Smoke Malfunction

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Old 10-08-04, 04:51 AM
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Smoke Malfunction

I have a Forced Air system (Heil) about 6 years old with a power ventor. The furnance does get cleaned every year. This past Saturday was cleaning day again. The guy does his routine for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. On Thursday my wife gets home before me, and based on the time the furnance kicked on about 1/2 hour earlier. The whole house is filled with smelly smoke (no soot) . I call back the heating guys and they come, seems they misssed some carbon on the cone in the furnance. They cleaned it again, and changed the nozzel (again) they said sometimes they get a bad one. The furnance was started again it was still smoking a little due to the wetness in there but it was disapating.

All seems well, until 4AM THIS MORNING. All the hardwired smoke detectors go off, the house again has a layer of smoke up on the ceiling (no soot). Not knowing which breaker it was I had to disconeect all the detectors (9) , to silence the alarms.

They oil company is very reputable and long standing, and I expect to need a tear down of the burner. Do you guys have any ideas what would typically cause this secanario so I can anticipate in advance.

also

1) Does the smell stay in the carpets and drapes, or should I have it shampoo'd

2) after the burner is fixed would you suggest having the duct work cleaned. Its never been cleaned before, the house is 6 year old.

Oh did I mention they accidently overfilled the oil tank, causing a small spill
I suspect the fill pipe has oil in because after they came to clean up the spill (yesterday), this morning there was again some wetness on the floor. And as they left the powder down to absorb the smell on the ground and on the tank it to was wet.
 
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Old 10-08-04, 10:46 AM
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I would ask them to verify proper operation of the fan proving switch that is connected between the powerventer and the safety control. There are more things to go wrong with a powerventer. One is having way too much draft. See if they left you a printout from their combustion tester that shows draft. It should not be over -.10 in. It could be a slow as -.04 in. The rest is basic burner setup stuff. It sounds like a powerventer or draft problem so be sure they explain to you what they found and if they fail to mention the powerventer, ask them to check it again. What brand of burner is on the furnace?

Ken
 
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Old 10-08-04, 04:19 PM
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It ended up being a faulty oil pump. They replaced it and we seem fine.

Now whats the best way to get the odor out ?
 
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Old 10-08-04, 07:28 PM
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I have some doubts about the pump being the source of the trouble but time will tell.

You can try setting some open pans of white vinegar in the area of the spill. Cover the spill with baking soda. Air out everything the best you can with fresh air. Don't bother having the ducts cleaned but DO check and change the air filter often. It would be to your advantage to find a pleated paper filter to use in place of the fiberglass one.

Ken
 
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Old 10-09-04, 07:16 AM
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The burner guys were here Friday morning, the owner, and 3 other mechanics. Supposeidly it went into failure mode while they were testing the unit.

As I do'nt want to have another 4am smoke alarm episode, what would make you suspect it may not be the fuel pump, and what could it be ?
 
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Old 10-09-04, 12:17 PM
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Wink

Im with Ken. I dont think is could be the oil pump. Over fill on the tank dont the tank have a vent alarm on it???

ED
 
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Old 10-09-04, 03:01 PM
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The fuel pump is a gear driven positive displacement pump with a spring operated cutoff. If the gears turn, it will pump oil. Nothing can fail and make it put out more oil than it normally would. To get that much smoke, You either had a lack of combustion air or too much fuel. The too much fuel option is not realistic for an intermottent problem. The lack of combustion air is. Thats why I mentioned the powerventer the other day. If it stops, the combustion air will slow and the smoke will start. Have you used any kind of an exhaust fan or anything that would compete with the burner for air? That can cause a smoke problem too.

I don't know what failure mode would be but there are several tests that can be performed on a fuel pump. Hopefully it failed one of those tests before they replaced it.

Ken
 
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Old 10-09-04, 05:34 PM
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The oil over-fill does have the vent alarm next to the fill pipe. The tank was filled near then end of the heating season (early April). I think the oil co. though that I heat my water with oil, I don't so the tank was still pretty full. The driver probably started pumping, thought I'd be taking more oil and probably stepped back or got distracted.

What are the ways a Power Ventor can (intermitantly ?) fail, yet not shut down the burner as the burner and ventor are supposed to prove to each other.
 
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Old 10-10-04, 06:05 AM
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I suggested the checkout of the fan prover and I hope your service people did the test. All that is required is to disconnect the air tube and see how long it takes to lock out. The blower wheel must be clean and the motor must spin freely. If it slows down because of friction or binding due to heat, it will reduce the combustion air and cause the smoke. If it stops completely and the burner doesn't lock out in 15 seconds, you will have smoke in the basement.

Ken
 
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Old 10-10-04, 08:02 AM
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They did disconnect the tube and the system did shut down this was actually at the cleaning before it all happened. The tube did have a little dust or whatever in it.

I did pull the owners manual on the power ventor, it suggests oilng once a year at the two ports with 20 weight oil and cleaning the wheel and inspecting it for round. I know they did not pull the ventor, as for oiling I can't say

I think I'll do the above, it seems very simple from the manual. What is the best way to clean the wheel, degreaser on a rag ?


Also I did recently remodel my basement and closed in the furnance room. Its about 11 * 9. I enstalled a louvered door for ventalation. Could it be an air issue ?

Could any of the above be related to not getting #1 or 2 home heating oil, but some other industrial grade ?

Thanks for all you replies so far.
 
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Old 10-11-04, 09:38 AM
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Looks like you guys were right. (Hats off to the Forum, repeatidly you guys are right on many issues) Had problems again (no smoke thankfully).
They came spent time with the meter and the poweveter really proving the circuit, and it looks to be the switch at the venter. She'll come on and drop off, and come on again and then the re-set will trip if she goes into off mode to long.

Things are begining to make sense as to why I recently got a periodic oil smell and such.

As its Coloumbus Day, no new switch till at least tommorrow.
Should I pay for the "faulty" fuel pump ?
 
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Old 10-11-04, 11:53 AM
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Wink

Could any of the above be related to not getting #1 or 2 home heating oil, but some other industrial grade ?
Your Gun there burns # 1#2 or a #3 if you can find it.But what you asked would be a #5 now that is just about like road tar and no you cant burn that.

ED
 
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