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tuneups on oil systems?

massrookie
massrookie Member Posts: 22
my normal routine is to change the filter at the tank, DO NOT bleed out the air at the canister. bleed it through the oil pump, check the primary safety at the same time. then pull out the pump screen. now check for a good flow of clean oil, if not it's time to get out the push-pull pump.

Comments

  • massrookie
    massrookie Member Posts: 22
    oil tueups

    i'd like to get an idea of what people do on the annual tune-up of an oil fired system. i'll throw my own tips in a bit later.
    pat
  • ed wallace
    ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
    oil tuneups

    change filter,clean strainer,replace nozzle,adjust electrodes,check z dimension,brush and vac,run unit check safeties,effeincy test

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620


    Furnace/Boiler Clean & Service

    When I arrive on an annual tune-up if the customer is present I first ask how the system has been running and are there any concerns that they would like addressed while I am there. After this I proceed to the heating system. I simulate a call for heat and listen to the operation of the system. This way if you hear anything that sounds out of place you can bring it to the owner’s attention before the finger gets pointed at you.

    The next thing I do is to remove the nozzle line from the tray assembly and connect my fuel gauge. I then run the unit to ensure that it is operating at the proper pump pressure. at the same time I am timing the safety of the primary control to make sure it locks out within the acceptable time frame. Now once it locks out I take notice to the cut off pressure on my fuel gauge. It should not be less than 80% of the operating pressure. I leave my gauge connected to make sure this does not drop either Now I am ready to remove the tray assembly and shine a light down the blast tube (air tube) and make sure the head or end cone are in good condition I then take the tray assembly out to my van where I will replace the nozzle inspect the porcelains electrodes ect, before leaving the boiler room or furnace room I note what type of fuel filter, fuel pump strainer and air filter I may need to return with.

    Once I return I install the tray assembly replace the strainer & filter as necessary make sure the burner housing is clean and the blower and air band are free of any dust, animal hair ect, when replacing the fuel filter this is a great opportunity to check the condition of the fuel tank, tank valve and tank legs. (Remember we are the eyes and ears of the system while we are on site!) by the way before putting that new filter in the canister it’s a good practice make sure you clean the canister thoroughly once this is done I'll be ready to bleed the fuel pump, I look at the cut off pressure one more time to make sure it has not dropped. Now I am ready to move on to the flue passages and the flue pipe.

    Next I brush and vacuum both the flues and the flue pipe. Inspect for cracks, pitting or any other damage on the heat exchanger of a furnace on a boiler I look for similar ware and tare or damage an important thing to check on sectional boiler is between the sections are they sealed or can you see between them? I would also be making sure the base of the chimney is clear and that the chimney is in fact in good operating condition. If it appears necessary I remove the burner and clean out the combustion area as well. (For a mobile home furnace you’ll definitely need to remove the burner. Then the cosmetic panel. This will get you to what is called the pouch plate once you remove that you’ll be able to gain access to the combustion area for proper cleaning and inspection. You’ll need to carefully remove the combustion chamber to do this. I would advise having all new gaskets available and a combustion chamber just in case you find the original in poor condition or in the event it collapses upon removal.)

    Now I oil the circulator or blower motor and burner motor if needed. Then I clean everything up including wiping the unit jacket and components down. Even if I did not make the mess I make a point of cleaning the entire area say three feet around the boiler/furnace. I own that area until I leave. Now we are ready for a combustion analysis test. I look to come within manufactures recommendations I first take draft reading Next is our Smoke test looking for a 0 to Trace. Now the Co2 and/or O2 level in most cases I am looking for no higher than a 12% CO2 4 ½% O2 35% excess air Now the stack temp, on a new system I don't look for more than 350 -400 degrees.

    Note: You’re going to start seeing higher Co2 readings with some of the newer burners like the Beckett NX but we can talk more about that in another thread.

    with an old system we could see this go between 500 - 600 Degrees.(Good reason to upgrade)Now the Co2 and the temperature will give you your operating efficiency. Please note when considering your stack temp you want to subtract the room temp from the actual stack temp.

    I Log all the data in a systems booklet that is left with the system, including any parts that have been replaced or changes that were made. Also if you have an old type expansion tank and it needs to be drained I would have started this upon arrival so it would be drained by the time I was ready to leave.

    Now if the customer is there. I ask them once again if they have any questions. I then thank them for doing business with our company! Move on to my next call. This job would have taken typically about 2 hrs. If a system had not been cleaned in over 3 or 4 years you could find yourself there for 3 to 4 hrs.

