Oil burner smokey

Discussion in 'Boiler Forum' started by mb123, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. mb123

    mb123 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    New Paltz, NY
    Hi-

    I have a 20+ year old Weil McLean P468WT furnace with a Becket APG burner. It's been absolutely problem-free until this fall. We have had it serviced every summer.

    One morning this fall the water was cold. I hit the reset button and she started right up. I called my oil co- they sent out a tech that changed the filter. But we noticed that it started smokey at times and we could smell oil. I had to hit the reset button a few weeks later and they cleaned the end cone, adjusted the burner and checked the hot water coil gasket. A few good (but occasionally smokey) weeks-then it wouldn't start again. This time they replaced the motor on the Becket.

    Then it wouldn't start again (January at this point). The tech said he found a ground wire that may have not been connected properly. She has been running, but we still get oil-smelling start-ups, particularly in the late afternoon.

    Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    -Rich
  2. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,170
    Location:
    Maine
    Get a better technician. There are close to a dozen things that could be causing your problem.
  3. mb123

    mb123 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    New Paltz, NY
    I will do that. The ones that have been here have been less than inspiring. Any pointers on finding a good one?

    We have a service contract with the current company. We were with a small independent for years but unfortunately they were bought out by this larger company 2 years ago.

    And we had to hit the button yet again tonight- so I'll have to invite them back in the morning until I have a chance to find a new tech. What are some things they should be checking? I'm willing to ask if I know the questions.

    Thanks again.
  4. tk03

    tk03 New Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Harrisburg, pa
    As stated earlier it could be a number of things. Excessive overfire draft, wrong pump pressure, slipping pump coupling, dirty fuel line/ pump strainer, incorrect nozzle, air leaks in the oil line, head setting, dirty fan blades, dirty burner housing, much debris build-up in the combustion chanber, air adjustment or even high vacuum.
    Make sure they adjust with combustion test equipment.
  5. mb123

    mb123 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    New Paltz, NY
    Can't make this stuff up!

    Well, I called at 8:00 am and the tech arrived pretty quickly considering the snow storm we are having. I read through the previous service call receipts for him and he looks at the tank line and says, "Have you always had one line?" To which I replied yes. 7 years ago we replaced the tank and it's in another part of my basement. He says that maybe I'm losing prime. Sounds reasonable enough and when he cracks the line you can hear air being drawn in. He recommends I install a relief line back to the tank. And then he loses me...

    He says this happens as the fuel level goes lower in the tank. The first time I had this problem was a week after delivery, and then intermittently after that. He also says the pump is not self-priming. But when he reconnects the line he doesn't prime the line, he just hits the reset button and out comes some air and then fuel from the line into his bucket. How does it do that w/o self priming?

    He also checks the transformer and says he thinks it wouldn't hurt to replace it. So, he does and leaves.

    Wife goes to take a shower an hour later and no hot water. I go downstairs and see that he never connected the wires for the new transformer.:mad: Not knowing their polarity (if any), I call the company back and they send yet another tech.

    After connecting the wires, he begins exploring the starter. He could put his finger close to the red button and it would stop running. So now I have a new starter as well.

    The one thing neither of them did was put a test unit to the burner. I didn't know there was one. Now I do. Maybe I got lucky and they hit the jackpot today, but if I have problems I will insist they do that. It's beyond me why they would not do this FIRST?!

    Are you sure I need to find another service?:rolleyes:
  6. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,170
    Location:
    Maine
    I think I'll open up shop in your town. Sounds like there ain't anyone that knows how to service an oil burner around there.

    Here's what they should have done.

    Check the vacuum on the oil pump. High vacuum indicates dirty oil filter, dirty pump strainer or a clogged oil line
    Checked the pumps output pressure. Minimum 100lbs but could be as high as 160
    Check pump cut off. Should be clean, no after drip
    Check ignition transformer. Need 10,000 volts output
    Check burner motor, running amps and starting amps within the motor manufacturers specs.
    Check oil burner primary control. Output voltage and safety timing
    Check cad cell. Ohm's within acceptable specs
    Inspect and clean the nozzle assembly. Replace nozzle, adjust electrodes after inspecting them for cracks to manufacturers specs.
    Inspect the oil burner end cone
    Inspect the flue and test for proper draft at the flue and the breech
    Fire the burner and set it up using the proper combustion analyzer.

    If they did'nt do that then you got ripped off. If my tech's don't do all that I fire them. Callbacks cost me money.
  7. mb123

    mb123 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    New Paltz, NY
    If you open up shop in NY, you,re hired! Thank you for all the detailed information. When I go shopping today for a new tech I will know what to ask.

    Considering this was a service contract with my oil supplier, I didn't exactly get ripped off. For about $250 I got an annual service, another filter and cone, new transformer, motor and starter. I got a lot of frustration and wasted time, too. So, it's definitely time to move on.

    Thank you again for sharing your knowledge with me!
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