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Heating
Oil Furnace Q's & A's

Problems | Hot Water | Heating Systems | Boiler
Replacement | Additives | Tune-ups | Thermocouple
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Problems

Furnace Behaving Strangely

My 15 year old gas furnace has been acting strange lately. When the thermostat asks for heat, sometimes the pilot will light, burn for a while, then go out only to light again a few seconds later. Other times, the main burner will light, burn for a while, then go out and relight.  Eventually the blower will turn on and the furnace runs. But even while it is running sometimes both the pilot and main burner will go out and relight several times. Do you have any idea what the problem could be?

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I basically am having the same problem as you. Is your furnace by chance a lennox conservator. If so I have been told that there is a kit that will replace all the gas valve and other components.There is a problem in the fact that it would cost around %$400.00 Canadian to put in the conversion kit.The problem becomes "do you replace your furnace or pay $400.00 and replace your furnace 5 years from now. I have been told that the heat exchanger lasts approximately 15 years. so I am going with a new furnace.

 

Heater not coming on - it's not the Thermostat... PLEASE HELP

My wall-heater type Furnace is not coming on when I adjust the thermostat to a higher temperature. Therefore, I replaced the thermostat. It still doesn't come on. What could it be? There are two wires coming out of the wall - a white one & a red one.

(Is this Oil hot water?) Well, I am having similar problems, and couldn't get my upstairs circuit to turn on the furnace. I have circulator problems, though. Here's what I did.

Check your red and white wires at the furnace, they are usually in a brown insulation. Touching the two together should kick off the heater cycle, so to test, you may need to attach two separate pieces of single wires to where they connect at your furnace, they usually are attached to a small transformer with screw connections or spades. This will simulate your feed wire and thermostat. It may have a delay, so you may need to leave them connected for a few minutes, if it doesn't kick on, the problem is on the furnace end. If it does, the feed wire may be cut somewhere. (They should spark at the thermostat, and with your test wires, it's Ok it is low current and 40volts) Process of elimination my friend!

Oil burner won't turn on (sometimes)

Every once in a while the furnace will not turn on until the reset button on the chimney pipe is pushed. Then it is fine for about a week and the same thing happens again. The furnace was serviced 6 month ago.

You could have water in the fuel(not unusual) and once in a while you get a shot of it through the burner. Turn the fuel off, put a clean pan under the filter assembly and disassemble. See if there is any evidence of water. If so, check with your oil delivery people to see if they have the product you can use in your fuel.

The problem could be something other than that, but try that first.




Hot Water

Hot water , oil furnace

Model, new yorker, 223,000 B T U., 4 Zone heat set up. 12 years old. In ranch style home.

My question's are as follows:

No.1 Best way to bleed all 4 zones.

No.2 Should the water be changed.

No.3 Would anti freeze in system make a difference to fuel cost.

No.4 My setting's are 180 to 160.

No.5 What do you think of 200 to 180.

No.6 What do you think of 160 to 140.

No.7 should the setting's change because I have a ranch style home compared to a three story home.

No.8 Would warm oil burn better than cold oil,my oil drum is outside in the cold,I've given some thought to putting a 5 gal drum inside hooked in the line just before the furnace.

No.9 Would insulating the inside pipes make much difference to fuel consumption,all my pipes are in a 4 ft. crawl space easy to get at.

No.10 What size should the return pipe be on a 4 zone system, mine is, 1/and 1/4 inch's and extends away from furnace about 50 ft.To pick up other 4 zones.

I will try to answer all your questions (and maybe even a few you didn't post but probably have).

1. From the sounds of the description you gave me, you have for feed lines running from the boiler, one for each zone. Each one should have a "zone valve" on the line, and maybe even a shutoff valve. You then have 1 - 1 1/4" return pipe, which is probably attached to the circulator. There may be a shut-off valve on this, and there is probably a drain valve located under or near this circulator. Begin the process by turning off the boiler, connecting a garden hose to the drain valve on the return side, and turning off the 4 zone valves. Each zone valve should have a lever that can be moved to manually open the valve. Do this, one at a time, until the water coming out of the hose is free of any air bubbles. If the boiler is warm, but the house was not calling for heat, then you should also know when the water has made a complete revolution when it gets warm. Do this for each zone, and then when done turn back off the drain valve and turn on the boiler.

