Oil Furnace Problem


  #1  
Old 03-20-07, 07:56 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New England
Posts: 48
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Oil Furnace Problem

I just had my Weil McClain boiler replaced with a new one (WGO-4). I also have a Weil McLain QB180 burner from the previous boiler. When the boiler was replaced, the normal cleaning was done on the burner, e.g. filters and nozzle.

Most of the time, when the thermostats call for heat, the burner fires okay. But randomly when it fires, the first second is a bit louder than the normal burner fire.

What might cause this occasional lounder sound when the burner fires?

Should I be concerned about this random louder burner firing?

The nozzle cam and attenuating air band setting are set according to the service manual. The tech did adjust the electrode settings. However, I am not sure if they are the same as in the service manual.

If the electrode settings are off, could this be the cause? Or could it be something else?

Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 03-20-07, 06:14 PM
KField's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 3,015
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
You'll never make that boiler 'quiet'. The air band and shutter specs are a starting point. The final combustion adjustment needs to be done with test instruments. That could be part of the problem too.

Ken
 
  #3  
Old 03-20-07, 07:08 PM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 424
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
kfield is right. Most manuals say that final adjustments should be done with testing equipment and not to use the suggested settings as a final setting. You arn't the only one that is louder the first few seconds.

Does it smoke, rumble or anything when it turns on or is it just plain louder?
 
  #4  
Old 03-23-07, 06:53 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New England
Posts: 48
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Follow-up

RE: Does it smoke, rumble or anything when it turns on or is it just plain louder?

No smoke or rumble; just plain louder. 8 out of 10 times when the burner fires it sounds okay. It is the infrequent 2 out of 10 times when it sounds louder.

The oil company did the usual smoke test, etc. after their set-up. However, in the 10 years I have had this boiler and burner, I have never seen them make an adjustment based on their calculations. They determine a boiler effeciency (always around 83 - 85%), right up a tag, and leave.

I do not mind the occasional louder burner fire as long as this is not a problem or going to cause a problem in the future.

Comments?

Thanks again!
 
  #5  
Old 03-31-07, 04:00 AM
M
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
5 year old rumbling beckett

I just had 2 service technicians in 3 days. First was routine contract tune-up, after his visit the furnace had a sustained very loud rumble when burning fuel, the damper puffed and jiggled, and the faint odor of moist exhaust was present.

The 2nd tech readjusted the air intake and made the unit slightly quieter, but it is still much louder than before.

The same sort of thing happened one year ago when I was told the problem was that someone had set the fuel pump pressure way too high.

Does that sound reasonable? Is it possible that sludgy fuel makes the nozzle spray so uneven that flame jumps and roars?
 
  #6  
Old 03-31-07, 03:15 PM
KField's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 3,015
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
The burner needs to be adjusted properly before it will work properly. There should be some evidence that it was adjusted with test equipment. If not, your guess is as good as mine about how efficient it is and whether it is working correctly. Possibly you could check your paperwork that the tech gave you to verify a CO2 of at least 10.5 and smoke of O. If there is no evidence of a test, you could call them and ask what the results were. Maybe they keep it a secret. Or maybe they didn't test at all. You deserve to know because if they 'eyeballed' the adjustment and reduced your efficiency by 5%, it is going to cost you 5% more to heat your house for the next year. That's why it's not a joke to insist on seeing the results of a flue gas test. I have probably $5,000 worth of testing equipment for 4 service trucks and not because I like spending money but because customers deserve the best setup we can give them. Anybody can make some noise, run the vacuum, come out of the basement with dirt on their nose, and give you a bill, but only a professional tech can hand you a printout from a combustion analyzer with the efficiency right on it. He would also know what to look for on that printout to know if your system will perform the way it should for the rest of the year. I think someone owes you some answers.

Ken
 
  #7  
Old 03-31-07, 05:01 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 12,682
Received 41 Upvotes on 39 Posts
Combustion analysis

Ken nailed it. Way too many in our trade have either learned incorrectly or have decided either their eye is as good as instrumentation or are just too lazy to do the job right. This is one major thing which separates the run of the mill service person from a true professional technician.
 
