Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 30
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    30

    Oil Burner Basics

    A friend asked me to take a look at their oil burning furnace. I have worked on exactly 2 of these in the past ten years, as our furnaces around here are all LP, Natural, of electric.
    I was wondering if someone could share the basic checks a person should do as a pre-season checkup.
    I would guess the burner orifice may need cleaned, as well as a check/cleaning of the flame proving device. How about the carbon monoxide reading? What should I normally read in the flue?
    It hasn't been looked at in over 10 years, so I will be checking for any heat exchanger issues.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Josh

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central NJ Area
    Posts
    788
    oil Filter, nozzle, strainer, electrodes, vacuum heat exchanger and vent piping, check oil/nozzle pressure, cad cell resistance, clean end cone, perform combustion analysis, smoke spot test, air filter, humidifier pad.... This is the minimum that should be done. Its much more involoved than any gas/propane furnace. I would suggest working with someone who is more experienced with oil burners before you start to maintain any oil fired device. Get some instructional training material and learn about the operation and parts of a burner before you even attempt anything. It's an art to say the least.

    *Carbon monoxide readings should be under 100ppm on startup, while operating and on shut down.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Columbia, MD
    Posts
    3,836
    Also when changing filter you need to purge all the air out of the filter. Don't assume the new nozzle is good. You could have a bad one out of the box. Check your electrode tips and make sure they are properly gapped. combustion test and smoke test are very important.

    O2 preferably between 4-7%
    CO under 100PPM at start, run and shutdown

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central NJ Area
    Posts
    788
    max the CO2 with minimum excess air. Make sure you have a good combustion analyzer, and smoke spot tester, which i assume you have since you work on appliances that use natural gas and propane. Make sure you check the oil pump cut off if you get a rise in CO on shut down and check the Z dimension. Check the stack temp, overfire draft and flue draft then adjust the barometric damper if need before making any changes to the fuel air mixture. Their are so many tip and trick to remember that its hard to list them, such as increasing pump pressure and adjusting nozzle size and spray patterns. Its a good idea to get the equipment tech manuals because some units have specific settings they require. I could write pages of detailed test to perform in certain sequence. I would suggest vacuuming the heat exchanger, replacing the oil filter nozzle ( do not touch the output end of the nozzle with your fingers), replacing the strainer, and perform Comb Analysis and smoke test. I think i have some literature on using your combustion analyzer and what readings indicate and how to adjust them. Just pm me and i'll check my cash of PDF's.-


    Does everyone here include a combustion analysis when performing a Furnace maint or do you charge extra for them and if so how much? If you don't mind me asking.
    Last edited by Nytefog; 09-27-2012 at 12:53 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    west-central pa
    Posts
    13
    I always due a combustion analysis, and print the results. Most of the numbers mean nothing to the customer, but they like to see the efficiency.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Westlake, Ohio
    Posts
    2,470
    An oil burner should never run less than 125# pressure. The 100# is only good if you heat your oil to 100 degrees. Higher pressure changes the output of the nozzle so you will have to resize.

    Never run a 2-line system. They are self destructive and cover up problems that need correcting.

    Use paper filters or canister filters. Felt and wool filters tend to let stuff get right through.

    Use only solid nozzles on new burners (3450rpm motors).

    Flue tempertures on oil are hotter than gas so a good range would be 490 degrees to 620 degrees.
    Less than this you are underfired and that will use considerably more energy.

    The CO and O2 numbers have been stated above.
    captain CO

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    110
    I respectfully disagree with the statement regarding nozzle type. System 2000 with a Beckett burner uses a hollow nozzle. Using the Carlin burner on an EK-1 a hollow nozzle is specified but on the EK-2 a solid nozzle is specified. If using a Riello burner on the EK-1 a solid nozzle is specified, on an EK-2 a hollow nozzle is specified.

    If you check the Beckett OEM spec guide you'll find that quite a few new systems specify hollow nozzles.

    As far as stack temps, System 2000 shows a range of 350 - 450º. Higher temps can be an indication of a dirty boiler, too much excess air or overfiring.

    As far as filters, I agree to an extent. If the oil supply is clean using only a spinon filter is fine. If the oil tends to be dirty, use a conventional felt or wool filter at the tank and a spin on at the burner.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    84
    Quote Originally Posted by Nytefog View Post
    Does everyone here include a combustion analysis when performing a Furnace maint or do you charge extra for them and if so how much? If you don't mind me asking.
    We do them on every maintenance call and its included in the price. How are you going to know if the combustion end is ok if you don't check it?