2. It is usually not recommended to change the water, as fresh water will bring in fresh minerals which could, over time, damage the inside of the boiler. The bleeding process described above will actually flush out a bunch of the existing water, and the impurities that are in it. No additional draining is necessary.

3. Anti-freeze will not make any noticeable difference in fuel costs. Although anti-freeze takes longer to cool off, it also takes longer to heat up. There is also the need to only use "non-toxic" anti-freeze, and in doing so will require a complete flushing and replacing of the stuff every 3 years (to help prevent corrosion caused by the non-toxic anti-freeze).

4, 5, 6 & 7. Normal settings on a hot water heating system is either 160/180 or 170/190. Bringing up those settings to the 180/200 range will not be of any benefit. These numbers remain the same irregardless of the type/style of home. What would create a need for higher temperatures is if the amount of baseboard was not designed to properly heat the home, or if the temperature generally runs below the 0 degree mark, and you are finding that the system is not heating the home properly.

8. I would suggest contacting your oil company, but I don't believe there is any difference. You only want to make sure that the oil does not get to cold, as then it would "congeal (like freeze)" and would not flow through the pipes, making it impossible to burn (since it won't reach the burner). Using winter additives, and making sure the oil lines are not located in an area where they will freeze (below 0 degrees) is a good idea.

9. Insulating the pipes would make a difference in fuel consumption, especially because they are in a crawl space. I will warn you, though, that in doing so you will reduce the amount of heat those pipes give off during the winter, and your floors will be colder. Even though fuel consumption would go up, it would be good to have fins installed on the return piping in the crawl space. This will help keep this space warmer, which will keep your floors warmer, which would make the whole house feel warmer.

10. It appears the size of the piping is correct, assuming that the home is a normal sized home (and not some monster ranch with only 4 zones).

11. Information you did not ask for The New Yorker is a steel boiler, commonly known as a builders special because they are priced cheaper than a cast iron, and are lighter to maneuver during installation. The down side to steel is that they typically do not last more than 20 years. When you notice rust beginning to develop around the jacket or heating coil, start saving your pennies, as the time is drawing near for replacement. When you replace, consider a Weil McLain cast iron boiler. They make a good product with a good warranty, and in doing so you will also notice a savings on fuel costs (cast iron maintains it's heat longer, and generally provides a greater heating surface for more efficient heat transfer).

Hot Water Home Heat

I have recently purchased a home with hot water heat and base board radiant heaters in my home. I hear bubbling sounds in the water lines and some of the heaters and pipes don't get hot. It there something I can do to correct this? Some rooms get warmed nicely though. I thought the whole system was connected.

They're all connected. You have air in your lines. Locate the outlet pipe supplying heat to your house. The inlet is the one with the circulator piped into it. Locate the other large diameter one. That's the supply side to the heating system. Piped into that, somewhere near the furnace, usually in a vertical position, should be a vent, a small metal or plastic, can shaped thing with what will look like a tire valve mounted on top. If it has a cap on it, loosen it or take it off and see if air comes out when the system is running and calling for heat. This is a little trick I've had to do once or twice a year if it sticks. When it's calling for heat and I've heard the bubbling noise, I've stuck something small, like a pen tip into the valve to depress it slightly to let the air out. Be careful of the hot water that may spit out. Works, though. Once you get the air out, it should be fine. I'd check for leaks in pipes also. That can introduce air into the system.