  #8  
Old 03-31-07, 07:41 PM
M
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Here is data from my receipt

Beckett AFG

gross stack temp. 525F
net stack temp. 450F
CO2 12%
smoke 0
breech draft .04
overfire .02
efficiency 83%

nozzle size .75
angle 70 degrees
spray B

It was great for 4 years, then some tech jacked up the oil pressure (I was told) and it rumbled and puffed and smelled. Then another tech settled it back down and it was fine for the last 12 months. Days ago a tech tuned it and then I was back to rumbling and puffing. Yesterday a second tech "had to set the nozzle assembly and electrode with the Beckett Z gauge and took a smoke test and had to adjust the air and got the smoke from 03 to 01."

When I got home from work I noticed that the rumble was still there. When I peeked in one of the steel flap peep holes bits of soot and sparks puffed out at me.

I am thinking that that isn't right, as well as the loud rumble.

How do I communicate to my oil company that I want a quieter furnace? Is this a matter of adjustment? Or is it a matter of a different nozzle? Or is it again the fuel pump? Can they go bad?
 
  #9  
Old 03-31-07, 07:51 PM
KField's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 3,015
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Is the test result hand written or is it a print out from an analyzer? Were the results you posted from the last visit or the one a few days ago. The B nozzle is usually a little louder than the A nozzle but it is more important to use the one called for by the manufacturer. What is the make and model of your furnace? The results you posted are almost too perfect to be from a unit having the problems yours is and I would hope that they were true numbers from a recent test. I'm not doubting or second guessing your tech but it is hard to get numbers like that and still have problems.

Ken
 
  #10  
Old 04-01-07, 06:51 AM
M
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
My Bryant 369AAN with a Beckett AFG

The results were, and always are, hand written. From installation in 2001 until 3/2/2005 everything was fine. Then after routine service tune-up I get the loud operation (rumble in the forebox) and the jerking puffing smelly damper door. The damper flap vibrated in pulses, like a shudder, when the deep rumbles happen. The rumbles happen intermittently about every few seconds, sometimes 2 per second, sometimes not for a full second.

A week later, and several phone calls where the company tried to make sure I wasn't just making it up, another tech came out and tested including the pump pressure. He said everything tested fine and that I must have a chimney blockage. After he left I ran a burlap-wrapped brick down the flue and it was totally clear.

A week later yet another tech came out and fixed the rumble. He said he reckoned it was that the pump had been set to 145 psi instead of 100 psi. By the way, every service record shows consistent use of .75 70-degree B nozzles.

So everything was fine between that visit and a week ago when, after routine cleaning and adjusting, the rumble and the damper puffing/smelling returned.

The test results have always been within the same basic range 80 to 85 efficiency (except for one 77.5% when the rumble issue first started). Actually, I also notice that when the problem first started the stack temp was 600 F instead of the 450 F from other checks when things were fine.

Sorry to write so much but I just find it hard to believe that a fairly new unit that ran so nicely for years would "suddenly" have such noisy and smelly performance issues.

I can't imagine what the problem could be other than the nozzle, the electrodes, or the fuel pump.

Should I pay another tech from another company to come and look at it? I don't want to do that but I feel like I might need another opinion.
 
  #11  
Old 04-01-07, 07:08 AM
M
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
On a slightly different "angle"

The Legacy unit that I have features the .65 alternate setting. I assume with different pressures and nozzles, but if it were to be hollow spray as opposed to solid would that make for quieter operation? Anyway, I have a very small house like the kind of twin "we" are used to here in Eastern PA (I used to live up in the Lehigh Walley by the way, now an hour south). Stucco 18 feet by 35 feet, 2 floors (attic and basement unheated).

Would that alternative set up make for less noise? Would I use less or more fuel? Can I ask the service company to please make the switch for me?

The house warms up in 2 minutes, literally. Would going from 85,000 BTUs to 74,000 make such a difference is a small house like mine?

And thanks for the help by the way.
 
  #12  
Old 04-01-07, 07:48 AM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 12,682
Received 41 Upvotes on 39 Posts
Beckett 'Z' Gauge, etc.

After several bad experiences with that tool, I threw mine away. I found it to be off by 1/8" or more. If I have any reason to question the 'Z' dimension setting, I either pull the burner or open the boiler door to gain access to the end of the burner.
The sparks indicate back pressure & a possible dirty heater. If that burner was producing a #3 smoke, you can bet it needs brushing out.

Mrsnooks,
The thread was started by jbs3 who has a Weil-McLain WGO-4 boiler. Do you have the same boiler? If not, please provide a make & model of your equipment.
 
  #13  
Old 04-01-07, 12:04 PM
M
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Bryant Legacy 369AA heater with a Beckett AFG burner. The sparks are probably just normal or an annoying thing for a homeowner (me) to see the day after routine brushing out and vacuuming.

It is the rumbling and pulsating that have me concerned, as well as the damper shuddering and the odor of diesel exhaust that hadn't been here since this same problem was solved 18 months ago, and when a service guy came and went a few days ago.

The equipment is only 5 years old and I feel like it shouldn't be so rough running.

Sorry for hijacking this thread (if that's what I did) I am kind of new at this forum thing.
 
  #14  
Old 04-01-07, 12:19 PM
KField's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 3,015
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
If the unit is fired at the maximum, or possibly over, you will have the rumbling. There is actually too much air for the fuel. I would recommend trying the smaller nozzle. Make sure the pump pressure is set to manufacturer specs. and set the burner up again with instruments. I would expect things to settle down. Let us know how things work out after the next checkup.

Ken
 
  #15  
Old 04-01-07, 02:24 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 12,682
Received 41 Upvotes on 39 Posts
mrsnooks

No problem. Often we have 2 or more posters with the same problem(s) & different equipment or the same equipment with different problems. Without knowing the particulars of each posters equipment it sometimes leads to confusion on one end or the other. Now that we know what we are dealing with it will be easier for us to help you.

I could not find your furnace in Beckett's online data base. Do you have the original installation & operation manual? Sometimes on the burner or furnace there will be a sticker stating the correct nozzle & pump pressure.
 
  #16  
Old 04-12-07, 06:54 AM
E
Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Beckett Rumblings

I'm not a furnace tech, but I do have a background in aircraft mechanics, so I do know the business end of a screwdriver. What I do know about the Beckett AFG is what I've learned from mine (on a Peerless Boiler), word of mouth, and gold mines of info, like this forum. From what I've learned, some noise is not uncommon in retention head burners. LOUD noise isn't. Loud, as in you always know when your furnace is running... or is that the shuttle lifting off? The two things that I've experienced that can contribute to excessive noise is carbon build-up on the flame retention ring and water in the fuel filter. Carbon can accumulate on the flame retention ring if the nozzle is set back too far. It must be set to the "Z" dimension indicated in your owner's manual. Lastly, at least in my case, water accumulation in my oil filter was causing my furnace to "hiccup". This would cause rumbles, the dampener to rattle, puff back, etc. I have an underground tank and I've heard they are prone to condensation build up. This condensation ultimately winds up in the filter. When the filter gets saturated it then passes the water on to the burner causing the problems. It sounds to me like you, mrsnooks, may have "water in the fuel" issues. It seems that after the furnace is serviced, possibly because of a fresh fuel filter, it runs fine. I think your problems might be returning when your filter loads up with moisture again. If you have an above ground tank with a tap on the bottom, it's easy enough to check for and drain water. An underground tank can be checked for water with a dipstick and water indicator paste applied to the end of it. Water can be removed with a hand pump with a tube that extends to the bottom of the tank. At the very best, I'm an oil burner novice, but hopefully this may help put an end to some of your frustration.
 
  #17  
Old 04-13-07, 05:40 AM
KField's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 3,015
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
A great deal of noise that is attributed to a particular brand of boiler or furnace is usually due to its design. A combustion chamber eliminated more noise than you would imagine but not all manufacturers use them. Weil McLain uses a target wall and some others like New Yorker don't even do that. A flame retention burner can do wonders firing out in the open but there is nothing like a combustion chamber to control the atmosphere around the fire. Erniemoe is also correct about the water. Although it isn't the water in the filter you have to worry about. It's the water in the nozzle. But unless you have a water separator, it doesn't take much water to foul up the nozzle and spray pattern. I think a high density fuel filter should be standard equipment on all equipment firing at or under a rate of 1.00 gph. It is on our installations and works out well. Stray droplets of oil are what builds up the layers of carbon on the retention head. If the nozzle and fuel are clean and burner adjustment is correct, all of those problems go away. But the noise will continue.

Ken
 
 

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