Carrier forced hot air oil heater not going on automatically

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Old 05-03-10, 08:16 PM
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Carrier forced hot air oil heater not going on automatically

I have a Carrier residential forced hot air oil heater, about 12yrs old.

It has not been going on unless I push a red button on the motor to start it manually. Now, it has gotten to the point where I have to keep pressing the red button at least 3 times before it will stay on.

Does anyone have any idea why this is happening?

Also, when I press the red button, sometimes I see a little white smoke come out of the damper by the heater instead of going up the chimney. I was wondering whether this is a problem with the motor or whether there is an obstruction up in the chimney.

Finally, I've also seen black flakes (creosote?) on the floor. I'm not sure if any of this is related to the motor not working properly, or not.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
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Old 05-04-10, 06:00 PM
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Can you look inside the barometric damper and have a clean site to see if the pipe at the junction where it goes vertical is clear? And/or open up a clean-out at the base of the chimney, and look up inside it with a mirror? Can you make the basement dark, by say covering basement windows, and when light is out, this can help you with your assessment.

Check to see if you have backdrafting issues on some kind of regular basis. You know, like if the barometric damper is being pinned shut, or lighting incense blows back at you rather than up the chimeny. This can sometimes lead to carbon build up on the electrodes creating an even more viscous cycle of the furnace not burning correctly, if the spark gets bled away from the electrodes.

Do you know if when you turn on the furnace, that a combustion blower first runs a few seconds prior to ignition, or not?
 
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Old 05-04-10, 07:51 PM
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12 year old Carrier

When was the last time the furnace was professionally cleaned & tuned? You could have any or several of many possible problems ranging from a fouled nozzle to a weak ignition transformer or bad pump. If you aren't familiar with oil burners I suggest calling a pro.
 
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Old 05-05-10, 10:33 AM
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Carrier Oil Heater

The oil heater was serviced in January 2010 (filters and nozzel) after I was getting a significant amount of black flakes/creosote coming out of the heater and damper. Also, the service man did a good job correcting most of the soot problem.

At that time having to push the red button only happened one time and the heater stayed on. He said maybe it wouldn't happen again. However, every day lately I have had a problem with the heater not going on and then having to push the red button on the motor to turn it on, but then in 5 minutes it goes off and I have to press the red button again and sometimes a third time before it stays on.

I removed the flue pipe this morning after covering the window in the heater room so it was pitch dark. I reached in the chimney flue with a mirror and could not see any light coming from the top of the chimney. Either I didn't have the mirror angled correctly or something was blocking the inside of the chimney. Is there any way I can push something up the chimney from inside the house to free an obstruction. I tried the poles and brush I use to clean my woodstove flue but they won't bend enough to go up the flue. Thanks
 
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Old 05-05-10, 06:48 PM
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Are you accesing right at the vertical flue? - yet you see no light, even though you have it dark in the room? Even if there is a cap and offset, I think you should still see some light(if light enough out) - even without a mirror.

Can you tell if you have any kind of draft at the open flue? You could dangle toilet paper in front of it to see if you have anything. And if there is a breeze or wind outside, it could even pull stronger.

Does your flue exit a one or two story house, as far as you approaching this from the top down? It might be good to get a handle on the situation up top, anyway, regarding all that is up there, and the condition of things/nests, etc..
 
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Old 05-06-10, 07:52 AM
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Carrier Oil Heater

Flue exits 3 stories up and about 6 to 8ft away from roof ridge with a 12 over 12 (45 degree) pitch roof. Therefore, it would be difficult but not impossible to get to. However, since I'm in my 60's I would prefer to work from the basement if possible. I got up on the roof ridge the other day but could not get over to the chimney.

Took off the flue pipes again this morning and held a tissue paper in front of the flue as you suggested and the air pulled the paper into the flue with a breeze outside. Also put the mirror back in with the room dark and still could not see "any" light coming down from above.

Before I call someone out I would still like to run something up the flue to make sure there is not a partial obstruction that is affecting the furnace and causing the puff of white smoke when it goes on. Any suggestions for a flexible rod material to make the 90 degree turn into the flue would be appreciated. Thanks
 
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Old 05-06-10, 04:44 PM
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Well, at least you have some draft. Your furnace problem then may not be related to the flue.

But if you want to check out the flue, do you have the horizontal flue pipe off right where it enters the vertical chimney? Is that hole say 6 or 8 inch pipe size? And once in the chimney, is the chimney lined?, or have flue pipe in it? Or is it plain brick and mortar?
 
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Old 05-07-10, 05:59 AM
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Carrier Oil Heater

I have 8 inch round stove pipe going horizontially through a concrete cellar wall block into the chimney flue which is also about 8 inches wide by about 6 to 8 inches deep. The flue seems to go straight up initially but may go off on a angle further up. The flue is teracota pipe all the way to the top (no lining). Thanks again.
 
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Old 05-07-10, 05:47 PM
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The terracota flue pipe IS the liner. If it had no liner it be only brick and mortar.
 
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Old 05-08-10, 06:27 PM
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Professional Service

Since the service was done in mid-winter, do I presume correctly that it was in response to a touble call rather than routine maintenance? If the heater was cleaned it should also have been tested to ensure it was running properly. This testing would be done with instruments not by eye. If no instruments were used, I suggest calling another service company or at least the service manager of your current company to ask "why".
 
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Old 05-09-10, 12:38 PM
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Carrier Oil Heater

The service call in mid winter was because of all the soot that was coming out of the oil heater and even up through the ducts and on to the white wood work. When he came out I also told him that the heater had to be turned on (for the first time ever) once or twice that month with the red button. He said he could do either a service call (filters and cleaning) or a repair call. I told him to do the service call hoping that that would correct the soot problem (which it did to a great extent) and maybe the red button problem which was not really that big a problem at that time. Now the red button problem has gotten worse and the red button has to be pushed 2 or 3 times before the heater will run continuously. I think he did use one instrument when he was finished the cleaning. He took the guts out of the heater and cleaned it throughly as well as the stove pipe etc. He said the red button problem might not happen again and that it would take a couple of months for the soot problem to clear up totally. He was wrong about the red button problem but mostly right about the soot. Thanks fo getting back to me.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 04:14 PM
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Red Button Problem

Having to reset the control can be caused by a great deal of possible problems. These include but are not limited to: Dirty fuel system, weak ignition transformer, worn or misadjusted electrodes, &/or improperly adjusted air on the burner. Depending upon your mechanical ability & willingness to work on the burner we can delve into this further if you so desire.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 07:58 PM
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Carrier Oil Heater

Since I do get some air draft up the flue I guess you don't think its an obstruction in the flue. Therefore, what do you think I should try next given the fact that the heater was serviced 3 months ago. I have average mechanical ability. Thanks.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 07:17 PM
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Information needed

Before we can go much more into testing & set-up I need to know the model number of the furnace & the make of the burner.
 
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Old 05-11-10, 07:11 AM
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Carrier Oil Heater

The make of the furnace is: Beckett "AFG"

The Furnace model # is: 58CMA120
The Furnace Serial # is: 2698VO5964

The Reset Button box is: Honeywell
 
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Old 05-12-10, 06:16 PM
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Basic Set-up information

For this furnace & burner the initial specs are: Nozzle .75-70şB Delavan; Pump Pressure 130#: Electrode settings; 5/16" above nozzle center, 1/16" ahead of nozzle face, 5/32" apart; Air settings; Shutter #8, Band #1.

I would suggest starting with the fuel system. Change the filter, pump screen (if applicable), & nozzle. Before installing the new nozzle flush the nozzle tube with carburetor cleaner or other solvent. Clean the eletrode porcelains & adjust electrodes to factory specs. If the electordes are worn (probable) either file to a point or replace. Before reconnecting the 3/16" line to the nozzle assembly flush at least 15 seconds worth of fuel thru it & into a container.

If there are 2 copper lines from the tank to the burner you will not have to purge the air from the fuel system. If there is only a single line I will need to know the brand of fuel pump (or have a picture) to explain how to purge the air & check fuel pump pressure.
 
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Old 05-18-10, 07:28 AM
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Carrier Oil Heater

Replaced the nozzel, filter and pump screen, cleaned porcelains, flushed nozzle tube and filed/adjusted electrodes per your instructions. Although that part is now ready for next years heating season, I still have to press the red button to start. What next. Thanks
 
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Old 05-18-10, 05:14 PM
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If I had to venture a stab- in- the- dark guess, I'd say a contact on the primary side is not making a good contact. You may have a relay or bimetal time delay switch whose contact is pitted/arced/worn. By you pressing the reset button, you cause the contact to close in a slightly dirfferent position just enough to make better contact.

I had this happen on on an oil-to-gas conversion burner with a Honeywell primary on it, and it had a dual thermodisc time delay switch for the burner blower, that first had to make contact in order for the burner to come on. And that was the cause for ME having to hit the reset button all the time. I think it cost me like $8 or less to fix it(the new piggyback thermodisc). I have to admit though it took me a lot of trial runs and testing, to finally find that as the culprit (as the issue was sporadic, but gradually got worse where I had to reset the Honeywell primary more and more often). I feel good that I did not throw any other parts at it.
 
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Old 05-18-10, 08:53 PM
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Have to reset

Now that we know the fuel system is in good shape I'd like you to try a crude, but often effective, simple test:
Once the burner is running hold a medium sized screwdriver by the shaft & rap the Honeywell control with the handle. Rap it firmly but don't wail on it. If the burner drops out, even momentarily, your problem is the control.

If no luck with this, we'll get into it a bit deeper.
 
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