One more thing....
You may have multiple zones. It seems unlikely that even with air in some pipes they would not get warm at all. Check for additional thermostats. Typically a house is plumbed with more than one zone. (You can tell how many you have by looking at the number of pipes leading back into the furnace, before they all join up and enter in)

Hot water baseboard AIR purging

My house had a new loop added to the heating system a week before I moved in 4 months ago (house 20yr old). It originally only had the d-stairs loop. Don't get good heat upstairs at all. Seems to be air in the line, and I've tried adding water, and opening the purgers, I get some air out each time, but still have poor circulation up there. Moreover, the thermostat seems to do nothing, but I do hear some gurgling everywhere in the system.

You do have air in the lines. Either call back the original installer (you are still under warranty) or call a local plumbing supply company who carries your brand boiler. They will often tell you what steps are needed to bleed the system at no charge.

 

Dripping sound in hot water heat system

I have a dripping sound that I hear just when the heating system kicks in. The sound is in an area where there are no radiators for the heat, and I have looked for evidence of water damage (leaking pipes), and there isn't any. Any suggestions?

Dripping sound or ticking sound. I am thinking that it is ticking.. Inside a wall?? If you follow the hot water piping, it may pass through that area. When the water starts to flow and the pipe heats and expands, it often makes a ticking noise as it moves through a stud or support.

Does this sound like it? Since you don't notice any water leaking.. this is my guess.

Steam Heat

I have a 72 yr. old home with 12 yr. old boiler. the problem is that the last radiator on the system doesn't stay hot like the rest in the house. After the house reaches the temerature. that the thermostat was set, then the last radiator cools down and won't get hot again unless you shut the system down and start over I checked the water level and also made sure the radiators were out of level so the condensate would drain as required.

Did you try venting the last radiator? If there is air in the system collecting up there, that might be the problem.. That is a shot in the dark.

The other thought, may be a loop seal in the piping on the way up to the last radiator. It could be that water collects in it and stops the flow of steam up. I doubt you have access to all the piping, but if you could follow it perhaps there is a bend down then up again that is trapping the water.

Heating system, Forced hot water

After changing the whole house water filter, the heating system doesn't work properly. Steam is spewing out the relief valve and the second floor is always cold. Do I need to bleed the system? If so, how?

You probably didn't drain down the heating system... well you shouldn't have to install the filter. But.. did you close any valves on the heating system?? Check all the valves.. with the exception of any drain valves, all your valves should be open.

Weil-Mclain Oil boiler

We have a problem with an oil boiler furnace. Several have looked into it, charged a bunch, left, and the problem still exists. We replaced the igniter (the square black box, the electrodes, and the control that tells the heater to shut down etc. the thermostat is fine. The heater will burn for awhile heating up the water to 170 degrees, and seems fine. Then the flame will begin to die down, then spit and then go out. However, one night, the oil kept coming out and the floor had two rivers of oil on it. So the eye is adjusted, the control that controls the eye is replaced, the igniter replaced, the oil filter replaced, new nozzles of 70 and 80, and the oil pressure is set about 100. It is about 26 years old. It has me baffled. Do you think that once the oil pump gets hot, it slips and causes the thing to shut down?

And how hard would it be just to find ANY heater/pump and stick in the housing hole where this broken thing is. It is a water heating type, meaning it heats water to heat the house.

It sounds like a fuel problem to me. If the flame goes out while the burner is running, (before kicking out on safety) it has to be losing fuel. My guess would be a restriction in the fuel line. As the burner runs it slowly, draws a vacuum on the line until it gets the pump can't provide enough fuel to sustain flame. After the burner shuts down, the vacuum slowly refills the line with oil. Restrictions are commonly found in the filter, pump strainer, line, or tank valve.

Weil-Mclain oil furnace

We have a problem with a furnace. Several have looked into it, and the problem still exist. We replaced the igniter, and the control that tells the heater to shut down etc.

The heater will burn for awhile heating up the water to 170 degrees, and seems fine. But then the flame will begin to die down, then spit and then go out. However, one night, the oil kept coming out and the floor had two rivers of oil on it. So the eye is adjusted, the control that controls the eye is replaced, the igniter replaced, the oil filter replaced, new nozzles of 70 and 80, and the oil pressure is set about 100. It is about 26 years old. It's got me baffled. Do you think that once the oil pump gets hot, it slips and causes the thing to shut down?