    I hope this has been helpful to you.

    Your friend in the industry,
    Alan R. Mercurio

    www.oiltechtalk.com

    Your friend in the industry,



    Alan R. Mercurio



    www.oiltechtalk.com
  • RoosterBoy
    RoosterBoy Member Posts: 459


    Allen can you come to my house and service my buderus. it's real nice to see that you take pride and put care into your job it's real nice of you. i say that because you dont see alot of that anymore.

    if your in connecticut id love sign up for service with you.

    thanks
  • Maine Ken
    Maine Ken Member Posts: 531
  • Leo
    Leo Member Posts: 770


    I am fortunate that I have always worked for companies that allow me to do what Alan covered. I do all that just in a different order and I agree with his time frames.

    Leo
  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620


    Rooster, thanks for the kind words my friend. Currently I’m very fortunate to be able to share my techniques with my fellow technicians as a consultant and educator within the oil heating industry.

    I’m not just talking classroom either. I offer a training program where we start in the classroom and work our way to the basements of my clients customers.

    I must add I do appreciate the confidence my clients have in me.

    Thanks again for the compliments


    Your friend in the industry,
    Alan R. Mercurio

    www.oiltechtalk.com

    Your friend in the industry,



    Alan R. Mercurio



    www.oiltechtalk.com
  • Maine doug_17
    Maine doug_17 Member Posts: 5
    Very Interesting

    I can now see that the annual services here are leaving a number of things out.
  • Climate Creator
    Climate Creator Member Posts: 103
    I have some things to add...

    I first start out by doing the B&V, then I pull the drawer, etc and and bring my vac etc out and bring in the needed supplies, along with a newly cleaned and adj nozzle assembly. When you change the oil filter you should flush the bottom tank valve, then re-install canister after wiping it out completely. leave the air in the can. goto the pump pop the cover pull the strainer open the firomatic at the burner and flush the line unitl that air comes through blowing junks with it, flush until clear, this along with NEW strainers help to give the units a head start considering the lowering quality of fuel and sub standard delivery practices. After the pump is flushed on most pumps you can snug the bottom bolts until oil come out the top then tightn those your now primed. This goes VERY quickly with practice. Trust me when I say it works. Also I usually pull the pump coupling and check it, any powder in it and it gets gone. Also a tip for those that dont seem to know because they REFUSE to clean the chamber, pull the two pump bolts out and take off the nozzle line from the nozzle assembly, let the pump fall away, and now pull the burner easily, this seams to be the biggest obstacle for some who disconnect the oil line, which isnt necessary. Also to make it easier to put it back together set the pump coupling with the flat facing up and do the same to the shaft, the two will go easy. There is so much to a proper maint, all I can say is be thourough and act as though this is a unit in YOUR house, and you will do what is right, Always take your cues from your customer sometimes they get wary of people who are doing things different so explain or show them why.

    Thats all I really wanted to add, Alan has the rest down for you who care,

    CC

    PS, Rooster there are a few people in CT doing it this way because I showed them.

    CC
  • massrookie
    massrookie Member Posts: 22


    definitely some good advice showing up. not much i can add, but on powervented systems disconnect the draft proving tube with the burner running to make sure the safety will shut it down, also be sure that damn tube is clear, might save you a 3:oo a.m. service call. check the nozzle spec in the burner application book, many times i find it's not what is specified, just something close that the last guy had within reach.also make sure the boiler has proper psi, if time allows you could run each zone for a few minutes to make sure the return gets warm, may save another callback.
    special thanks to Alan at OTT for his reply, do you have that info somewhere on your site. I am currently training a new tech with our company and sent him to both heating help and OTT. i've learned a lot from both.
  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620


    Massrookie, you’re very welcome my friend. And thanks for the kind words regarding OTT. I must add you have made some very good points yourself, especially regarding power venters. All to often they are overlooked during the P&M. Thanks for bringing that up.

    By the way, No that info is not on OTT but that’s a great idea. I’m currently working on a new area at OTT called the “Tool Box” It will provide our fellow technicians with many useful items they can use to further their education and help them with their daily routine. I’d say that and some articles I have written over the years would fit well in the “Tool Box” thanks for the great idea! Please e-mail your mailing address to me I’d like to send you a gift in return for your great idea. :)


    Your friend in the industry,
    Alan R. Mercurio

    www.oiltechtalk.com

    Your friend in the industry,



    Alan R. Mercurio



    www.oiltechtalk.com
  • Rocky_2
    Rocky_2 Member Posts: 89
    A couple of additional things...

