Oil burner rookie, ignition problems


  #1  
Old 03-15-06, 05:28 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oil burner rookie, ignition problems

I have a Beckett AFG oil burner and it is giving me a fit. It all started about 2.5 weeks ago. The burner reset itself and I could only get it to light by lifting the ignitor box hitting the reset button and then putting the ignitor back in place. Doing this, it would fire up and run until the thermostat turned it off and when it tried to turn back on it wouldn't light and kick the reset. So I pulled out the nozzle and cleaned it with WD-40 and put it back together and all was well for 2 weeks.

Then it started doing the same thing again last week, so I pulled out the nozzle to clean it but it didn't appear dirty. I took the brass filter off and the spinner out and made sure the hole was clear and everything was clean but it didn't work. Then I changed the secondary inline filter which was pretty dirty and it made no difference. So then I pulled the filter out and cleaned out the filter housing entirely put it all back together and it seemed to work. It ran fine the rest of that night but in the morning I was right back where I started.

My next step was to clean the filter/screen that is on the pump. It was pretty caked with black gunk so I sprayed it clean with WD-40 and re installed it. After this the furnace ran fine for a little while but then it kicked the reset again and I was back to lighting it using the 'lift the ignitor box method.'

I had a guy look at it today and he said it wasn't the correct nozzle for the furnace so he changed the nozzle and it lit up for him. He tested it by adjusting the thermostat and declared it fixed. Well when I got home from work, it had kicked the reset again.

So here I sit in a semi-warm house only because of the 'lift the ignitor method.'

Here are a few other details.

I just got a load of fuel on 3/8 but it was warm here from that day until monday 3/13 so the furnace wasn't needed to keep the house warm until then and I'm not exactly sure which day the problem started. Probably the day I got the fuel.

There is another in-line filter on the line but it is outside on the tank. I took a look at it and it looks terrible but I didn't replace it because it looked like a different kind of filter. I am going to replace it with the same kind of filter I replaced the one inside with.

I guess this all points to me having gotten a load of dirty fuel. So it seems when this happens I should:

Change the inline filters
Clean/Change the pump screen
Bleed the lines
Change the nozzle

Am I on the right track here? Will just cleaning the nozzle get me by? I am very tired of waking up in a sub 50F house.

I really appreciate any help I can get on this.
 
  #2  
Old 03-15-06, 06:08 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 14,401
Received 38 Likes on 36 Posts
Fuel system

Jose,
By all means change both filters & the pump screen. Before you put the new nozzle in, bleed the air from the system then flush at least a pint (more is better) of fuel thru the pump & nozzle assembly (without the nozzle installed). You can flush it into a coffee can or any other container of your choice. After the system is well flushed, install the new nozzle.
I doubt you actually got dirty fuel but rather the force of the delivery (+/- 75 gal./min.) stirred up junk in the tank.
 
  #3  
Old 03-16-06, 05:22 AM
U
Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NEWARK NJ
Posts: 27
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One of options you may want to consider is to have your tank cleaned. It may never have been cleaned and the recent delivery probably entrained some tank bottoms into the fuel. Here in this area a tank cleaning for a 550 or 1K UST is about $300 (less for a smaller BST or AST) plus disposal fees which is currently about 65 cents per gallon. The company would arrive with a tanker/vacuum truck that has two compartments. They stick the tank and determine how much product is in it as well as how much contamination. They'll also use dye to check for water and other incompatible contaminates. Then they will use a wand and a hose and vac out the good product, of course leaving a buffer of a few inches. That good product will be kept in the clean compartment of the tanker/vac truck. Then they will vac out the contamination and tank bottom. That will go into the other compartment of the tanker/vac away from your good oil. Then they'll insert a camera and a light and look at the inside of the tank. They may flush it with some of your good oil and vac again it again until it's clean. Then they'll return your good oil to the clean tank. You'll be charged about $300 plus about 65 cents disposal fees for whatever contamination they remove if the tank in question is a 550 or 1K UST (Underground Storage Tank). It's less if the tank is smaller or a BST (Basement Storage Tank) or AST (Abover Ground Storage Tank) because access to the inside of the tank is easier and cleaning is faster also requiring a smaller tanker/vactruck. Oil heat is two part; 1) boiler, 2) tank. Tanks get dirty, often leak and fuel can become contaminated. Tanks are usually overlooked as a source of problems like yours, after all filters have limits. USTguy
 
  #4  
Old 03-16-06, 05:42 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I changed the filter on the tank last night and flushed about a quart and a half of fuel through the system. I did not change the nozzle because I did not have a new nozzle to put in. I got it to ignite and it ran for about 3 hours before it kicked the reset. I was in bed at this point but I heard it. This morning it ignited again when I did the ignitor box thing. So here is a summary of what happened

1. Load of fuel was delivered
2. Furnace stopped working
3. Changed the secondary inline fuel filter
4. Cleaned the pump screen
5. The nozzle was changed
6. Changed the primary inline fuel filter
7. Flushed 1.5 quarts through the system

These steps were not all done at the same time and the burner was run in between all but 6 and 7.

It seems judging from other things I've read that I should change the nozzle now that I've changed the filters and flushed the system. Or should I change the filters, flush the system and then install a new nozzle?

The nozzle looks perfectly clean to me, are they really this flakey?
 
