Boiler seems to be using much more oil than before

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Old 11-20-17, 09:04 AM
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Boiler seems to be using much more oil than before

I have an energy kinetics system 2000 boiler in my house. A few weeks ago my oil company did its regular yearly maintenance/cleaning. Ever since, I've noticed much higher oil usage than what's normal for this time of the year, and the weather hasn't been much colder than usual (if at all).

What could possibly cause this increased oil usage? Could something have been done during the tune-up to cause this? Thanks.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 09:19 AM
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System 2000

If it's only been a few weeks since the tune up was done how can you be sure you're using more oil than normal?
Have you noticed anything different than normal with the operation of the system, ie, is the boiler staying hot even with no zones calling?
 
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Old 11-20-17, 09:39 AM
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Check to see if any notes were added to your service tag, like efficiency or parts replaced.

As heatpro said, it takes time to confirm fuel use and the fuel gauge on the tank isn't very accurate. Do what you can to record use and relate that to heating degree days. Your fuel provider may share those numbers with you but they are also part of local weather information.

If you have all prior fuel use data (gallons and delivery date) pull that out. If not, request it from your fuel company for past 3 years. I have used that information to create a "gallons per degree day" history.

Have you talked to the service company yet?

Bud
 
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Old 11-20-17, 01:42 PM
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Haven't talked to the service company yet. There is a fuel gauge on the tank that has been quite accurate for years, so I have no reason to mistrust it, and it clearly shows considerable increase in usage. Other than that, I haven't really noticed anything different. The technican who serviced the boiler, oddly enough, didn't add anything to the service tag, so I don't really know what he did other than cleaned it.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 02:21 PM
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Was the Oil Tank full at the beginning of this test period ?

The shape of most Oil Tanks can cause reliance on only the Gauge to be a little misleading (not deceptive) at the beginning and again at the end of your drawing from it, because the float's descent becomes retarded as it moves from the top down into the middle where the sides are parallel . . . . and then its movement is accelerated as it nears the tank's bottom, and the distance between the sides narrows.

Also, did the Company's Service Invoice detail what was was done ?

PS: Oil Tanks have been shaped the way they are traditionally in order to allow them to be maneuvered through pedestrian doorways.
 

Last edited by Vermont; 11-20-17 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Added PostScript
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Old 11-20-17, 03:05 PM
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Now the oil pros will have to correct me on this as I'm not a pro on this subject and in Maine energy auditors were forbidden from touching the heating systems, thus the training excluded everything related. But, it was my understanding that filling out the service tag was a required part of service and even testing the efficiency of the unit. My experience up here has been mixed form nothing to a computer generated test slip. That service tag is your record as to how the unit is functioning.

No service record (even the name of the tech) would be a small red flag for me.

Request the oil delivery history and if you feel your gauge is accurate enough try to determine the gallons per day of use. We can do that from delivery to delivery but I've never had a gauge that could give me that info.

Bud
 
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Old 11-20-17, 06:03 PM
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The requirement for a "service tag" is unknown here in the Midwest where I live. But, except in some few metro areas, there is no licensing of service technicians or requirements for permitting. There are no applicable state regulations. It's hard for people in the East to comprehend that, but probably 90% of the U.S. is that way.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 06:25 PM
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D,
I believe you're the best judge of your oil usage. You can tell if you're using more oil even in the short haul.

If you seem to be running the same amount of time and the weather is about the same one thing I would find out is if the tech put the right nozzle in for you. It seems like a small thing but if he put a larger nozzle in you will burn more oil in the same amount of time.

For example if you had a .75 and he put in a 1.00 that's an extra .25 gal for every hour your boiler runs. Although it sounds like a small thing if your boiler runs a total of 4 hrs a day at this time of year that's an extra 30 gals. a month and the extra oil is just going up the chimney.

As Bud said you should have a tag whenever they do work which should tell you what they put in for parts like the nozzle size and filter etc. In MA they are required to leave one and if they didn't leave you one I would request one and find out exactly what was done.

There are times when they don't have the proper nozzle for you boiler so they put in something close and make the burner adjustments to accommodate it. It will work in most cases without problems but most likely not as efficient.

Just a thought. Hope this helps a little.
 
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Old 11-21-17, 07:44 AM
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I think heatpro would have covered this in post #2, but I wonder if you are using your boiler for domestic hot water and the service guy cranked the low limit way up on the Aquastat. I believe Ive heard of that happening in the past, especially if the homeowner mentions his domestic hot water is a little too cool.

So your burner would be running more and your boiler would be hot even when there is no call for heat from a zone but I think that was covered by heatpro.

I live 20 miles NW of Philly and in my area the service guy would leave a sheet which had check boxes for the Standard Silver Service but the boxes were never checked LOL. He would write in however, any parts he replaced. I just assumed there was no legal requirement here in Pa. to leave a record. Could be wrong. (I do my own service now.)
 
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Old 11-21-17, 08:52 AM
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Often the nozzle is changed during annual maintenance. If nozzle size was increased efficiency goes down and oil consumption goes up. An easy way for oil companies to sell more oil and increase profits. When customers want plenty of heat they are happy to oblige. Most boilers put out more heat/btu hour than the system can radiate so the higher boiler output is wasted.
 
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Old 11-21-17, 03:23 PM
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What is your stack temp? It shouldn't be more than 250-300 deg above the water temp plus the boiler room temp. It was already said on another post that maybe some of your heat is going up your chimney. Most boilers are over fired, as some oil dealers like to sell a little more oil. How clean is tour boiler, did you see it while it was open? What is your draft reading? Did the serviceman leave a service report?
Just some thoughts.
Sid
 
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Old 11-22-17, 10:17 AM
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Thanks everyone. You've given me some ideas to follow up on.
 
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Old 11-22-17, 08:56 PM
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A very basic question on residential boilers is their ability to meet heating load at design temperatures on coldest day. A common static on US boilers is 85% of them are twice the BTU capacity/firing rate needed. Another static is boilers run only 20% to 25% of the time on design temp days.

The easiest way to find actual run time on coldest day is with a $10 elapsed time clock wired into burner solenoid or motor.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AC100-250V-...19.m1438.l2649

For a week or two log clock time, degree days and oil consumed. Then figue out degree days per 24 hours.

If boiler runs 3 hours/day at 30 degree days ( 65F – 30F = 35F outside temp) then at 60 degree days (65F - 5F) it will run 6 hours or 25% of the time.

Domestic hot water load does impact this but it declines as outside temp drops.

With this data you can safely reduce firing rate to one that provides plenty of heat at design temp. Mine runs 33% of time at design temp with a measured stack temp of 350F. Like buying life insurance, pick your number.

This is also a more accurate source of data for sizing boilers than heat load calculations.
 

Last edited by doughess; 11-22-17 at 09:35 PM.
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