Oil Williamson Temp O Matic soot and continues running


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Old 02-08-15, 10:48 AM
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Oil Williamson Temp O Matic soot and continues running

Greetings everyone,

I'm working on my furnace here today because I've noticed some sooty deposits in the house (and in my nose). I'm working today to clean the flue but wanted to run a couple things passed a second (multiple) set of eyes.

The furnace is in the home I just bought in November, so I'm still new to it.

In addition to to soot issue (a recent development, started about a week ago) I've noticed lately that when the thermostat "clicks" indicating it has reached the desired heat, (or if I turn it down myself to a temp below current) the furnace continues to run. I've timed that run to be about 10-12 minutes after the end of the call. I'm not sure if this is intended function or not.

Thanks for any help or advice on this. I want to try and clean it up real well and troubleshoot it as best I can. I'm not completely against having to call someone if I need to, but I prefer to do things as far as I can myself.

Side note, I do have CO monitors in the house, and I tested the main one to day just to verify they do what they're suppose to.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 01:02 PM
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I think i may have found part of my issue





That's looking into the flue to chimney area. I pulled the rest of the ducting down and out of the way. I have been cleaning that out and pulling huge chunks of what looks like clay out. I'm suspecting the liner of the chimney isn't too happy.

I'll post an after once I'm done, but I've managed to fill my shop vac with the crap in there and don't have another bag yet. I may have to resort to scooping it all out with a garden shovel.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 01:04 PM
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Side note, I do have CO monitors in the house, and I tested the main one to day just to verify they do what they're suppose to.
How did you "test" the monitor, by pressing the test button? If yes, that ONLY tests the electronics and NOT the sensitivity of the sensor cell. Also, residential CO monitors are purposely made to not alarm at low levels of CO over short periods of time. While I DO believe that having a residential CO monitor is worthwhile I wouldn't stake my life on it alerting in time to prevent CO poisoning.


That stated, if you are getting soot inside the house from the furnace it is a good chance that the heat exchanger has failed. The only other thing that could cause soot inside the house would be a severely blocked fire side and/or chimney piping.

(I was posting at the same time you were adding the photos.)
Yeah, that is definitely bad and it could be the cause of the soot in the house. After cleaning that smoke pipe you need to do the chimney (may been a pro) and also a thorough cleaning of the furnace heat exchanger which will also likely need a pro. After those things are squared a way a full tune-up of the oil burner including combustion testing with calibrated instruments. Any technician that does NOT use instruments should be thrown out on his/her ear.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 02:19 PM
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Well I think my furnace can finally breathe a lot better. It still needs some work though (and obviously there's the whole whatever caused the blockage issue.)

here's some of what I found a long the way:

Chunks of "rocks" aka probably clay




The flue pipe re-installed. You can see the evidence of soot here.



The bucket I nearly filled with "stuff"



Another shot of the bucket with the chunks in it



Close up of the bucket




Whew. Messy day was mess. I put the furnace back together, put a new filter in and fired it up. It feels like the heat is flowing a bit better now (not HUGELY better, but better.) I assume it's a similar concept as when a car has a clogged exhaust, if it can't breathe, it can't do a whole lot.

Hopefully this will help cut down on the sooty junk.

Looking forward to the comments sure to come
 
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Old 02-08-15, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by furd
How did you "test" the monitor, by pressing the test button? If yes, that ONLY tests the electronics and NOT the sensitivity of the sensor cell. Also, residential CO monitors are purposely made to not alarm at low levels of CO over short periods of time. While I DO believe that having a residential CO monitor is worthwhile I wouldn't stake my life on it alerting in time to prevent CO poisoning.
I did test it by pressing the "test" button, so thanks for the additional information. The home inspector did a CO test in November and didn't indicate an issue. Obviously that was 3 months ago now.
 

Last edited by tducketts; 02-08-15 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 02-08-15, 03:49 PM
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After I ran the furnace earlier I manually turned it off at the t-stat by turning it down to a lower temp than the house is. I heard an audible "click" (It's an older mercury style thing). The furnace continued to run for about 7 minutes before stopping. I'm not sure if this is a normal as-intended function, or something malfunctioning. .
 
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Old 02-08-15, 04:13 PM
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It doesn't sound normal to me but without knowing a lot more about the specific thermostat, the furnace and both are wired I don't have much to offer. Was the burner still running these seven minutes or was it just the blower? If just the blower then it is the setting of the blower switch and may be entirely normal or it may mean that the burner is overheating the furnace significantly during the normal operation. If the latter it could be due to too large a nozzle in the burner, too high a firing pressure or a severely worn nozzle. All of these things could also be contributory to the massive amount of soot and carbon you removed.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 04:18 PM
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When you say the furnace continued to run another 7 minutes after turning down the stat, was the burner running or just the blower? Most likely your fan is controlled by a temperature sensing fan/limit switch which I much prefer over a timed on/off fan.

Those chunks in the bucket are definately flue liner.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 04:30 PM
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Thanks to both of you. I'm not actually sure if the burner is still running or not. I only have been going based on what I hear which is the fan. next time I'll try and figure out which it actually is. What's a good way to the if the burner is running? I didn't seem to find anything for an inspection port.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 04:40 PM
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At the very least you should be able to place your hand on the burner and feel vibrations if it is running.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 04:40 PM
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With the burner compartment door off, you will be able to easily tell. Some pictures of the furnace with the burner door off & a couple of the burner itself would be good.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 05:01 PM
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Thanks again guys. I'll try and snag a couple pics this evening if I get a free min. I know this doesn't answer any questions, but I did snag a picture of the model info earlier.