And how hard would it be just to find ANY heater/pump and stick in the housing hole where this broken thing is?

It is a water heating type, meaning it heats water to heat the house. It sounds like you had a few problems that made one huge one. Plus, you said "several have looked at it". That may be another problem. You should have found one person and stuck with him. There's nothing harder than trying to figure out what the guy before you did. That goes for anything, whether it be a mechanic, plumber or electrician.

"Sure" on the burner. Tell the supplier exactly what you have and you can buy a replacement for it. To bad, you probably have a bundle wrapped up in this already.

Well, I found a guy that found a used one, slapped in there in 28 minutes and the house went from 47 degrees to 68 in not time.

That's Super you got it straightened out. Glad I could help at least a little. Boilers are like a leaky roof, you don't know you have a problem until it rains. >)

Heating Systems

Heating systems

I'm considering changing my heating system from electric base board to propane gas or oil hot water baseboard. Which system is more efficient and cost effective.

Although you already have 2 suggestions, I felt I should put my 2 cents in as well. There are many different answers, depending on the area of the country you belong in, and the availability of various fuels. Also, you should keep an eye toward the future. Let me explain.

I used to live in the northern most county of New Jersey. It was fairly rural, without much building. Natural gas was for the most part not available. Therefore your choices were oil or propane. Competition was fierce, which kept oil prices lower than propane. Combined with the greater efficiency of oil, it usually meant oil was the answer. The only reason to use propane was if you needed a direct fired boiler (due to restrictions on installing a chimney). Lately, however, the "volatility" of buried oil tanks has gone haywire, and would often sway a potential home buyer if they even felt there was a chance of buried oil on their property. Now, as the area is becoming more populated, it is becoming more and more feasible for the natural gas companies to run gas mains into the area. Natural gas is a much less expensive alternative, and does not have the potential pollution drawbacks associated with oil. Natural gas burns cleaner, quieter, albeit less efficient. The low price keeps the overall cost lower.

I have recently moved to a more centralized county in New Jersey. It is much more populated, and the presence of natural gas is commonplace. Most homebuyers are expecting natural gas, and turn their thumbs down on a home that offers oil heating. A friend of mine is experiencing that situation now, where his Dad had installed oil in their home, and when the gas lines came through, he would not even have the main run to the house. Now, trying to sell, he is finding that most buyers want the ability to have natural gas at their disposal.

So, as you can see, you need to not only make a decision for today, but for the future as well. Before I depart, let's talk about the type of system.

I know you mentioned hot water baseboard, but one of the follow-ups mentioned "scorched air". (I am a plumber, not a tin knocker, therefore this part of the program may seem slightly biased).

Yes, scorched air has the ability to be connected in such a way as to have central air conditioning installed in the home at the same time. The downfall is that heat rises, and cool falls, and to design a system in a home that does both heating and cooling efficiently is a nightmare, not to mention very costly.

That leaves hot water baseboard. It is much easier to install a 3/4" pipe in a wall, than to install a 4" x 6" metal duct. The hot water heat is quieter, cleaner and I believe more efficient. As for central cooling - purchase yourself a few of those new "split systems" (originally touted as ductless air conditioning). They are quiet, efficient and work great. The combination of the two systems will not only give you the creature comforts you deserve, but once installed and operating correctly, will help curb your utility costs as well.


Boiler

Boiler settings

I have a boiler for heat and domestic hot water. So of course it has duel controls.

What is a decent setting for each stat, and how exactly does that work. You have a low and a high with a differential dial. The diff. I have never touched. It's set at 15 degree.

