Oil furnace not fully igniting


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Old 11-19-11, 04:02 PM
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Oil furnace not fully igniting

I just picked up an oil furnace for my garage and can't seem to get it to work properly. I replaced the nozzle and adjusted the electrodes. Can't get new electrodes until Monday (if needed). I purged the fuel line, the fuel coming out will be bubble free for a bit sometimes and then after a second of spitting it will come out full of bubbles. The air bubbles don't seem to leave after that.

When I close the bleeder a flame will ignite. It slowly dies off though and the furnace will shut down as if nothing happened. If I don't mess around with the bleeder it seems like it wont ignite.

Does this issue point towards something as a problem?
 
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Old 11-19-11, 04:49 PM
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How was the fuel pump originally piped, one pipe or two pipe system and how do you presently have it piped?
 
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Old 11-19-11, 05:38 PM
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No idea on how it was originally piped. Currently there is a filter and a can of fuel sitting on the ground right next to it. Less than 2 ft of pipe before getting fuel. Just 1 pipe. Where would a second pipe go?
 
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Old 11-19-11, 05:47 PM
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Okay, let's go back to square one. What brand of oil burner (not the furnace, the burner) and see if you can find a name on the fuel pump.

When you piped it up did you have to plug any additional ports in the fuel pump? Do you have a "suction lift" with the method you used to pipe the fuel? What material did you use to seal the threaded joints in the fuel piping and what material is the piping and fittings?
 
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Old 11-19-11, 05:52 PM
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I used a thread compound to seal the two threaded joints. Piping is copper and fittings are brass. Becker? I think is the pump, not sure on the burner. Honeywell was a name I saw in there. 115,000 btu's if that makes any difference. Whats a suction lift? I didn't do anything fancy with the piping because I've seen these piped this way before and never seen any problems. Also didn't need to close any holes, if I didn't and there was a hole would I have a leak?
 
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Old 11-19-11, 05:54 PM
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Betcha dollars to donuts---You have an air leak or a major restriction in the fuel system. Such a restriction could be a plugged pump screen or filter.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:02 PM
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If I had an air leak would I have a leak when the system was not running? How can I search for an air leak in this system? Where is the pump screen? Filter is new as well as the nozzle.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:07 PM
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If the pump has 4 either 5/16" hex head or 5/32" allen head screws on the face of the pump, there's a screen under the cover. If your pump is pulling air you probably won't have an oil leak especially if the oil level is below the pump.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:12 PM
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Thanks for the input! I think* mine has a screen then. Everything is super tight so idk where there would be a leak. But I'll recheck everything.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:14 PM
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"Super tight" isn't always good. You can damage fittings & theads by over tightening. If the copper to brass joints are compression fittings there's a better than even chance right there is your air leak. If they are flares & not perfect, there's the leak. NEVER use pipe dope on a flared fitting.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:18 PM
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What kind of thread compound? Teflon tape is about the worst you can use on fuel oil. The only joint compound I recommend for tapered pipe threads on fuel oil is Permatex Number 2.

Did you use flared copper tubing fittings or ferrule (compression) fittings? Compression fittings are a constant problem with air leaks in suction piping.

A "suction lift" is any time the pump is not gravity fed with liquid. If the pump suction piping goes up and then down to the pump you have a potential for air binding even if the liquid level is above the pump. If your fuel container is below the pump you have a suction lift.

The burner name is Beckett, as in R. W. Beckett. Honeywell is the manufacturer of the flame safeguard control.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Furd
What kind of thread compound? Teflon tape is about the worst you can use on fuel oil. The only joint compound I recommend for tapered pipe threads on fuel oil is Permatex Number 2.

Did you use flared copper tubing fittings or ferrule (compression) fittings? Compression fittings are a constant problem with air leaks in suction piping.
Great minds think alike, don't they Furd?
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady
Great minds think alike, don't they Furd?
Between us we have the whole country covered!

I don't know how many installations I have seen with compression fittings that had chronic air problems that disappeared when flared fittings were installed, and I'm not even a pro in this line of work.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:40 PM
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I didn't use pipe dope on the flared fittings, just the threaded ones. I went back and read what I used for compound its Oatey great white, says not for fuel on the back haha. I don't really think thats the issue, but you never know. Also I don't think the flared joints are tight enough to damage them. While being outside again I went over and checked them, one was maybe a little loose as I was able to tighten it some more. I also checked all the fittings on the oil filter and all checked out good. I even lifted the can up a foot to see if that helped. Still didn't work. Still have the clean fuel coming out the bleeder then spitting, then turning to a foamy bubble filled fuel. I couldn't even get it to partially fire this time.

I pulled the filter screen off the pump and cleaned that too. It was a little dirty but only on the top half.

EDIT: to be sure these are copper flared ends with brass flare nuts. And is the can ok to have setup so the suction is up to the pump the whole path?
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:54 PM
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Take your flares apart & check the flare itself. Make sure there are no burrs, cracks, or rolled edges. Also the flare should only fill about 3/4 of the tapered seat of the flare nut. A good measure of flare size is to put the flare against the taper of the fitting. If any of the copper extends beyond that taper, the flare is too big & will leak air. Don't know you flaring skill but it isn't as easy as it looks. Here's a good article on the subject: Copper.org: Copper Tube Handbook: IX. Flared Joints
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:57 PM
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I presume you mean the filter can. It is actually preferable to have the top/bottom parallel to the ground. Also make sure the little bleeder screw (usually 5/16") on the filter top is snug & the lip of the can is even with the top all the way around.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 06:59 PM
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I'll look them over. I personally didn't do the flares, but someone that has experience did. But I'll do that first thing tomorrow when I go out there. I checked the cap and it looks good. But will specifically look for what you suggested
 
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Old 11-20-11, 06:47 AM
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I'm not 100% sure what fixed the issue yet, but I checked the copper this morning and found the flares to be sealing. I took off the the copper anyways and went to a rubber line and the air bubbles cleared up. Upon closing the bleeder the furnace fired and is now blowing heat. I don't know if it was coincidence or not, but I think the problem is somewhere in the $50 worth of copper and fittings I bought. Awesome.

Thanks so much for the help!!
 
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Old 12-09-11, 07:57 PM
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You are loosing prime as the air is captured in the pump. Never use compression fittings on oil lines, always flared. If you do not have flared lines, replace with. If you do have flares, check for bad connections or cracked flares and even fittings ( happens sometimes when making flares or over tightning connections).
Also make sure you are not trying to pull fuel from a lower than pump placement level as this will enhance any problems with the issue.
 
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Old 12-09-11, 08:46 PM
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sounds like they had the problem resolved,why the input now?
 
 

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