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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5

    Noisy Oil Burner

    Hi! I hope someone can help. We had a draft inducer (old chimney with a few turns) and fresh air kit installed in Dec. on recommendation by our oil company tech because of nozzle problems, sooting up. Chimney was cleaned in Sept. and is clear. Now, the techs have been out every 2 weeks because the burner pulsates and runs rough. They've replaced the oil pump, adj. the pressure and changed the nozzle size (per the sticker on the side of the boiler), The last tech put a coffee can(!) under the burner to help keep it tipped into the boiler because it was leaking onto our floor underneath. The efficiency has gone done considerably (they leave the printout of the stack test). Last tech was out here last Wed. & ran fine for a day then started running rough & noisy. Im a stay at home mom, so I hear it all day long. Scares me. The oil co. tech is coming out tomorrow afternoon again. I like our oil co., but this can't be profitable for them. (We have a contract).
    Also, the last tech said the draft inducers safety switch isn't wired into the burner to shut down in event it doesn't run. Is this a problem? I don't want to die of CO poisoning, but he said it wouldn't affect the draft that much. Can anyone shed light on this problem? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    3,708
    Sounds like draft issue to me

    Have them install a honeywell r7184p burner control along with a delay oil valve.This should solve the problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Northern Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,032
    Quote Originally Posted by Momof3 View Post
    (1) We had a draft inducer installed because of nozzle problems, sooting up.

    (2) Now, the techs have been out every 2 weeks because the burner pulsates and runs rough. They've replaced the oil pump, adj. the pressure and changed the nozzle size (per the sticker on the side of the boiler),

    (3) The last tech put a coffee can(!) under the burner to help keep it tipped into the boiler because it was leaking onto our floor underneath.

    (4) The efficiency has gone done considerably (they leave the printout of the stack test).

    (5) Last tech was out here last Wed. & ran fine for a day then started running rough & noisy. Im a stay at home mom, so I hear it all day long. Scares me.

    (6) The oil co. tech is coming out tomorrow afternoon again. I like our oil co., but this can't be profitable for them. (We have a contract).

    (7) Also, the last tech said the draft inducers safety switch isn't wired into the burner to shut down in event it doesn't run. Is this a problem? I don't want to die of CO poisoning, but he said it wouldn't affect the draft that much. Can anyone shed light on this problem? Thanks!
    First I'll appologise for quoting your whole post and then seperating it, but I found so many different disturbing things in it I wanted to make sure I addressed each one in turn.

    #1) If the boiler had just been installed and started showing problems from the start on an old chimney I could see the addition of a draft inducer. BUT if this was a condition that all of a sudden presented itself I would be concerned that maybe the chimney was deteriorating to the point of needing to be replaced. Is the chimney an internal or external? (goes up through the house or up the outside) A lot of other problems could also have caused the burner to start to sooting up and pulsating. Did they document the draft over the fire before and after the installation of the inducer?

    #2) Sounds to me like your burner is still experiencing the same problem it had before the inducer was installed and they're still not sure what the original problem was so they've started throwing other parts at it.

    #3) I'm going to write down the "putting a coffee can under the burner" one All them years of actually FIXING the problem and I could've been just ignoring it and applying bandaides so to speak! If the oil is leaking out from the bottom of the burner there are only two problems that will make this happen that I've seen. ONE is the oil pump seal is leaking on the shaft due to high vacumn from the pump to the tank or a bad pump out of the box. TWO is the oil flow isn't stopping emmediately when the burner shuts down. This oil will usually flow back down the burner tube and drip on the floor. This is caused by either a defective pump, or more than likely a leak in the suction line from the tank to the burner causing air to get into the oil. The air is compressed between the pump and the nozzle when running, as soon as the pump quits the air expands and continues to push oil out of the nozzle. This causes sooting and rumbling and loss of efficiency and poor ignition and and and and.......

    #4) See last line above. I'm impressed with the fact they leave a printout, but I'm concerned that they're training stops at knowing how to use the gadgets and is lacking when it comes to common sense oil burner operation and maintainence. And there should be draft readings either printed out by the testing equipment or hand written by the tech. If there isn't they're not doing the complete job.

    #5) Being scared is a good thing, it means you're not happy with the way things are going and you're still pressuring them to fix what you feel isn't right. Stay on it and insist that they send out someone that has decades of oil service experience.

