Smell and soot from oil burner chimney connector

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Old 10-10-13, 09:27 AM
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Smell and soot from oil burner chimney connector

Our house has a 32-year-old oil-fired warm air system. The furnace is "Armstrong by Magic Chef", and the burner is a Beckett Model "A". There is no central air conditioning installed. When the furnace starts, there is a smell of diesel exhaust, and over time there is an accumulation of particulate matter (coarser than soot) below the barometric damper. We keep the furnace well maintained, but the maintainer/oil supplier doesn't seem to be able to fix this (nor do they seem particularly concerned).

The barometric damper is about 2 feet from the outlet of the furnace, and from there the chimney connector runs horizontally for about 10 more feet before entering the chimney. (Actually, the connector slopes down about 3 inches in the first 3 feet, and then slopes up about 6 inches over the next 9 feet.) I don't know whether the maintainer has done the necessary pressure tests at various points to make sure the BD weights are set correctly, etc. This particular damper is original, creaky, and leaky. (I would expect a damper to be more of a valve, so it is completely sealed when closed. This one certainly is not sealed when closed.)

Are there any obvious things I should check or replace, or have the maintainer look at? I'm tempted to attach an auto air filter to the BD to at least catch the particulate pollution. Replacing the entire system is an option, albeit a last ditch one. If I did that, I would go for a sealed system with fan-forced air coming into the burner.
 
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Old 10-10-13, 10:17 AM
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Is the chimney clean, it may be partially blocked by debris or nests or whatever. cleaning the chimney is a problem you might be able to solve.
 
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Old 10-10-13, 02:05 PM
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Thanks for the quick feedback. I climbed up to the chimneytop and lowered a lit lightbulb down. It's clean as a whistle as far as I can see. Unfortunately the flue takes a bend so I can only see about half the total length.

So I went to the cleanout at the bottom and looked up with a mirror. Unfortunately the chimney connector takes up about 2/3 of the chimney and blocks the view. So I can't say with absolute confidence that the flue is completely clean, but I saw nothing suspicious.

Does it make sense for the chimney connector to block so much of the chimney? I would have thought it only needed to just enter the chimney cavity.

At any rate, we are having an HVAC technician come over (someone not associated with oil sales).
 
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Old 10-10-13, 07:04 PM
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The connector should be flush with the inside of the chimney & never slope down hill.
 
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