Is the low one for the domestic and the high for heat or what.
I guess what I'm asking is what are the best settings for summer, then winter months. I'm in the northeast so under "normal" conditions, our winters can be fairly cold. But on the other hand my wife and I don't take extremely hot, long showers. We're the warm, get in and get out types.
Do I vary it for the time of year or do I set it somewhere and leave it alone, and what are the best hi&lo settings?

I too live in the Northeast.
The high is for what temp it should shut off.
The low is for when it comes on.
They should be set about 20 deg apart. (this keeps the unit from cycling on and off... or letting the temps be too extreme, sort of a balance)
The high should be set for 180, the low 160... typically. These settings work well for the heat to work.... A colder temp may get you better heat transfer to the water from the fire, but take longer to heat the house.. A hotter temp starts to negatively effect your boilers efficiency. As for changing them... nah..leave them there year round. A hotter temp means you will mix more cold with the hot for your shower, but you are using less hot water... its a wash. (hahaha) Anyway.. the short answer was:
180 high
160 low

Oil boiler, zone trouble

I have a 3 year old oil boiler. There are two Zones. The boiler runs, but not long enough to get up to the temperature on the thermostat.

The boiler is reaching the right pressure before shutting down but it doesn't seem to reach anything above 66 degrees. We have a Sparco powervent on the expansion tank that is suppose to let any air out. What do you think the problem might be?

I've serviced and installed heating equipment for 15 yr. and my first choice for home heating is oil-fired hot water heat. The key to a reliable and efficient system is proper installation and an annual tune-up by a good oil burner technician. That being said, I would need more info to help you with this problem. Has the furnace ever worked well? If so, has anything in your home changed? (New carpet, remodeling, new thermostat, etc.) What is the highest temperature the boiler reaches? What is the pressure? (Same gauge) When was the last time the boiler was properly cleaned? Let me know.

The boiler worked fine the first year. Last year the hot water was not heating properly and it was the primary zone, so we shut down the hot water heater and the rest of the boiler worked fine for the winter. In the fall of this year, we opened the zone for the hot water heater and it worked fine until the day after Christmas. The PSI is 20, it seems as if the water is not circulating through the pipes. The boiler has never been cleaned. We burn kerosene not oil because our tank is outside. We have a unit called Sparco Power track. All the wiring the the power track operators came as one. The power tracks can be replaced individually if necessary.

It sounds like a problem with the zoning system (Sparco) or air in the lines or possibly a bad circulator. If your boiler has never been cleaned, spend the money to have it done, it will be a wise investment. The biggest concern I would have is getting someone in there who is honest and has proper training. Does your oil supplier have a service department? If you live in northeast US, I could possibly recommend someone. If not, check with other people you know who heat with oil and ask them who they use. In my area, there are less good heating service companies than bad.

Boiler furnace problem

In my house, I have a boiler furnace w/three thermostats to control heat in the house, where it is transferred to wall coil radiators. I came home and my wife notified me the furnace was making a loud screeching sound. I ventured down to find it is coming from a motor that is secured into the piping w/4 screws.

I believe this is the circulating motor for the water. It sounds as if the bearings have gone in the motor. It would not shut off after turning all the thermostats off so I turned off the electricity to the motor. #1 - will this hurt my furnace by turning off this motor and having the thermostats all the way down so as not to start up the boiler system. #2 - it appears to be an easy fix..4 bolts and it looks as if it pops off, but do I have to worry about water coming out after taking engine off...and anyone buy one before..costwise?

Yes, that is the circulator. No, it doesn't hurt anything. Yes, you are going to have to replace the circulator. It's sounds as though the bearings are wiped.

To replace the circulator, if you don't have valves on either side of it, you are going to have to drain the system, but first shut off the incoming water to the boiler. If there are any other shut-off valves in the outgoing side of the heating system(other zones?),shut them off and you won't drain the whole system. There should be a drain valve near the bottom of the boiler. You DO NOT want to replace the circulator without doing this, as you will have water all over; in addition, you might be burnt.

Yes, it is an easy fix. Trace the wires back to the control box, and remember where they go. The circulator should come with gaskets or o-rings. If not, ask for them. After you make the repair, and everything is back together, you will have to refill the system. Turn the cold water supply back on and the system will fill. Somewhere over the furnace, teed into the piping, there hopefully is a small barrel-shaped device(vent) with a stem with a tire valve type cap on it. Loosen the cap after turning the supply back on. This will relieve the system of air. Once it's filled, turn the power back on,and turn whichever thermostat that controls that circulator back up to call for heat. You may have some air in the pipes(even from the other zones) for a short time, but the vent should eventually take care of that.

Hold on a second. Before you buy a new circulator pump, check this out.
Usually there is a shaft coming out of the circulator (electric) pump, which is then attached to the water pipe. In between the motor and the pump part (the part directly attached to the pipe)there is a spinning unit with springs. This is a "vibration damper" which is a unit that is supposed to prevent the vibration from the electric motor from resonating through your heating system. Cheap part..check it out.

Forgot the cost. Probably well under $100. You need it anyway, right? Gotta have heat.

Replacement

Furnace

Had the repair man out-he replaced the ignition switch on our 1989 Kenmore furnace. Came upstairs and said that we should put a new furnace on the top of our priority list. Said that lots is wrong with it, (only 10 yr. old!) I am looking for recommendations on what to purchase when she finally blows and how much to spend-he said about $2300- that sounds like a lot, but have never bought one before. I know my parents never replaced their furnace and they lived in the same home for 20 years!

Before you start thinking too hard on what to buy and how much to spend, you should look for a good, reputable repairman, (I'm not saying this one isn't), to give you a second opinion. Ask your friends/neighbors/family for a name. If you hear the same one twice, grab him.

My old one was about 30 before it gave up the ghost. I can't see a 10-year-old unit being that bad.
I replaced my furnace about 12 years ago with a Kenmore 90% efficient unit. About 8 years ago, they called and said that they had to replace the heat exchanger unit.
Of course it was free so I let them-that may be what he's talking about (Call Sears and they have to replace it for free). There is not much that can go wrong with a furnace in 10 years. If he replaced the ignition unit, there isn't much a repairman can "sense" can go wrong. He should have said- the heat exchanger is bad, or the blower bearings are bad (you would hear rattling noise). The gas lines just don't go bad. Unless you have a lot or water damage (humidity) and can SEE damage, I wouldn't listen to him.

Additives

Fuel Oil

My fuel oil tank is installed above ground outside on the south side of the house. With winter coming someone told me that the fuel oil could become sluggish if the temperature falls below 10 degrees F. Is there an additive that I can put in the tank to prevent this from happening or do I have to order a different type of fuel to run my boiler?

I work for an oil company located in Idaho. Around here 99% of all orders are for heating oil are only diesel. The reason for this is it is cheaper and almost all oil furnaces run just fine on it. You can and should put in a product that will keep your fuel from jelling up. Just ask your provider to recommend something for you.

I just checked with a fuel company in your area and he said, "heating oil is diesel fuel and stove oil is a more refined form of heating oil". So, in any event PLEASE check with your actual supplier for their recommendation.

Tune-ups

Annual HVAC inspections

We're told that we should have our heating and air conditioning systems gone over once a year by a professional. Most of the heating and cooling contractors here charge between $60 and $80 for this once-a-year inspection and tune-up. Specifically, what will the technician clean and inspect, and how long should he spent doing it on average?

I don't know what sort of heating system you have but on an oil burner, he'll change the filter, check the nozzle, contacts (change nozzle and contacts if needed), check settings, listen to it run. Clean the firebox if necessary. Pretty much; check everything for proper operation. If your air conditioner goes on the blink, that's one thing, but 60-$80 is worth the piece of mind knowing you're not going to wake up at 2am in the winter to a cold house.