    Found myself saying, "Yep, Yep, Yep", when reading Alan's post. A couple of things I do, seeing as how 85% of our work is boilers: First thing I do when I walk into the boiler room is to put a small bucket under the pop-off drain and give it a quick "pop", then tap the stem lightly with a screwdriver handle to re-seat it. Then I go about my tune-up. This gives the pop-off about an hour and a half to make sure it is going to seal up. If it still has a small drip at the end of the tune-up, it gets replaced. Also, I will knock all pressure off the boiler to physically remove the diaphragm style expansion tank and check the air charge, while removed from the boiler. This lets you see if there is any liquid in the tank, and to check the air charge. "Thumping" the tank with your finger or tool DOES NOT tell you anything. I don't know how many tanks I've found that "sounded" good, only to find "0" air charge in them once removed from the system. Mind you, the bladder isn't ruptured and waterlogged, just lost its air charge out the snifter valve. If you start doing this, I guarantee that you will find that about 30% of all expansion tanks will have no air in them. Also, this lets you see if your temp and press. guage is accurate. I also physically remove the burner motor, scrape the fan blades with a small tekmar screwdriver and wipe out the inside of the housing with a rag sprayed down with a little "Zipp" or other degreaser. The rest Alan covered pretty thoroughly. We do on the average between four techs about 15 tune-ups a day, 5 days a week, August 1 through late March. You tend to get VERY fast, yet still retain thoroughness. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
    Warm regards from chilly Fairbanks,
    Rocky
  • Climate Creator
    Climate Creator Member Posts: 103
    Well then...

    We must also not leave out blowing down steam boilers, cleaning glasses, flushing glass valves, drawing off, checking probe types, etc, If we did every single little thing then we would be there all day. You need to use your professional judgement on what needs attention, noting leaks etc for recall work, replacing relief valves and charging or changing x-tanks, air vents etc, should be left to recall. We have strayed a little from the original ? about OIL tune-ups, you can spend a good 2 hrs just paying attention to the burner side of things, maybe one should consider adding a hydronic check-out as an add-on??

    CC
  • burnerman_2
    burnerman_2 Member Posts: 297
    tuneup

    each person who takes pride in his job will also show the rookie the right way to do the job our co. asks us to clean 4 furnaces a day not bad as most said change the nozzle oil filter check smokepipe but be sure to make it easy on the next guy it may be you repalce
    screws gaskets worn out bolts also don,t second guess if you think it needs replaced then replace it this is someones mom and she hates being cold

  • massrookie
    massrookie Member Posts: 22


    just thought of another, actually it found me. last no-heat call today was due to a plugged pressuretrol pigtail. had another last week. seems pretty common on newer steam boilers where the pigtail is piped off the front of the boiler just above the water line. i always try to check these during tune-ups also
  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620


    massrookie, just look at this thread and imagine how many of our fellow technicians have learned from each other because of their willingness to share knowledge. and on this one subject alone we can thank you for rasing such a great question. Thanks brother and please don't ever stop asking questions.

    Your friend in the industry,
    Alan R. Mercurio

    www.oiltechtalk.com

    Your friend in the industry,



    Alan R. Mercurio



    www.oiltechtalk.com
  • JOHN_103
    JOHN_103 Member Posts: 54
    push pull pump

    no one mentioned the oil line.what about using a push pull pump or some other method to clear the line?
  • Climate Creator
    Climate Creator Member Posts: 103
    John,

    I did mention flushing the line, this is how you would know whether or not you need to use a method to clear the line, I am sorry for leaving that part out, I guess we can't just go around clearing lines just because. I prefer, a CO2 gun into a bucket under the filter with some towels over it. Gets the crap out instead of back into the tank.

    CC
  • JOHN_103
    JOHN_103 Member Posts: 54
    cc

    sorry i thought you said flush the nipple at the tank . i didn't know you meant the whole line
  • JOHN_103
    JOHN_103 Member Posts: 54
    cc

    sorry i thought you said flush the nipple at the tank . i didn't know you meant the whole line
  • Liberal Lenny
    Liberal Lenny Member Posts: 33
    Wow

    Hey Mass Rookie great post, question, what if you purge during the start up and throttle the bleeder back to prove flow and have the burner go off on lock out, does that put too much stress on the pump? This is a great thread, I appreciate everyone's knowledge and input.Thanks a lot.
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