smelly oil furnace


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Old 01-27-09, 06:42 PM
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smelly oil furnace

i have a forced hot air system. riello burner, kerr furnace.

a week and a half ago we awoke to an oily smell. i called our oil supplier who we have a contract with. the guy opened it up and said everything looked ok and that it was running beautifully. he found where the vent pipe had a 2" gap in it, pushed the pipe into position and secured it with a sheet metal screw. and left.

the fume odor never went away. i noticed that when he had pushed the pipe into position he dislodged it from the furnace exhaust port (since the tech that tuned it up after last season didn't secure it with a screw). i called them back. the second guy pushed the other end of the vent pipe back and secured it with a screw. also put furnace cement around the seam. the fume odor didn't go away.

had them come back today. third guy pulled the system apart. i don't think he had a real good idea of what was wrong with it. he ended up vacuuming out the soot. (there seemed to be a lot). he didn't replace the nozzle saying that it was operating fine. didn't replace the fuel filter. did a "burner setup" he used some instruments to check the temperature of the exhaust, etc. he said if there was a cracked heat exchanger he would be able to pick it up with on of his gadgets.

he left a few hours ago, i need to give it some time to be sure, but i think i still smell it.

If the fumes don't go away, what do i do next??

 
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Old 01-27-09, 07:14 PM
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What model is the furnace and burner. Did the tech give you a sheet with the numbers from the test?
 
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Old 01-27-09, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by pfd27
What model is the furnace and burner. Did the tech give you a sheet with the numbers from the test?
nope, no numbers

the furnace is a k4c, i think the riello is a 40F3
 
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Old 01-27-09, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by gravybt
nope, no numbers

the furnace is a k4c, i think the riello is a 40F3

In my experience with a Kerr Multi and a riello, there should be almost no soot in it unless something isn't working right. Did he open up the cleanout ports or just clean the breech where the smoke pipe hooks on?
 
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Old 01-28-09, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by pfd27
In my experience with a Kerr Multi and a riello, there should be almost no soot in it unless something isn't working right. Did he open up the cleanout ports or just clean the breech where the smoke pipe hooks on?
I'm not sure. he spent a very long time cleaning up soot. I would imagine he got into the cleanout ports, but don't know for sure. The area where the smoke pipe hooks on had a lot of soot that i could see. We were a pretty long way from "almost no soot".

i am pretty sure i can still smell it on start up. once it kicks up smell goes away. 2 weeks ago, the furnace never smelled. my initial thought that was after the cold spell we had maybe the nozzle was partially clogged -- my understanding that even if the shape of the spray changes it could lead to a much messier/smokier start up due to pooling of oil. but he insisted my nozzle was fine.

i have a service contract with them, so i keep calling them back and they keep sending someone else. i'm hoping i end up with someone who can get to the bottom of what's going on.

i guess i don't know what else to try. at what point do i give up on my stupid oil company and get a real technician? how do i find one? last non-oil company guy i had come out put the wrong nozzle on and the system sooted up.
 
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Old 01-28-09, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by gravybt
I'm not sure. he spent a very long time cleaning up soot. I would imagine he got into the cleanout ports, but don't know for sure. The area where the smoke pipe hooks on had a lot of soot that i could see. We were a pretty long way from "almost no soot".

i am pretty sure i can still smell it on start up. once it kicks up smell goes away. 2 weeks ago, the furnace never smelled. my initial thought that was after the cold spell we had maybe the nozzle was partially clogged -- my understanding that even if the shape of the spray changes it could lead to a much messier/smokier start up due to pooling of oil. but he insisted my nozzle was fine.
I can't believe he wouldn't change the nozzle. I'd have him pull the nozzle assembly and check for carbon and proper electrode setup. Might as well replace the nozzle while it's out.

My guess is that they are afraid of Riello burners. Everyone where I work loves them, but there are other companies here that don't like to even touch them.
 
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Old 01-29-09, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by pfd27
I can't believe he wouldn't change the nozzle. I'd have him pull the nozzle assembly and check for carbon and proper electrode setup. Might as well replace the nozzle while it's out.

My guess is that they are afraid of Riello burners. Everyone where I work loves them, but there are other companies here that don't like to even touch them.
Thanks for the advice. I figured he would have changed the nozzle since they're probably a couple bucks each. and was surprised when he told me he had not. I do concur that they seem afraid of the riello. most techs the oil company sends over complain about it.

While I thought i noticed smell on start up for the first several hours after he serviced the burner, I did not detect it yesterday (it's not a smell i'd get used to). I was thinking that I was smelling it too long after he worked on the furnace to discount it as being residual, but if i don't smell it again i won't call. I imagine that it's probably still producing more soot than it should but I think it will work until I get to the end of the heating season, provided the smell doesn't return.

i do pay for a service contract which includes an annual cleaning and servicing. i am wondering if it's worth paying another hundred bucks to have someone competent that doesn't complain about riello burners. With the amount of soot that is generated I'm sure that I would save some money on oil to maybe break even.
 
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Old 01-29-09, 05:13 PM
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Maybe you had some extraordinary atmospheric condition causing temporary backdraft.

You also could have got initial odor on your clothes, and wherever you went, you thought you smelled oil in the air, and were really smelling you.
 
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Old 01-29-09, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51`
Maybe you had some extraordinary atmospheric condition causing temporary backdraft.

You also could have got initial odor on your clothes, and wherever you went, you thought you smelled oil in the air, and were really smelling you.
nah, i'm pretty sure i just caught a wiff of it again. i imagine it's just smoking a lot when it ignites.

i notice our FM is near me.. What's he think of Riello burners?
 
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Old 01-31-09, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by gravybt
nah, i'm pretty sure i just caught a wiff of it again. i imagine it's just smoking a lot when it ignites.

i notice our FM is near me.. What's he think of Riello burners?
It sounds like you may be experiencing delayed ignition to me.
Your best bet is to find someone who knows how to set up a Riello. Sounds easy if you say it fast huh
 
 

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