I work for a company that specializes in oil-fired furnaces. They certainly should be serviced annually. My oil-fired boiler is cleaned yearly without fail. A proper "tune-up" includes a thorough cleaning of the heat exchanger or boiler flue passages, cleaning and inspecting the flue pipe, inspecting the chimney, cleaning and adjusting the burner, replacing the nozzle and filter, cleaning and adjusting the blower (if forced-air) and finally and very importantly firing the unit and adjusting it using a combustion test kit. This should take 1-1/2 to 2 hours. We charge $89.95 + parts.

Oil is a great way to heat your house and any furnace should be checked annually. Most people who do not like there oil system either have it improperly installed or have the wrong people maintaining it.

Oil furnace electrode calibration

! I recently "tuned-up" my oil furnace and in the process, I replaced the electrodes. The tune-up kit came with a gauge to space the electrode gap, but I am not sure how far in front of the nozzle the electrodes are supposed to be.The directions allude that the electrodes are in line with the nozzle. However, with the electrodes set that way the furnace does not ignite intermittently. Any help would be welcome.

Beckett and older burners 1/2" up from center, 1/8" out, 1/8" gap .
Another answer:
It depends on the burner...
My documentation states that for a Carlen CRD it is 3/16" in front of the nozzle...
For a SunRay FC Bantam it is 5/32" in front.
Both are 5/16 above the center line of the tip. However, neither is even with the tip.. so, try moving it out in front a little if you don't have the numbers.

Heating Oil Furnace getting dirty

My Snyder General furnace (12 years old) is now building up coke and I'm having to change the nozzle quite frequently. It runs for about 12 hours and then refuses to turn on until I knock off the coke and clean the nozzle. How can I correct this problem?

If you've had the nozzle out, then you probably know where everything else is. The electrodes are probably way out of adjustment, and a new nozzle probably wouldn't hurt. Clean the tips good, and loosen the bracket that keeps them in place, adjust them so they're slightly forward of and above the nozzle, and swing them in so they are about 1/4" apart, maybe a tad more. How about a new filter, too?

Thermocouple

Furnace

We have a large fuel oil heating heater in our dining room that heats the whole house. About three or four weeks ago, we lit the furnace and it wouldn't light and the oil was not coming up into the pot. After consulting many different furnace people we found one that remembered them, a Siegler, and they said, without coming out to the house, that it sounded like we needed an air control valve. He ordered it ($200) and we put it in and nothing. Then about a week ago it started coming in and we lit it and it would go out sometimes after about 6-8 hrs and sometimes less. On Christmas eve , we lit it and it has burned great until tonight (Dec. 28) and as my husband walked by he ran his hand over the top of the furnace and sure enough, no fire. Every facet of this has been checked, oil gets up to the top of the pipe but just won't flow into the pot. All the pipes have been checked and they are clear. Pump has been checked and oil runs through just fine. what do you think it could be? We do not want to spend any more money unless we know someone knows what they are talking about. Could you please offer some advice as to what we should do next.

It sounds like the thermocouple may be causing problems. Often after sitting idle, they may need a bit of preventive maintenance to get them working again. Two things to check before buying a new one. Visually check the position of the thermocouple and the pilot flame. Got to be in the flame or extremely close. You did say the lines were clean? Even to the pilot?

Next, with the furnace off, loosen the nut connecting the thermocouple tube to the control valve and pencil erase clean the end of the tube being careful to dust the rubber debris away, don't blow moisture from your breath on it or wipe it with a finger as this will cause it to oxidize (tarnish) over time. Then replace the tube and nut and try again.

Heating Oil Furnace getting dirty

My Snyder General furnace (12 years old) is now building up coke and I'm having to change the nozzle quite frequently. It runs for about 12 hours and then refuses to turn on until I knock off the coke and clean the nozzle. How can I correct this problem?

If you've had the nozzle out, then you probably know where everything else is. The electrodes are probably way out of adjustment, and a new nozzle probably wouldn't hurt. Clean the tips good, and loosen the bracket that keeps them in place, adjust them so they're slightly forward of and above the nozzle, and swing them in so they are about 1/4" apart, maybe a tad more. How about a new filter, too?




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