Greetings all -
I've come to ask advice about my verrrrry old oil furnace. I don't know much about it other than it's labeled American Standard and is probably 40 years old at least.
To start with, I plan to change the sucker out (probably for gas) this summer, so I'm not really worried about longevity.
I did have it 'serviced' by a well-repped local house in the fall. I use the quotes because he wasn't down there too long...
So... back in mid-November we had a real cold snap (cold for around here, down into the mid/high teens). Maybe by coincidence, the first real cold morning we woke up and the house felt pretty cold. Turns out the furnace had (apparently) failed to light and tripped off it's safety.
So I pressed the reset and crossed my fingers. At least 20 seconds later, just as I had given up hope and went looking for the space heaters, it whooshed to life and leaked a fair bit of smoke in doing so.
It then proceeded to work totally normally for a number of weeks. I should add that in the almost 7 years I've lived here, it has always behaved about the same, sometimes it fires instantly, sometimes it takes 5-10 seconds to light. I have no idea if that's "normal", but this was the first time it had tripped off for no apparent reason (such as running out of oil!).
I hoped it was a fluke, but it happened again a few weeks ago, and then a third time this morning, which officially makes it a recurring phenomenon. For what it's worth the 2nd and 3rd time it didn't take quite so long to light or make nearly as much smoke.
So now I come to you good folks for advice. I'm not entirely sure what I'm asking for other than theories on what exactly is happening... bearing in mind that I haven't actually observed it fail to fire, I'm just assuming that's what's happening... maybe it's the safety that's buggered? Could I be getting water or air in the (one-pipe) line from the (underground) tank? Air leaking in at the filter? It doesn't seem like it would be an issue with the igniter or gun since it's so intermittent... but what do I know?
In case anyone's concerned, I'm not thinking of trying to fix it myself... just trying to get an idea what's going on.
Thanks much for any input.