oil furnace wont run

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Old 06-20-14, 06:53 PM
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oil furnace wont run

weil-mclain
SGO oil fired natural draft steam boiler.
steam radiators, the old 4' high ones that hiss and they chain you to in the old movies.
tankless hot water.

i assume i ran out of oil and that is why the furnace shut off, but it might be unrelated to running out of oil. 275 gallon tank, took 245 gallons.

it is acting like it is not getting electricity, like a safety switch activated. does not do anything. motor does not run. i dont hear anything click, like a thermostat calling for heat. i tried turning up the thermostat and running the hot water.
no heat, no hot water.
breaker is on, emergency shut off switch on furnace is on. i put a meter on the junction box before the furnace, it has power. i dont know the voltage of the terminals on the furnace, but i dont think i have a meter that goes that low.
the reset button on the motor is not popped, the red light next to it is not on . i tried the manual lock on the reset button, so i would have to reset it. the button popped and reset, but the light did not come on.
i tried loosening the filter, oil came out. i tried loosening, what appeared to be a bleeder, looks kind of like a Zerk fitting and had a B next to it. oil dripped out.

furnace is about 10 years old, motor about 5. got a lot of service two years ago when i switched repair services because they were trying very hard to burn my house down. more smoke in the house then going up the chimney.

any suggestions?
 
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Old 06-22-14, 10:03 AM
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i feel so unloved

121 views and no responses.

everything i have read says to push the reset button while bleeding, but my reset button is not popped.
could it be locked out? does the reset button pop when in lock out?
 
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Old 06-22-14, 10:48 AM
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Pictures would help. Do you have a 67 low water cut off? Flush and lightly bump control with fist? What's is the water level?
 
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Old 06-22-14, 04:57 PM
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I didnt post pics because i thought it was a standard set up. i am at work now, i will post pics later.
it has the low water shutoff and automatic water fill. i flushed it, level dropped, auto fill refilled it.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 01:06 AM
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photos

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furnace. i have to write more. it is in the basement
 
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Old 06-23-14, 01:09 AM
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i have to write something. it was a dark and stormy night
 
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Old 06-23-14, 01:13 AM
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.
i dont see any reason to explain what these photos are of.
if you dont recognize the parts, you cant help me anyway.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 01:25 AM
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this is the last of them.

the last repair guys i had were so bad, i learned a lot about the furnace, because they kept breaking it.

this acts like it is electrical, like the breaker is off (yes, it is on. so is the emergency shut off on the furnace.). it is completely dead. that is why i guessed a safety had activated. but the red light next to the reset is not lit, and the reset is not popped . I would expect , at least, the red light to come on if a safety activated and it wants to lock out the homeowner.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 09:44 AM
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Hi Frank, I would start at the Honeywell L6006 type aquastat and see if you have power going in and out. Follow where it drops out if it's before or after. You will need a real meter for this not a non contact one which it sounds like you are using? That primary burner control does not have a lock out setting like some newer ones,but it still could be bad. My advice to you is to have your unit serviced with a full tune up and brush and vac.Two years and it's past due with that tight boiler.Tell them you have steam and no hot water.They are pretty slow this time of year.Hopefully you will get good service.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 10:19 AM
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Thanks, but i am not certain you understand the problem.
i have nothing. no steam, no hot water. it acts like it is not getting electricity. like the breaker tripped. i have an electrians test meter. two probes and a gage that tells me if it is ac/dc and volts. i can test house current, but i cant go lower. i can go higher, but i forget how high the meter goes. i dont know where to test or what the volts should be. I assume if it was just a hot water problem, the furnance would still run to make steam for heat.
i know i can call for service, but if it is something that needs to be reset or a clogged filter, i would rather do it myself
 
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Old 06-23-14, 03:51 PM
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Frank, I can't give you a crash course on trouble shooting. How did you determine the j box before the boiler had power? The voltage should be the same as a house receptacle. Try the obvious things first, move the breaker at the panel off and on. Make sure the emergency switch at stairs is on. Look to see if firematic electrical button is not missing. My statement on calling for service still stands. If you want to check things over till then use all precautions when working with power on. Good luck.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 05:35 PM
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Sorry to jump in so late. In your next to last set of photos, I noticed the sight glass doesn't seem to have much water showing. Is there any marking on the boiler as to minimum water level? If so, is the water level above such marking?
 
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Old 06-23-14, 11:50 PM
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Water level.
Decal says 1/4 full is the safe level. It is 1/4 full.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 12:01 AM
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Above the furnace is the old junction box for the old furnace. they connected the new furnace to this box. it was a light switch which was used as the emergency shut off for the old furnance. now, it is just a junction box. they removed the light switch and put a shut off on the new furnace.
i took the wirenuts off in the junction box and put the tester on the wires. that is how i know the furnace has power going to it. i can also check to see if power comes out of the emergency shutoff.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 01:57 AM
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Good,we drew out Grady.The man for the details.When checking for power I often put one probe where I want to check and one on the bx to speed things along.Don't know If that is correct but can always double check with the other color line.Force feed a little more water in as Grady say's just because.He's got you if you don't mind a little more cold water.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 07:16 AM
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It's obvious you are loosing power somewhere. The question is "where". The best way to find out is to start at one end of the circuit & work toward the other. Since you know there is power at the J box, let's go to the burner control.

