My Burnham boiler stops working at night.

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Old 01-24-10, 11:36 AM
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My Burnham boiler stops working at night.

Hello all,

I am new to the forum and have been checking it out for some time before I registered. There are so many useful topics on here.

Now for my problem... I have a Burnham Boiler, a V-13A with a Beckett Burner. Believe it or not it is giving me problems. lol. It is older and is in a dirt floor basement that gets water from time to time and is damp down there. (I'll be working on fixing that this summer.) The oil boiler won't turn on from time to time and usually I can go downstairs into the basement and hit the reset and it will start up. Sometimes it will run for a week with no problems and sometimes just for the day. It almost always seems to quit running when it hits the late night time hours, like when we are going to bed or are in bed. (Ironic right?)

Anyway, last night I awoke at about 2:00 a.m. to use the bathroom and noticed that it was particularly chilly upstairs, so of course I knew what had happened. I went into the basement to hit the reset switch and this time it would not turn on. I tried and tried and tried and nothing happened. I tried bleeding the line, turning off and on the breaker, all that i could with the limited resources I had and nothing. A few times the fan/blower would kick on for a few seconds, but it would not ignite. Now, the red ind. light was on on the burner and there was a buzzing coming from the Honeywell aquastat. Most likely the step down transformer. (I'm guessing) Now I have had a local HVAC guy here twice in the last month and the first time I told him this was happening, of course the boiler seemed to work fine. Well, he changed the filter and the nozzle and was here for all of 10 minutes and I was charged $150.00. It worked until that night. Well I called the company and told them about it and said that i wasn't going to pay another $140.00 for a service call (the parts were $10.00) when he hadn't fixed it. He came back like 2 days later and never told me what he did because I was at work when he came to the house (my wife was at the house, i went downstairs and the cover was off of the aquastat so, i guess he was tinkering in there) and it worked for like 3 weeks so i assumed all was well until we woke up Saturday morning and it was off again. My wife went downstairs before she left for work and hit the reset and sure enough it worked all day until 2:00 a.m. this morning when i tried to do the same thing and it would not work. Now i had to go to bed knowing i couldn't get it to work. Well we got up this morning, and she went down and turned the breaker back on and hit the reset and it started up.

I am so confused as to why it would selectively work? It will almost certainly work all day as this seems to be the norm and then quit tonight. The aquastat was changed last year, as well as the box on top of the burner with the red indicator light. (sorry I'm not sure what it is) Now, could it be the aquastat again? Or maybe the thermostat?I have been searching the web and have seen other people with similar stories and one said his was the thermostat. Loose wire on another from the thermostat to the aquastat.

My thermostat is a older Honeywell, the rotary kind, mercury switch inside, i believe. My home is about 100-105 years old and there is only one zone downstairs which covers all the rooms and one radiator in the upstairs bathroom. There is no radiators in the upstairs bedrooms, we use electric baseboard in those 2. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to put all the info in that I could.

P.S. I bought a Harman Trident SF-260 a week ago to run in tandem with this boiler so that i never have to use the oil boiler again. lol. I'm sure i'll be posting to the forum for how to hook it up with the existing boiler in the near future. Right now it is just sitting in the basement not connected.

Thanks
 
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Old 01-24-10, 12:15 PM
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Intermittent Resetting

With the parts only being $10, I suspect the service person replaced the nozzle & filter (maybe just the nozzle). One of the most common causes for the problem you describe is a weak ignition transformer (black box on top of the burner). Sometime while the burner is running, shut it off for about 5 minutes then restart it. Promptly look at the flame & make mental note of how it looks. The next time it has to be reset, again look at the flame. If it looks more orange or larger, chances are the problem is the transformer or electrode adjustment.
 
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Old 01-24-10, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady View Post
With the parts only being $10, I suspect the service person replaced the nozzle & filter (maybe just the nozzle). One of the most common causes for the problem you describe is a weak ignition transformer (black box on top of the burner). Sometime while the burner is running, shut it off for about 5 minutes then restart it. Promptly look at the flame & make mental note of how it looks. The next time it has to be reset, again look at the flame. If it looks more orange or larger, chances are the problem is the transformer or electrode adjustment.
Thanks, I'll give this a try because I'm sure this is going to happen again tonight. If it does happen to be the transformer, any idea how much they cost to replace and where they can be purchased like Lowes maybe? Also, would this make my aquastat buzz like it is? Maybe because it is trying to turn on and can't because of the transformer on the burner?

Thanks again
 
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Old 01-24-10, 02:00 PM
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Aquastat

The buzzing isn't uncommon. If you smack it on the side, the buzzing will likely stop. Around here, Lowe's & other big box stores don't carry oil burner parts. I suggest trying a plumbing supply store or if you can wait a day or two: Patriot Supply - RV-C100

The above transformer fits Beckett models A, AF, & AFG. If by some chance you have a model 'S' burner, you will need this one:
Patriot Supply - 2275-605
 
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Old 01-24-10, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady View Post
The buzzing isn't uncommon. If you smack it on the side, the buzzing will likely stop. Around here, Lowe's & other big box stores don't carry oil burner parts. I suggest trying a plumbing supply store or if you can wait a day or two: Patriot Supply - RV-C100

The above transformer fits Beckett models A, AF, & AFG. If by some chance you have a model 'S' burner, you will need this one:
Patriot Supply - 2275-605
My burner is a Beckett AFG model MP-1192. So the top transformer will work?
 

Last edited by jaimz23; 01-24-10 at 02:40 PM. Reason: Adding a picture
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Old 01-24-10, 02:46 PM
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Transformer

Yes, for an AFG use the first link. You might also want to get a couple of spare nozzles, filter elements, & pump screens. If you let me know the model of the fuel pump & filter, I'll look them up for you.
BTW, I have no affiliation with Patriot nor have I personally used them but have read here comments from numerous people who have & all were happy with the prices & service.
 
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Old 01-24-10, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady View Post
Yes, for an AFG use the first link. You might also want to get a couple of spare nozzles, filter elements, & pump screens. If you let me know the model of the fuel pump & filter, I'll look them up for you.
BTW, I have no affiliation with Patriot nor have I personally used them but have read here comments from numerous people who have & all were happy with the prices & service.
I don't know the model of the fuel pump or filter or how exactly to find the numbers??
 
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Old 01-24-10, 04:28 PM
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Model Numbers

The number of the fuel pump should be on the face of the pump cover (most commonly A2VA-7116) & that of the filter should be either on the filter can or cast into the top. As far as the correct nozzle, I would need the complete model # of the boiler.
 
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