Intermittent oil line Vacuum problem

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Old 11-17-15, 03:08 PM
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Intermittent oil line Vacuum problem

Hoping for some pro input here.

3 year old Beckett gun. Changed from a two line system to a single line. Buried 1000 gal.tank, 12 years old, total distance is about 35' and the gun is lower than the tank. When I have a new filter installed all is good through the summer time when only hot water is needed, no problems, 0" vacuum on the filter gauge. As soon as the heating season starts, the vacuum gauge will in a span of 2 days all of a sudden raise to 4 ". Then the unit will lock out. I replaced the filter. She primes in 2 tries. Full solid stream. The oil is spotlessly clean and clear. Checked it in a clear bottle after. Checked for any water in my tank. The water indicating paste had maybe 1/16" of color. Maybe!!! Everything else looks super clean. No indication of sludge. I changed the filter 3 weeks ago, no problems for 3 weeks. Then again in the span of 1 day, vacuum 4" and lockout. This never happens in the summer. I'm going through filters like toilet paper. Any ideas ???? I'm going nuts.

Thanks ahead for any input
 
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Old 11-17-15, 03:30 PM
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Does the new Fuel Pump have a "Stainer" or "Screen" like the Suntec and Sunstrand pumps ?
 
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Old 11-17-15, 07:03 PM
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Vermont, I'm not sure. Is there an easy way to check ? What might that suggest ?
 
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Old 11-18-15, 04:17 AM
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As the temperature drops and the entering oil gets colder, there's more of a tendancy for the paraffin in the oil to coagulate on the screen and block the flow.

What kind of Oil Pump do you have . . . . if it doesn't have a Screen, this is a non issue.

If it's a Suntec or Sunstrand, the $2.50 Screen is in the Pump behind the cap held by 4 small bolts or machine screws. The gasket is pretty tough if you're careful.

Many homes go for decades without having the Screen changed (or cleaned). Some Service people just replace the whole Pump, and toss the old one. I've cleaned the screen with kerosene and an old tooth brush (actually my Wife did it) when this discovery was first made. Now I change the Strainer/Screen every 2 years or so. The Filter on the tank doesn't catch everything.

A Friend of mine said that the guy who services his boiler told him that he has NEVER changed a Screen in an Oil Pump !

It's just the timing and changing weather conditions, and the buried Oil Tank which makes me think this could be cause for what you're experiencing.
 

Last edited by Vermont; 11-18-15 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 11-18-15, 04:37 AM
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I'll check the for the pump screen. The Beckett Rep said that a vacuum of 4" should not cause a lockout, it would take more like 9". Maybe so, however, the way this tank and single line are run, this should just be a siphon from the tank, 0 vacuum. Why then does vacuum all of a sudden appear and worse, if 4" is not enough to cause lockout, why does it lock out only when it reaches 4" ? since the tank is buried, I would think there is not much difference in fuel oil temperature particularly at the change of seasons. I could see a possible paraffin cause if we were in the dead of a long brutally cold winter. Even then,....
 
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Old 11-18-15, 05:12 AM
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If you're going through Filters like toilet paper, then it's worth the time to check the Screen (if you have one). The Screen (or Strainer) is the last stop before the fuel is sent down the gun tube to the Nozzle.

The first time I encountered this problem, the whole tube was loaded with coagulated sludge from over 15 years of use . . . . but remarkable, the system has still found a way to push sufficient fuel through the capillaries of that filth down to the Nozzle. That Beckett is a tough old bird !

I cleaned the whole tube out with extra long Q-Tips and Pipe Cleaners, and installed a new Nozzle.

Since my last Post, I checked my last purchase of those Suntec Screens (including a new Gasket) and I paid the princely sum of $1.71 apiece . . . . far less than the $2.50 that I mentioned above. Not much for something that does so much work !

This may not be your problem at all . . . . but it costs nothing (except your time) to eliminate it as a possibility
 
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Old 11-18-15, 05:52 AM
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I had a similar problem. Most times the screws, on the screen cover were slightly lose.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 06:09 AM
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Vermont, Thanks a lot for your time. Really appreciate it. I'll check it and do a cleaning of my own. It reminded me of a couple years back I did seem to have a sludge problem right before I installed the new becket. My fuel guy then on the next fill up dumped a bunch of mineral spirits in, blew the line back into the tank and all was good. He said that he heard of an algae that can infect and feed off the oil in the tank and cause real problems. Apparently my area had a few of these issues. In any case, the fuel looks beautifully clean now with 0 particulates noticed in either the filter or oil. It seems that my vacuum problem started a couple months after that. Possibly I've had the vacuum problem with the old system but never knew it since my filter never had a vacuum gauge until I replaced it along with the new beckett. I'll post back as things hopefully work out.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 06:23 AM
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I just thought of something else. We also had an underground tank. Sludge was always a problem. I see that you are in NY. If Slomin delivers the oil, they shoot the oil in the tank so hard that is always disturbed the sludge. I would say, abandon the underground tank.
 
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