  #5  
Old 03-16-06, 07:43 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by USTguy
One of options you may want to consider is to have your tank cleaned. It may never have been cleaned and the recent delivery probably entrained some tank bottoms into the fuel. Here in this area a tank cleaning for a 550 or 1K UST is about $300 (less for a smaller BST or AST) plus disposal fees which is currently about 65 cents per gallon. The company would arrive with a tanker/vacuum truck that has two compartments. They stick the tank and determine how much product is in it as well as how much contamination. They'll also use dye to check for water and other incompatible contaminates. Then they will use a wand and a hose and vac out the good product, of course leaving a buffer of a few inches. That good product will be kept in the clean compartment of the tanker/vac truck. Then they will vac out the contamination and tank bottom. That will go into the other compartment of the tanker/vac away from your good oil. Then they'll insert a camera and a light and look at the inside of the tank. They may flush it with some of your good oil and vac again it again until it's clean. Then they'll return your good oil to the clean tank. You'll be charged about $300 plus about 65 cents disposal fees for whatever contamination they remove if the tank in question is a 550 or 1K UST (Underground Storage Tank). It's less if the tank is smaller or a BST (Basement Storage Tank) or AST (Abover Ground Storage Tank) because access to the inside of the tank is easier and cleaning is faster also requiring a smaller tanker/vactruck. Oil heat is two part; 1) boiler, 2) tank. Tanks get dirty, often leak and fuel can become contaminated. Tanks are usually overlooked as a source of problems like yours, after all filters have limits. USTguy

Thanks for the advice USTguy but that is out of the question. The reason is that I am renting this place and it is not my tank or furnace. I notified about my landlord who drug his feet about it for 2 days then sent his maintenance guy down to look at it. He is the one who changed the nozzle and he also reset the electrode gap. I have always set the electrodes at 1/8" apart, 1/4" ahead of the nozzle. I didn't measure where he had them but it was significantly more than 1/4" ahead of the nozzle, I would estimate around 3/4" - 1". He also had them closer than 1/8" apart but it did run. So maybe he knows what he's doing.

EDIT:
A few other details.. Right now the burner has a Danfoss 0.65 GPH, 70 degree, AH nozzle. I just read through this http://www.delavaninc.com/pdf/total_look.pdf and it seems that 0.65 GPH is super tiny and easily contaminated/clogged. I am going to pick a few nozzles up today with slightly higher flow and see if they work better.
 

Last edited by Jose P Adams; 03-16-06 at 09:14 AM.
  #6  
Old 03-16-06, 12:27 PM
U
Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NEWARK NJ
Posts: 27
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If I were you I would have a boiler tech do a "draw" (take a sample) on that delivery. Your problems started 2 1/2 weeks ago AFTER the load was delivered. It's very possibly the culprit and can be tested. Here the test is $45 and in 24 hours (if you have a fax) you'll have the lab results you'll know if the fuel delivered to you was fresh, reclaimed, dirty and/or up to par. You don't show what state you live in, some states allow the resale of reclaimed oil and do not require telling the customer .... for example; lets say I remove a UST because the client has converted to gas and I pull 300 gallons of 'good' oil out prior to removal. I charge him 85 cents per gallon to haul it away ... but I store it in tanks at my shop and will sometime resell it in the future at or lower than the regular rack price. I however let the customer know it's reclaimed; not everyone else does or has to. Me, I'd do a draw and run a test, and if it's NG I'd have the delivery company pump it out.
 
  #7  
Old 03-16-06, 01:33 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am in Pennsylvania.
 
  #8  
Old 03-16-06, 03:36 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just picked up a new nozzle today, it is a 0.75(spec for the furnace) 70 degrees, A. I took out the old one and flushed the system for about a half gallon. I very carefully installed the new one and it lit all by itself. So at this point I have changed every filter or screen that I know of in the system and put the appropriate nozzle on after a full system flush.

Lets hope this does the trick. This thing just has to get me through til the warm weather hits as I'm moving out of here before next winter.
 
  #9  
Old 03-16-06, 06:26 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 14,401
Received 38 Likes on 36 Posts
Nozzle

I don't doubt the burner fired up right away. You have increase the fuel by aprox. 15% without changing the amount of air. This amounts to running an engine with the choke partially on. It is entirely possible the heater could very soon become plugged with soot. You have crossed into technican's realm. Anyone without the proper test equipment should not make changes to the combustion system. It is time to call in a pro well versed in oil burning equipment. If he/she does not have combustion analysis equipment, tell him/her you would rather have a professional working on your equipment & ask that servicer to leave. What make & model is the heater?
 
  #10  
Old 03-16-06, 07:12 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It is a Beckett AFG Series burner. It is marked in 2 places that it is designed for a 0.75 gph nozzle. The guy who put the 0.65 nozzle in was not a qualified technician he was one of the landlord's maintenace guys. He also set the electrodes about 3/4" ahead of the nozzle, which, based on everything I've read is not right. I could barely get the nozzle unit out because electrodes stuck out so far.

I set the electrodes up based on the numbers in the charts from the Delvan link I posted earlier and put the right size nozzle in it based on the label on the furnace. So I didn't change the combustion system, the maintenance guy did and he proved that he not all that knowledgable.

I will check the condition of the nozzle to see if there is any noticable soot build up.
 
  #11  
Old 03-16-06, 07:35 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 14,401
Received 38 Likes on 36 Posts
Jose

I don't mean to sound as if I'm beating you up. I just want this equipment running properly, which means safely.

Often, equipment is specified for an input of .75 & has a .65 nozzle installed with the pump pressure increased to 125 -130 psig. If you did not check the pump pressure, you have no way to know at what it is set. If the pressure is at 125-130, & you put in a .75 nozzle, the actual flow rate of the nozzle is about .85 & the heater is overfired. The nozzle itself will not likely show any signs of soot until the heater is completely plugged.
Especially, with this being a rental you should not be working on it. You are putting your safety & the owners property in jeopardy.

That being said, I am closing this thread.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: