Oil furnace reset switch

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Old 12-01-08, 07:47 AM
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Oil furnace reset switch

I have a 12 year old Weil-McLean oil furnace, which is used for a FHW system. Has been running trouble free since it was new. However, in the last few days, the furnace has shut off. Both emergency switches (one on wall, one on furnace itself) are on. Upon troubleshooting, I found a small red reset switch on the front of the furnace. When I push the reset, the furnace fires right up and runs fine. This happened twice yesterday. What would trigger the reset switch to click off?
 
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Old 12-01-08, 04:52 PM
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Any number of things electrical or oil related can get it to shut down, or not restart, on a regular or sporadic basis, unless everything is in proper working order. They have it that way for safety reasons. For example, you would not want to have a furnace like this allowing raw oil to just keep pouring into the combustion chamber if it can't fire off or fire cleanly.

If you hate to have to pay a pro, and plan to keep the furnace, there might be some course you can take at a tech school or something. A landlord I work for, took such a temporary offered class, and many landlords and maintenance men attended this short course, to learn oil burners.

The fact you can wind up getting yours to start - and if the oil burns cleanly once it goes, let's say, it is possible, in your case, that you might have something as simple as what I had on an oil-to-gas conversion unit - to where I traced wires and current and found this bad dual-thermodisc control for the burner blower and gas valve was faulty. It was like a $10 part only and that fixed it up. I found out this problem when I caught it in the act one day - and I found current leaving the primary controller(that has the reset button, also) on the 2 "burner" terminals, yet no activity in the box where the other end of the wire was, that controlled the 2 said parts (burner blower and gas valve). I too was always able to get it to run again by flicking the restart button.

And since your problem MAY be an electrical glitch, it may be something like an electrode issue where gap is now off some, enough to act up. Or maybe there is carbon on them that is bleeding off the current to ground rather than allowing a good spark every single time. Or maybe there is a cad eye that either is sensing improper burn or is clouded and is just to that point where it may work sometimes, but not others.
 
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Old 12-02-08, 08:06 AM
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Thanks for the info ecman. I am glad I called the service guy. Funny thing is, furnace never acted up before service guy came out a cuople months ago to give it a pre-season service.
 
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Old 12-04-08, 09:49 AM
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Furnace guy came out. Replaced the electrode, and one other thing, can't remember what he called it. And you don't want to know how much it cost.
 
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Old 12-04-08, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chipj29 View Post
furnace guy came out. Replaced the electrode, and one other thing, can't remember what he called it. And you don't want to know how much it cost.
$500?................................
 
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Old 12-08-08, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
$500?................................
Higher....let me put it this way...I wish I had stayed home from work, so the wife wouldn't have had to deal with making that decision. Too much $$, seemed like a rip off. Oh well, too late now...it's only money.
 
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Old 12-22-08, 10:48 AM
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So after all that, this weekend I had trouble with the reset switch again. However, I was working in the garage where the furnace is all day Saturday. I was working on a couple snowmobiles, which included heavy doses of gasoline, carb cleaner and exhaust. Yes, I opened the garage door to vent. But it got me thinking...does the furnace have some kind of sensor to determine if the air is clean enough for it to light? There is no exterior vent.
 
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Old 12-22-08, 11:31 AM
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Air Sensor

There is no air quality or quantity sensor on the burner. I hope the boiler is not sitting directly on the floor. If it is, in addition to it being a code violation it is very dangerous.

BTW, If you end up calling a service company again, I certainly would avoid the one you used before. There is no part on that boiler which would cost over $500.
 
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Old 12-23-08, 06:50 AM
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The boiler sits on cement blocks, less than 6" off the floor. It was installed 11 years ago. I know it is not a code violation, or at least it was not when it was installed, as it was inspected and approved by the town.
 
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Old 12-23-08, 02:47 PM
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Code

Your town may not have chosen to adopt NFPA 31 or maybe only certain parts of it. In either case, that is their option.

NFPA 31 is the generally accepted code for the installation of oil burning equipment & states that the burner shall be at least 18" above the garage floor.
 
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