A quick google search for that info doesn't seem to turn up anything.
 
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Old 02-08-15, 05:13 PM
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A quick google search for that info doesn't seem to turn up anything.
Fear not, it's an old school oil fired furnace. With a picture of the burner, I can get a better idea as to how old school.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 06:45 PM
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Great Old School Furnace!!

I've put many-o-many of those Temp O Matic Williamson oil furnaces in. The unit you have is circa 1979, the serial number on those furnaces 'decodes' their manufacturing date. The '79' digits in the serial number means 1979.

The soot is from the unit not being able to exhaust itself. The chimney was blocked by fallen debris, that being the chimney clay liner. Not good, and should be inspected and repaired by a chimney guy.

The furnace blower is what u hear after the thermostat is satisfied. The blower, aka fan, is controlled by a bimetallic limit switch and being the furnace is still quite hot after burner shut-down, it completes a blow-down or two before finally turning off. That is a good and absolutely normal thing for that vintage furnace...new furnaces do the same thing in fact, but use an electronic timer to accomplish the same feature.

The furnace needs a thorough cleaning, be sure to pull the exhaust bonnet off where the flue leaves the furnace and vacuum out as much soot as possible. Having a licensed tech with proper combustion test equipment service the unit would be better considering the state the unit is in right now.

Those Williamson units are extremely durable and long-lived, but all and all, I would strongly consider replacing the unit after the heating season.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ctoilman
I've put many-o-many of those Temp O Matic Williamson oil furnaces in. The unit you have is circa 1979, the serial number on those furnaces 'decodes' their manufacturing date. The '79' digits in the serial number means 1979.

The soot is from the unit not being able to exhaust itself. The chimney was blocked by fallen debris, that being the chimney clay liner. Not good, and should be inspected and repaired by a chimney guy.

The furnace blower is what u hear after the thermostat is satisfied. The blower, aka fan, is controlled by a bimetallic limit switch and being the furnace is still quite hot after burner shut-down, it completes a blow-down or two before finally turning off. That is a good and absolutely normal thing for that vintage furnace...new furnaces do the same thing in fact, but use an electronic timer to accomplish the same feature.

The furnace needs a thorough cleaning, be sure to pull the exhaust bonnet off where the flue leaves the furnace and vacuum out as much soot as possible. Having a licensed tech with proper combustion test equipment service the unit would be better considering the state the unit is in right now.

Those Williamson units are extremely durable and long-lived, but all and all, I would strongly consider replacing the unit after the heating season.
Hey ctoilman thanks for all the additional info. I kinda thought the fan may have been continuing to run as a cool down kinda like an after-run fan on a car.

I did not take the part I assume is the bonnet down. I'm guessing the bonnet is the part that then attaches to the first part of the exhaust ducting, mounted on the front of the furnace. I did vacuum inside of that area down in the heat exchanger as best I could (appears to be a cast iron cylinder.) It's a bit narrow for my vac between the walls of the exchanger. I also took the access to teh outside of the heat exchanger off and vacuumed the outside of it.

We're planning to likely replace this unit at the end of the heating season, depending on the fund situation and how much the chimney work sets us back. In the grand scheme if the chimney stuff ends up being a nut kick, I'd rather tune the furnace up and squeeze one more season out of it. Let me know if that seems misguided.

Thanks again for all the help here. I still plan to get some pics posted of the actual unit, and I plan to dig back in at a later date and do a bit deeper cleaning.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 08:27 PM
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As a make shift soot snake you can use a piece of garden hose taped to the end of your vac hose.
Here is a listing for a soot snake: Patriot Supply -

The real thing is the 9th item shown on this page: Service Parts

It's been a long time since I bought one but a flexible stainless liner might be cheaper than trying to put new clay liners in the chimney.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by grady
It's been a long time since I bought one but a flexible stainless liner might be cheaper than trying to put new clay liners in the chimney.
In my initial research I've done so far I'm leaning a bit towards that idea. I figure if I can do a stainless one, I won't have to worry about doing it again for the time I'm in this house.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 08:37 PM
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Any reason to not remove the oil burner unit to clean within the combustion chamber? Looking at it yesterday it looked like it was maybe 10 bolts. Worst case I'd probably have to crack the oil lines free and bleed the system when done.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 08:50 PM
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The soot in the chamber will likely burn off once the heat exchanger is clean & the chimney is clear. In '79 I don't think Williamson was using fiber chambers but they may have been & if so, those things are extremely fragile. Maybe CT can verify one way or the other.
 
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Old 02-10-15, 06:42 AM
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I'm happy to report that 2 mornings in a row now, and no more black sooty crud in the nose.
 
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Old 02-13-15, 06:58 PM
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I believe back in 1979 Williamson furnaces had a fiber chamber....they were most durable too.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 12:53 PM
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We've had some massive cold the last few days here (windchill -20 at times) and this old dog continues to kick. It's been running a lot, but that is to be expected with this cold and poor insulation in the home (1900s farm house).
 
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Old 02-16-15, 03:47 PM
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Glad to hear you've had trouble-free heat. Granted that old furnace isn't the most efficient in the world but insulation is energy you buy once.
 
 

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