Remove the primary control (Honeywell R8184) & check for 120v across black & white. If 120 is present, the problem is the primary, cad cell, or in the low voltage circuit. If no 120 is present, we'll have to work our way back, one connection at a time, toward the incoming power.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 10:25 AM
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I was mistaken on the water level, i said 1/4 full, minimum is 1/4" from bottom of site glass. it is well above 1/4".
I just tested for power as you said, primary control, white and black.
no power.
i also tested at the emergency shut off on the furnance. this is the last switch or junction box before electrity enters the furnance controls.
i have power coming out of the switch when the switch is on.
it looks like two BX cables come out of the shut off switch, one to the auto water filler and one to the water heater.
if that is not a standard setup, i can post photos.
is it possible the low water switch is bad and the furnace thinks it is out of water?
The auto water filler still works, could the low water switch still be bad?
Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 10:33 AM
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In. the7th photo, with site glass in the center of the photo, you can see the red cover for the emergency shut off in the upper left.
there are 3 bx cables coming from the switch.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 06:39 PM
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It is possible the low water cut off (LWCO) is at fault. I suggest you trace the power in a systematic way. Go from one end of the circuit to the other. Don't jump around lest you get lost. The current path is a series. Current flows from A to B to C to D, etc.
 
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Old 06-26-14, 12:52 AM
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I now know i have a McDonnell and miller LWCO series 67.
I downloaded the manuals for it and i now know i was supposed to blow it out once a week.
my plan is to disassemble the LWCO where the float switch is and test and clean the float switch.
just wanted to see if anybody has advice or suggestions or thinks this not a good idea.
 
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Old 06-26-14, 06:15 PM
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Those things are pretty fragile & can be easilly damaged. I don't suggest you try taking it apart. Test before you start taking things apart. Find where you are losing power & you've found the source of the trouble.
 
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Old 06-26-14, 10:42 PM
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thanks for the help, but i am going to have to disagree and just go it alone.
i will continue post my progress, in case someone wants to offer advice.

I dont see any way to test it without taking it apart. the switch is internal. i could, i suppose, just expose the terminals and do a continuity test, but without knowing if the float is stuck in the down/off position, it wont help much.

there are only three BX cables coming from the emergency switch. LWCO, burner and aquastat. i dont know yet what the aquastat does, but i am guessing it is a temperature control, probably a safety. therefore, it makes sense to me to disassemble the LWCO and make sure it is working before testing anything else.

as for breaking parts, i have the parts list, i can buy more.

when i removed the float and switch from the LWCO, i found a lot of sludge. see photos. i sprayed water into the LWCO and on the float to clean them. i will put it back together tomorrow and try the furnace.
it looked to me like the float could have been too heavy to float or the chamber too full of sludge and the float could not move.

learned my lesson about weekly LWCO blow out.

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Old 06-27-14, 10:45 PM
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put the LWCO back together, still wont start.
next, i will test to see if power is coming out of the LWCO.
I am assuming 120 VAC should be at the burner terminal when the boiler is full of water and no volts when the boiler is empty. so, i will test it that way.

next is the honeywell pressuretrol. have to try to find what it should be set at. anybody know?
the adjustment screw in the top seems loose. it may have vibrated out, but i dont know what it should set at. looks like it is set for zero right now.
since it shuts down at high pressure, i assume zero would prevent the furnace from starting.
 
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Old 06-28-14, 11:40 AM
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The pressuretrol only comes into play with a call for heat. Since your boiler has a domestic coil, the aquastat should control the burner when there is no call for heat. If the boiler temp drops below the aquastat's low limit setting the burner should fire. The LWCO should have power thru the switch at all times if there is enough water in the boiler.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 12:36 AM
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first, i am done. i got it started, it started smoking, i will call for service.
i dont do smoke.

i put the adjustment screw back into the pressuretrol . set it for .5.

i got 120VAC from terminals #2,3 and 4 on the LWCO, nothing on terminal #1, with the boiler empty of water.
i was going to let it fill with water, then test the terminals again.
after it filled with water, the furnace started, on it's own.
after a minute or two, small amounts of smoke came out of the two holes in the furnace for the LWCO sight glass pipes and from somewhere near the inspection port to check the flame. not a lot of smoke, like from a cigarette . the smoke did not have a smell, it was white. and irritating to the eyes and nose and throat. either it was the exhaust smoke that is supposed to go up the chimney, or something acidic was burning.
i shut it off, waited a few minutes, smoke stopped, turned it on again and the same thing.
maybe it just needs a cleaning.
i shut it off at the breaker.

now i am wondering if the loose screw and gunked LWCO was just a coincidence and it shut off for some other reason.

i will let you know what the service guy finds.
 
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