    "I don't know why it be like it is, but it do"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central NJ Area
    Posts
    788
    You do but most companies do not perform them. They are usually the scamming outfits that advertise a 40 dollar maintenance where they find hundreds of dollar of problems. I was called out for a second optinion by a new customer where they called a local larger outfit here in north/central NJ. They said that the ignitor need replacement because how it looked ! I asked if they check the resistance, and i showed them how it was done, which the customer said they never even brougth their meter out. The guy pretty much brought in his clipboard and a few had tools.

    Most of these outfit probably don't even know how to use a analyzer and if they do they most likely don't understand the readings and the corrective actions need to recifty the issue. They are taught how to sell parts and upsell not actual do any type of actual maintenace procedures. $350 for a flame sensor on one work order from another company i saw. Also nothing wrong with the sensor. NO pitting or any damage to the porcelin. I even showed the customer the micro amp reading while to furnace was operating and showed him the acceptable range which was printed on the wiring diagram on the furance!!!

    No wonder our industry is looked down upon as low life, incompetent scam artists..... If they would only implement HVAC licensing like other trades this problem would be much less prevelent in my opinion, but what do i know.

    PS: i'm that guy who even has the Testo electonic smoke spot testing device and i love it!!

    PLUS having a CO analysis is good to have when having to CYA when probelms arise in the future. Once other important too that sometimes over looked is a magnehelic to obtain the TESP. Wonder why you get airflow to one room and none to others, have great temperature differences from room to room? Never had a solutiont to the problem.....Most techs replies " its poor duct work" and that where the conversation ends....so sad. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. I'm most definitly not the least expensive company but if you want to results and to live in conformt while reducing your utilities. Nothing like installing top of the line most effecient, equipement with ecm blowers air cleaner, humidifer and want ever other accessories you feel you need but are still uncomfortable....i'd be pretty f'ing pissed to say the least.

    My combustion anyalyzer is the most used tool when i perform manitenace during fall/winter. I could be the guy that vacuumes the blower compartment or waxes the furnace chassis, but i rather spend my time performing useful tests on the furnace rather then making it look nice an pretty!

    Main Furance Maint tools

    Fluke - Dif temp and probles
    Testo- Dif Manometer
    Testo- 327 CO Analyzer
    Testo - Electronic smoke test. I scored this during a sale for $250 brand new when they came out!!!!!!!!
    Fluke- DDM's and Amp probe attachement
    Metal plugs and Threaded PVC plugs for sealing test holes on vent piping for clean professional apperance. I prefer and suggest using step bits for clean hole and a tap.
    Sand cloth- Flames sensors
    My BRAIN and IPAD, or my smart phone, with dropbox to access my growing PDF collection of tech literature.

    Customer love when you use High tech sofisticated tools and you explain to them what you are doing as you work. It give them confidence that you know what you are doing which is a great way to get referals/word of mount the best advertising that you can ever have.
    Last edited by Nytefog; 09-27-2012 at 11:17 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central NJ Area
    Posts
    788
    One other important thing i wanted to add is concerning talking to customer. 95% of the time they have absolutely not idea about how a HVAC system works and nor do most of them care. Its best to find things to compare issue, problems and uses of the HVAC system to it make it easier for them to understand. You could bable on about static pressure, combustion analysis, ignitors flame sensors and so forth. Customer will nod and pretend to understand because they feel ignorant because they have no idea what you talking about which is not good at all. An example is I refer to static pressure as blood pressure. Increasin blood pressure put more stain on everything which can lead to heart diesease and further complications. This will give the customer a better idea and seriousness of having such an issue.

    BTW, tell them to stop buy those 3M filter. Wait, but i have alergies and i need those. Ms. or Mrs. these filter having nothing on a high quality air cleaner the removes small particulates as well as destroy and bateria and viruses in the poor indoor air quality which may be the issue not the allergens in the air if the house is sealed well. I visual show the customer on my Magne. the change in pressure from a filtrete filter and Merv 8 pleated air filter. Its amazing how easlity it is to convert most customer and help them save a boat load of money from buying a $30 restrictive POS filter. To use these filter, which do filter out particulates well, you need to design a duct system taking into account the serious pressure drop created by them. I really do have the fiberglass and plastic blue mesh washable filter but in some cases these filter are need to prevent systems from tripping on limit.. Some Hacks ive seen low gas pressure creating serious danger to their customer which is sad. They customer that insist on using 3M filers even after demonstrating the problems they cause i usually hand them brochures on new equipment when they ask why i tell them that their equipment will fail prematurely because of the tremendous strain they are placing on it. Would you drive you car with very low tire pressure or not change the oil as well as other maintence? Using car dealship pricing comparisions to furnace repair it a great way to help a customer decide on replace and repair as well as other factor such as effeciency and provided warrantys with new product compared to that of part replacing. When a compressor fails i ask them if they would replace a engine on a 10 year old car, Bam done deal new condensing unit. Treat your customer with respect and be honest and it will pay off..


