified the 1/8 x 1/8 x 1/2 inch
 
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Old 12-26-14, 10:25 AM
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Alanson is fine. Just make sure you get one which will fit the Ducane burner. What brand of transformer is on there now? If it is a Webster & the Alanson isn't an exact replacement, you will have to adapt the new transformer to the existing base plate.

As I recall, those heat exchangers tend to crack either in the front where the burner plate is or around the flue collar plate.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 12:07 PM
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Its a Webster now and the Alanson 421-430 says its a direct replacement for my DMR-10A burner and Webster 313-25 AB90 on it.

I don't have what I envision as a flue collar plate on the front of my burner. The collar is a bolt on heavy sheet metal box cover on the exhaust side of the horizontal heat exchanger tubes (front of burner). It's essentially a glorified elbow and then the galvanized flue pipe slides on top of the round collar that protrudes from the top of the "box." Both the hot water heater and furnace flue pipe come together in a "Y" before connecting to the ceramic flue port in the basement cinder block wall.

I clean the tubes and don't see any cracks that are visible to the naked eye but I'm not exactly looking for them. I can also open the duct work and examine the top of the exchanger ...at least for any bad rust/corrosion that may have been caused by the AC condensate or drip and suggests a risk. beyond that we'll let the tech due the more sophisticated tests
 
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Old 12-26-14, 12:30 PM
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To get to the burner plate I spoke of, one has to pull the burner & remove the front sheet metal panel of the furnace. On an upflow, it's probably easier said than done. Sounds like the transformer is the one you want.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 12:38 PM
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Duh...yeah..... I knew that. "Burner" was the key word. Ok gotcha. I have pulled the burner before. It's pretty simple mechanics if I remember. Do I need new gaskets or anything if I do it since I was toying with pulling it to examine the flame retention ring and maybe clean it.

Just playing with the last electrode measurement you suggested before I order the transformer.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 02:57 PM
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You may need a gasket to go on the flange where the burner bolts to the furnace. If you decide to pull of the front sheet metal, you shouldn't need any gaskets for it, at least so says my feeble memory.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 03:26 PM
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If I pull off the front sheet metal (which wasn't necessary last time I pulled the burner) I will want to replace the sheet metal insulation that got blown off the left inner sheet metal wall. Can that insulation be actually purchased and is it attached via some heat resistant glue? what would be a search term for them?

I see insulation under the burner flange but don't remember any other type of gasket between burner and furnace.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 03:51 PM
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I doubt you could find any foil faced fiberglass that thin. I have used 1" ductboard in an air handler & stuck it with silicone. Don't think I'd try it on a furnace. Not listed for the purpose.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 05:05 PM
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Well just another indicator of the cheesy quality of this carrier/Ducane combo. I probably lost that insulation like 20+ years ago. I never saw such a cheaply and stupidly designed furnace, at least from a servicing standpoint.

So what furnace would you recommend if I eventually replace this beast?
 
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Old 12-26-14, 05:17 PM
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First & foremost do a manual J heat loss calculation to determine how much furnace you need. Chances are yours is at least 50% oversized. There are only a couple of oil fired furnaces even worth considering in my opinion. The top of the heap is Thermo-Pride.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 05:28 PM
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So are you implying to go gas?
 
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Old 12-26-14, 05:41 PM
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OMG, if you have gas available, ditch that smelly a$$ oil burner as fast as you can!
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-26-14 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 12-26-14, 05:46 PM
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No city gas, so I guess it would be Thermo Pride or whatever else you might recommend. My dad has a weil mclain still going strong after 45 years. physically 1/2 as big as my beast and heating 2000 square feet

How bout you NJ? you have a favorite oil furnace?
 
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Old 12-26-14, 05:58 PM
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How bout you NJ? you have a favorite oil furnace?
No, sorry, I don't. I sorta despise 'scorched hot air'... ... Grady knowz all! (he's like Santa)
 
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Old 12-26-14, 06:20 PM
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I'm not a scorched air guy either but having actually worked on far more of them in the past few years, I've kind of lost touch with the wet world.
Thermo-Pride is generally considered to be the top of the line in oil fired warm air equipment.

If you believe Trooper's comment about Grady knowing all, Grady's got some ocean front property in AZ he'll sell at a real nice price.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 06:51 PM
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ocean front property in AZ
Give it some time... wait for it...
 
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Old 12-26-14, 07:03 PM
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Ha Ha Ha!

Well I was just looking at TP's new OHC 95 condensing furnace with 95% AFUE and Riello burner. Scary looking beast and you can actually roll the heat exchangers (plural) out of the unit on its own casters for a thorough cleaning if for some silly reason it is ever needed. I guess Adams makes a condensing furnace too. Took me 30 years to learn anything about my Ducane now I gotta learn condensing stuff with PVC exhaust. Are TP's heat pumps any good? Gotta say I've liked like my Carriers - more for the A/C than heat. Heating is limited here in NE with Air-to-air pumps.

BTW - my furnace has gone thru 4 or 5 calls for heat and has ignited each time - though a bit delayed on ignition (maybe 2 to 3 secs?) I've got the electrodes gapped no more than 1/8 in and somewhere between 1/16 tp 1/8 inch ahead of the nozzle. I also reduced air slightly by closing the slide or shutter maybe 1/16 of an inch. I'll move the nozzle down to 1/16 ahead of nozzle, next and see if any better. I got smoother ignition before when I wiped the nozzle and held to standard gaps but then it failed to reignite on subsequent calls for heat. Are we still thinking transformer?
 
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