    #6) Don't worry one bit about how much it's costing them. Everyone in this business pays for their education. Some just pay more for it than others. The multiple trips and the costs to your oil supplier is his cost of learning how to train his people how to do it right the first time.

    #7) Of course the safety switch won't effect the draft that much. It's only job is to shut down the equipment incase there's a PROBLEM with the draft! This one you should be scared about.

    You need to call the owner of this company. Tell him that you are not the least bit satisfied with what their service people have been unable to fix with your system. I'd tell him what the last service tech told you about the safety switch.... if you don't get a response that the person is mortified you'd be told such a thing and that he will personally be out with a SENIOR tech to take care of the problem.... tell them not to bother sending anyone else out to your home. Tell them you're going to be contacting another service company to look over their work, fix what is wrong, wire the safety the way the manufacturer intended it to be wired and that you'll be sending them the bill for it all.
    If you have a local government inspector that oversees this kind of work I strongly suggest getting in touch with them and having them take a look.
    I'm sorry for going off on this one, but from what you've described these people have no business servicing or working on oil equipment PERIOD!
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    993

    oil burner

    What make of burner is it? And what type of equipment is it on? Boiler, furnace? Working for an oil co., I see and hear about this kind of thing all the time. The co. needs to "step up to the plate" and send someone to repair this thing properly. Most oil burner mfr's have tech lines you can call if you run into a situation that you can't figure out after exhausting all possibilities. There are all kinds of things that can cause this problem, and without being there, almost impossible to diagnose. At least the co. is using up-to-date combustion test equipment.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5
    Thanks so much for answering! Our chimney is outside, the liner is good we're told. The oil co. said we had a poor draft (so did the previous oil co. we had) Its just the way the chimney flue bends they say (been that way for 40 years though) Our boiler worked OK before the inducer was installed, just a yearly cleaning and maybe once the nozzle had to be changed because it was dirty. Of course, we paid for the inducer and the fresh air kit (wasn't in the contract) but that was OK if we needed it. They're the pros. Should we ask them to take the inducer out? It has all started since then. When they installed the inducer, they also inspected the chimney to make sure it wasn't falling apart. The burner is an EZ1 Carlin, the boiler is about 10 years old. Came with the house when we bought it. (Yes, it ran fine then) The tech that put the coffee can under the burner did state that the oil flowed back down the burner tube, so he propped it up. It looks stupid! (would you like me to post a picture?) Plus, its never the same tech, so unless they read the novel being written on the side of the boiler, they all do the same thing over. Oh, they've replaced the oil pump twice too (says so on the service tag) Our boiler is looking like a bulletin board. I'm not sure if they did testing before the draft inducer installation. They did test it after. I would have never known about the inducer safety switch if the last tech didn't say something. Our oil co. is a large well respected business, but I'm beginning to wonder. I'm looking at the manual for the inducer and it says there should be a "prover switch" wired in. Is this the same as a safety switch? Because it doesn't look like there is one wired. Also has a paragraph in the manual on safety interlock - "the PS1505 Fan proving switch which is designed to disable the appliance if the inducer fails." And it leaves a spot for someone to sign it stating this test was done. But its blank. Now I'm really scared! My husband is going to talk to the service supervisor tomorrow and now that we are informed, we will demand they repair it so its safe and runs right. Thanks for all your help! I'll keep you informed on how this pans out. I just want our boiler to run smooth like it used to!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    You need someone who is willing to spend at least a couple of hours going through the whole system with all its bandaids, determine what is needed and what isn't and make it right.
    An exterior chimney with offsets on a fairly efficient 10 year old boiler probably never ran right before the draft inducer. I don't believe the story about it running fine before the inducer unless it was way underfired.
    With the first (older) inefficient boiler with a proper fire and 600 degree plus stack temps it might have run ok because the higher stack gas temps will vent faster. Hot air rises faster than warm air.
    But it does sound like perhaps the inducer may be causing too high a draft(just a guess) because of the pulsations. This could be corrected by them by adjusting the draft regulator. Provided they check all the important readings like draft, smoke, co2%, and stack temp.
    But the pulsations could be any combination of burner adjustments and nozzle size that are out of whack.
    Get their best tech out there and if he can't solve it then get another company.
    And yes you need the proving switch wired in correctly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5
    Thanks for your reply! Im not sure what underfired is. But it did run fine or at least sounded like it ran fine since the yearly service check in August 2006 and also before that (of course, it was summer and we only used it for hot water). We had problems in Dec, thats when the tech said we needed the fresh air kit & inducer. I did see in the manual for the inducer where it did state (in bold lettering) that the switch needed to be wired in before operation. So, right now the way it is, it's not safe. I don't want to be a pain to the oil co. but my family's safety is paramount. My husband is going to take your suggestions and ask that they send the best (senior?) tech out to figure out the problem and have them wire the inducer in safely. Hopefully, they will agree with us. Thanks again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    Quote Originally Posted by Momof3 View Post
    Thanks for your reply! Im not sure what underfired is. But it did run fine or at least sounded like it ran fine since the yearly service check in August 2006 and also before that (of course, it was summer and we only used it for hot water). We had problems in Dec, thats when the tech said we needed the fresh air kit & inducer. I did see in the manual for the inducer where it did state (in bold lettering) that the switch needed to be wired in before operation. So, right now the way it is, it's not safe. I don't want to be a pain to the oil co. but my family's safety is paramount. My husband is going to take your suggestions and ask that they send the best (senior?) tech out to figure out the problem and have them wire the inducer in safely. Hopefully, they will agree with us. Thanks again!
    Underfired means a nozzle size that is below the boilers' rating plate. But if the boiler is 10 years old it is common practice to slightly undersize the nozzle because of a poor draft. Some of the newer "boilers" have an option of usually 3 size nozzles that can be used. But the "burner" has to be adusted accordingly. But I don't know what make and model boiler you have. Some like the Buderus boiler you can only use one size and type nozzle.
    It is possible that if the tech installed a larger nozzle to accomodate the better draft with the draft inducer, that the head positioning bar wasn't changed to the one that is sized to the nozzle used. There are 3 or 4 little "plates" or bars that come with the Carlin Elite for each size nozzle. Sometimes they are left in the burner in the space provided or left hanging in the pouch on a string on the nozzle line or with the literature or end up in the techs pocket.
    Of course at this point i am only guessing as I can't see anything from here.
    But the Carlin Elite is a very good burner and should have no problem running great with a proper draft and proper burner setup.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    993