    I APOLOGIZE for my ranting. I just had a bad day dealing with hacks and having to redo their work which makes everything take at least twice as lond as it should be!!
    Last edited by Nytefog; 09-27-2012 at 11:52 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    84
    I wonder if my boss will let me hand copies of that post to the people that complain about how much we cost. Their is nothing like the look on peoples faces when you show them a before and after printout - Priceless.


    "I don't know why it be like it is, but it do"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central NJ Area
    Posts
    788
    One other important thing i wanted to add is concerning talking to customer. 95% of the time they have absolutely not idea about how a HVAC system works and nor do most of them care. Its best to find things to compare issue, problems and uses of the HVAC system to it make it easier for them to understand. You could bable on about static pressure, combustion analysis, ignitors flame sensors and so forth. Customer will nod and pretend to understand because they feel ignorant because they have no idea what you talking about which is not good at all. An example is I refer to static pressure as blood pressure. Increasin blood pressure put more strain on everything which can lead to heart diesease, heat exhanger/limit and further complications. This will give the customer a better idea and seriousness of having such an issue.

    BTW, tell them to STOP buy those 3M filter. I feel they decept people, by not listing pressure drop or even a MERV rating , but i have alergies and i need those! Ms. or Mrs. these filter having nothing on a high quality air cleaner the removes small particulates as well as destroy and bateria and viruses in the poor indoor air quality studies which may be the issue not the allergens in the air if the house is sealed well. I visual show the customer on my Magnehelic the change in pressure from a filtrete filter and Merv 8 pleated air filter. Its amazing how easlity it is to convert most customer and help them save a boat load of money from buying a $30 restrictive POS filter. Ive sold more Carrier GAP air cleaner from performing this test and have very happy customer. To use 3M filter, which do filter out particulates well, you need to design a duct system taking into account the serious pressure drop created by them. I really do have the fiberglass filter but in some cases these filter are need to prevent systems from tripping on limit. Some Hacks ive expereinced them low gas pressure creating serious danger to their customer which is sad. The customers that insist on using 3M filers even after demonstrating the problems they cause i usually hand them brochures on new equipment when finishing paper work. They ask why i tell them that their equipment will fail prematurely because of the tremendous strain they are placing on it. Would you drive you car with very low tire pressure or not change the oil as well as other maintence? Using car dealship pricing comparisions to furnace repair it a great way to help a customer decide on replace and repair as well as other factor such as effeciency and provided warrantys with new product compared to that of part replacing. When a compressor fails i ask them if they would replace a engine on a 10 year old car, Bam done deal new condensing unit except for those few stubborn that know more than you. Two month after replacing that compressor you are sure to have another part breaks down. Now you go a new diagnostic fee and then the repair fee. Then they get upset saying you were their only a few months ago. I explain to them i suggested a unit replacement but you insisted on replacing parts on a old system, i tell them prepare for this to continue to happen. Nothing last for every and old worn parts do break what do you expect. Save a penny.... Treat your customer with respect and be honest and it will pay off... If customer are defiante and prefer not to take your advice adn then complain when problems occur in the futre the blame you. Your better off not having such a customer. I have flat out fired customers which really baffles them like it can't happen lol. I explain that their are plenty of hack outfits that would better suit your needs..


    I APOLOGIZE for my ranting. I just had a bad day dealing with hacks and having to redo their work which makes everything take at least twice as lond as it should be!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central NJ Area
    Posts
    788
    Quote Originally Posted by da_poppa View Post
    I respectfully disagree with the statement regarding nozzle type. System 2000 with a Beckett burner uses a hollow nozzle. Using the Carlin burner on an EK-1 a hollow nozzle is specified but on the EK-2 a solid nozzle is specified. If using a Riello burner on the EK-1 a solid nozzle is specified, on an EK-2 a hollow nozzle is specified.

    If you check the Beckett OEM spec guide you'll find that quite a few new systems specify hollow nozzles.

    As far as stack temps, System 2000 shows a range of 350 - 450º. Higher temps can be an indication of a dirty boiler, too much excess air or overfiring.

    As far as filters, I agree to an extent. If the oil supply is clean using only a spinon filter is fine. If the oil tends to be dirty, use a conventional felt or wool filter at the tank and a spin on at the burner.
    Sometimes trying different nozzle then the ones specified from the manufactuer can be used because you can run into situations where a differnet nozzle can help with better all operation. Kind of like using a small GPH nozzle and increasing nozzle pressure. This can be especially true when you have cold oil. i believe optimum temp is in the 80-90 degree range. I spend a good amount of time trying differnt spray patterns and angles until i get that perfect burn. When stack temp and co production on startup, running, and shut down and smoke test all fall into place i record on the unit changes made for future tech to use.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event