Intermittent boiler shut down

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Old 01-07-17, 06:12 AM
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Intermittent boiler shut down

Oil boiler shut down over Thanksgiving Holiday while out of town. The manual reset button on the burner blower motor was out, so reset. The boiler started up and ran correctly. The burner blower motor is original to boiler which is 28 yrs old. Replaced the burner blower motor and squirrel cage, the boiler ran fine all day. When I got up the next morning the boiler was off again, reset the unit and it ran fine. Wife came home from work that evening and the boiler had kicked off again. After resetting, the boiler ran fine until sometime overnight, when it kicked off again. Cleaned the photo eye, reset it once again, the unit started right up and ran fine until the day after New Years or about 3 weeks after replacing the burner blower motor, when it kicked off again. Pressed the reset button and the unit started right up and has run fine. Each time it has kicked off the programmable thermostats were at there lower temperature settings. Also noticed that most of the time the burner starts right up as soon as I hear the blower motor start. Every so often, I hear the burner blower motor start, but it doesn't fire for 2 to 3 seconds. The rest of the controls for this boiler are original except the ignition transformer which is about 15 years old and the electrodes which were replaced last year. Any suggestions?
 
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Old 01-07-17, 07:12 AM
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edgil-

Is the reset button you first pushed actually on the motor itself like this:

Electric Motor Reset Button - motor overload reset switch

or is the reset button you are pushing on the burner control something like this (guy is pointing to button top pic):

Bleeding a Furnace Burner

If the button actually isnít on the motor but on the burner control then probably it wasnít the motor that was the problem. Iím no expert but I think unfortunately there are many problems that result in the burner control needing to be reset. Nozzle, electrodes, CAD cell (to detect and ensure flame), transformer, etc. I think even badly clogged filters would do it.

When was the last time the system was serviced?
 
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Old 01-07-17, 08:09 AM
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Thanks for getting back to me

The unit was last serviced Sept, 2015 with new nozzle, filter and ignition electrodes. The reset button on the burner blower motor did need to be reset once during last years heating seasons. The new burner blower motor has an automatic reset, so now now we just reset the burner control.
 
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Old 01-07-17, 08:23 AM
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E,
You mentioned the burner motor reset so that time was obviously the motor but now you have a delayed ignition problem and if delayed enough could be anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds depending how old your control is. After it shuts down and you have to reset it do you get a puff back or an oil smell. If so it's most likely in your ignition circuit, meaning your transformer or electrodes. If it comes right on without any of the things I mentioned could be your nozzle or pump or dirty filters.
Since it doesn't do it all the time my guess would be ignition which when going bad is very unpredictable until it finally goes bad. If it was an oil problem it would do it all the time as nozzles and pumps and dirty filters do not get better with age.

Hope this helps a little.
 
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Old 01-07-17, 09:50 AM
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edgil-

Sep 2015 might be stretching things a little IMHO. However, Iíve gone about that long without a service and have been OK. I do my own.

If it were me I would replace the oil filter(s), the fuel filter in the fuel pump, and the nozzle, because those are easy to do and not expensive, and see if things improved. But this is not the time to do that if you have never done that before Ė IMHO. Changing the filters may require you to bleed the pump and I think sometimes you can run into some problems doing that if youíve never done it before. Way too cold to be without heat.

If you thought you could wait till spring maybe you could try those things yourself at that time. But if you plan to continually have service done by a provider then IMHO you might be better off just having it done now.

It seems to me you should have the basic service done: filters, nozzle(new), electrodes checked and replaced if needed (although probably not yours are pretty new) and then see if the reset problem disappears. A pro doing the service would also do a combustion analysis and make adjustments if needed.

If that first level service doesnít do it then you would have to pursue the other items like: igniter, motor (but I guess yours is new), fuel pump, and the burner control itself.

Thatís the way I see it. I hope one of the pros or the very knowledgeable guys jump in here. Too cold to be without heat now!!

THIS IS WEIRD Ė once again I get ready to post and see spott has a new one. Iíll read that now, so pardon me if spott has already covered the appropriate procedure, LOL
 
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Old 01-07-17, 01:30 PM
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spott,
Thanks for getting back to me. As I was reading your response and deciding what to do next, I heard the blower motor kick on, but without the sound of a flame. Went down to basement to see if the boiler would need to be reset. After about 30 sec. it did fire with a puff sound and slight smell of exhaust. It looks as though I have an ignition issue on my hands. At least this heads me in the right direction.
Thanks again spott
 
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Old 01-07-17, 01:34 PM
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Thanks zoesdad,

I got this response from spott along with my response. Thanks for your help

E,
You mentioned the burner motor reset so that time was obviously the motor but now you have a delayed ignition problem and if delayed enough could be anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds depending how old your control is. After it shuts down and you have to reset it do you get a puff back or an oil smell. If so it's most likely in your ignition circuit, meaning your transformer or electrodes. If it comes right on without any of the things I mentioned could be your nozzle or pump or dirty filters.
Since it doesn't do it all the time my guess would be ignition which when going bad is very unpredictable until it finally goes bad. If it was an oil problem it would do it all the time as nozzles and pumps and dirty filters do not get better with age.

spott,
Thanks for getting back to me. As I was reading your response and deciding what to do next, I heard the blower motor kick on, but without the sound of a flame. Went down to basement to see if the boiler would need to be reset. After about 30 sec. it did fire with a puff sound and slight smell of exhaust. It looks as though I have an ignition issue on my hands. At least this heads me in the right direction.
Thanks again spott
 
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Old 01-07-17, 01:58 PM
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Do you do any work on these on your own or do you call somebody.

If you try things yourself you can pull the assembly and see if your electrode tips are wet or dry. They should be dry, if wet chances are they are misaligned and the oil soaked tips will cause a delay.

You can check your transformer by disconnecting your burner motor wire so the motor will not run the pump. Remove the screws and lift the transformer up. Cover the cad cell eye with a rag being careful not to touch the terminals on the transformer and then turn the power on. Take a long screw driver being careful not to touch the metal tip and put it across the transformer terminals. Touch one terminal and slid it to the other and you should see your spark. The farther you move the tip from the terminal the bigger the spark. Should look like a lighting bolt. If not or you get a delay transformer needs replacing.

This is one way to check it but even if you get a good spark you can still have intermittent problems but at least you will have an idea.
 
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