    mixed emotions

    As I sit here reading all the posts, I can't help saying to myself "Self, I hope this isn't one of our customers." Then the other side kicks in, and says " I hope this is one of our customers, so we can send in the right person, maybe even the Carlin rep (Carlin EZ-1 burner) and make things right." Am I sick or what?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5
    Yes, it must have been underfired then because they did change the nozzle size quite a few times from what was originally there (I think from 1.00 to .70 to .75 by whats on the service tag, but I could be wrong, it's hard to decipher the handwriting ). Can that affect efficiency too? We live in CT and while it hasn't been that cold all season, we've been burning oil like crazy. It wasn't this bad last year. We'll see what happens today when they come back out. The techs that have been here have all been pleasant, even if they haven't been able to fix it yet. A big thanks to all who have replied! Your insight is valuable and enlightening for a clueless homeowner!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    993

    it depends...

    You can change the nozzle to one that has a different gallons per hour rating, but you can change the rating of that same nozzle by adjusting the pump pressure. There are alot of unknown factors to consider. Good luck, let us know how you make out. Since you live in CT, the main office for Carlin is in MA, so getting a rep out if needed shouldnt be a problem

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5
    Well the 2 techs that were here spent much time tweaking the system. They adjusted the pump pressure, put in a new nozzle, got rid of the coffee can (I really should have taken a picture!) and pitched the burner the right way. They explained to me that I did not need a safety switch on the inducer because we have a natural draft, it just needs a little boost. They say it could run safely (but noisy) if the inducer motor dies. They also put a weight(?) on the draft damper because there was too much draft. They said it was a combination of a bunch of little problems that snowballed into one big one. They were nice, helpful and explained everything they did. I believe one was a senior tech. While I like their service, I hope we don't see them again till our yearly check!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    654
    As I was reading down thru the posts about your issues, I was thinking, I would change the nozzle, make sure pump pressure was at least 140 psi and rock steady, make sure pump vacuum was comfortably less than 10", and make sure draft was not too much and definately not too little. I hate draft inducers and would do everything in my power to not use it. They do have their need in special situations, maybe your situation is just that as you've mentioned a crappy chimney condition. It appears your company did nearly everything I would have and actually probably did all of what I mentioned as you probably didn't record or actually know what they did during the repair. End result is you have the BEST domestic oil burner money can buy (there is no better burner than the EZ1!!) and properly setup and maintained, it will give yrs of dependable and efficient service.

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