Hot Topics: Oil Burner Won't Restart

person working on fixing back of oil burner

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Original Post: Oil Burner won't start after pushing reset

angelo1100 - Member

I have a oil fired boiler with a Beckett flame retention burner.

oil burner

Came home from work today to cold boiler. I pushed the reset button and the pump is running but will not fire up. After 2 attempts and no oil odor, should I assume plugged filter? And yes I do have oil in the tank. Now some back ground. My service tech came out a few years ago and found a plugged filter because of a similar problem.

He replaced a very clogged filter that was not that old. The flow rate in the fuel line was poor and he recommended and did replace the fuel line and I have had no problems since. He also suggested leaving the boiler off the day of oil delivery, which I had last Tuesday. I would hate to have to call him back to replace that filter again. Your thoughts!!!

radioconnection - Member

How old is your oil tank? Has your tech ever checked the amount of sludge build up in the bottom of the tank?

I wouldn't bet the ranch on smelling oil; but you could have an ignition problem (bad transformer,) or a clogged filter. It could also be a clogged oil line. When was the last time this unit was serviced, and how old is the filter? You definitely don't want to keep hitting that reset! If there is oil, you could end up with a pretty big bang when it catches.

angelo1100 - Thread Starter

I had my annual service with filter change about a month ago. I do have it serviced annually by a very qualified tech. He has indicated sludge and has replaced the filter after an oil delivery. That is why he suggested keeping it above 1/4 full and keeping the boiler off during the delivery day. I am pretty handy but have never changed one of those filters.

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oil filter

Can you detail the instructions for installing a new filter. How do I identify what filter I need from the supply house? Do I need to bleed anything when I am finished?

radioconnection - Member

I'm not familiar with that style, but is there a part number on the top of the filter, or one the body of the canister? Something like "B4" or similar? That would be the filter number I believe.

I believe those filters are changed by loosening the top nut on the assembly. Be sure the valve is off on the tank. Grady or one of the other pros should be around here this evening, I'm just a homeowner so I don't want to lead you down a garden path either!

You might consider having that tank replaced, sludge will eventually cause the tank failure, and you will have an major environmental disaster hazmat to deal WHEN it happens.

I'd also suggest going to a dual filter system by adding a second 10-micron filter at the burner will help keep the nozzle clear. An empty filter cannister ahead of the first filter at the tank will help catch sludge too. But that tank looks to be pretty old.

NJT - Member

I'm not sure the filter type either... but judging by your skills at replacing that fill valve, you should have no trouble changing the filter... if you knew which one to get ... it _looks_ like the element for the General 25 will fit that, but don't take my word for it...

[edit: I'm pretty sure the General filter will NOT fit that housing... ]

Angelo, what can you read on the label ?

I'm kinda surprised that your tech didn't recommend upgrading the filtering when he replaced the oil line, especially since you said he knew there was a sludge problem.

You could install the second filter right at the burner if you wanted to.

angelo1100 - Thread Starter

Filter number is B4. commercial filter co, Boston.

Instructions on changing would be helpful.

How can I determine if the pump is starving for fuel. It sure sounds that way.

NJT - Member

Angelo, it's awful difficult to cover all the bases on filter changing and bleeding the pump ... you probably should also change the screen in the pump if you have that much sludge.

Best thing I think would be to bite the bullet, call the tech, and ask him if he would show you how to change the filter and bleed the pump.

Changing the screen is a bit more involved, as it requires partial dis-assembly of the pump. Not difficult, but hard to describe ... I would feel better about it if you had a tech show you.

Especially if you aren't 100% certain the filter is the cause for the lock-out. You might even have a broken pump coupler inside the burner ...

radioconnection - Member

B4 is the filter I believe. That nut on top should release the cartridge. But, your pump filter probably needs attention too. And that line should be hand pumped clean.

angelo1100 - Thread Starter

All fixed

Removed month old filter and it was rather dirty and particulate matter was found in the filter housing. Picked up the filter at the supply house for $1.25. Great job but it still would not bleed. Only got a trickle and no air. Time to call the pro. Came over in 1/2 hour, now that is service. Pulled off the motor only to find a sheered coupling. Nice fast fix.

Thanks for all you guys who gave suggestions.

NJT - Member

Good deal! I know you were looking over his shoulder too, weren't ya ?

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