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combustion set up on burnham V82

Gene27 Member Posts: 3
Hello, I have a Burnham V82 boiler with a Becket AFG burner. I installed it in 2002 along with the rest of a hydronic system in our new home. I have a Bacharach combustion test kit, and have done my own yearly maintenance since 2005. This year I am unable to any better than a 5 smoke. I don't know why.

In past years boiler has set up about .02 draft, 12-13% CO2, 540 stack temp, 0 smoke, 79-80% efficient. the last couple of years it seems to what to start smoking a couple of months into the season, so I took to a quick check of the smoke only once a month. worked fine last season. This fall I fired it up with out checking things. It fired up fine and I have used it for a couple of months and now it has sooted up pretty bad. I have serviced it including, cleaning the chimney, the boiler chamber itself, new door gaskets, target wall insulations, fuel filter, new nozzles (3). With that effort it fired right up but is smoking. the air shutter in the past was set at about 5. after the cleaning when I tried to reset it up, adjusting the air shutter could not affect the 9 smoke I was getting. After experimenting I found moving the nozzle head assembly forward a small amount and rechecking I was able to get down to a 5 smoke. Moving the head forward further raises the smoke again. Air tube, head, electrodes are all in good shape as I replaced them 2 years ago. Air passages, and fan squirrel cage are clear as they have been in the past. fuel pressure 140

I am at a lose, as to what changed. in the past, set up was achieved right in the middle of the air shutter range. What changed? Any suggestions? Thanks...


  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620
    Re:combustion set up on burnham V82

    It sounds like you’ve been doing a great job taking care of you system over the past few years but it might be time to let a pro look at it with you. As they have other tools and instruments that you may not have to aid you in diagnosing the trouble.

    You mentioned replacing the filter and nozzle but you did not mention the strainer that’s in the fuel unit on the burner. It could be that it is not allowing the oil to pass through properly.
    Your friend in the industry,

    Alan R. Mercurio

  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    get professional help

    What head do you have on the AFG? I don't think it's the "F" style. I'ts will be either L or V heads. Adjustments on all 3 are crucial. Sounds like it is not set. The 5 setting that you are describing, is that the side band setting? What nozzle size/degree angle/spray pattern? If it is a 45 or 60, it's not an F head on there. You are always best to have it serviced by a licensed professional, not saying that you are not knowledgeable, just more of an exact science with newer equipment, and doesn't take much to create a sooty mess, not only in the boiler, but in the house.  
  • Gene27
    Gene27 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the assit

    Hello Again. The short version of the problem is defective nozzles. Last year I purchased a dozen new nozzles from what still appears to be a major internet plumbing supply house. Last year after having problems that I could not figure out, I hired the “pro”. What we found was a plugged brand new nozzle. Before I called the “pro” I considered a bad nozzle and replaced it with a 2nd new nozzle. We trouble shot may different possible causes. We both thought it unlikely that I had come across 2 bad nozzles. He did not carry the .50 70B required, but instead had a .50 70W. Finally we tried his nozzle, and problem solved, he left and I removed the 70W and put in a 3rd of my nozzles which preformed OK, and finished tuning it up.

    This year, as I the problem occurred, I thought about nozzles and had tried three different new nozzles (my original post, I said “new nozzles (3)”) after three tries, not believing that could be the problem, I am stumped.

    Thanks for the responses to my question. It is hard enough in person diagnosing a problem, let alone via written questions.  I checked out a strainer and found none. The choke and Becket “Z” setting for the L1 head is what I referred to as moving the “nozzle head assembly”. I have reset it back to the 1 3/8” per spec. After thinking about the problem and the responses, and basic automotive running rich or lean, because it is smoking beyond adjustment, it simply had to be too much fuel or not enough air. Still not believing 3 nozzles could be bad, I dismounted the fan motor and squirrel cage, checked that the cage was secured to the shaft and cleaned the housing. After going over the “Air” side with no improvement, I moved to the “Fuel” side, having already checked fuel pressure, the only thing left is the nozzle. I went back to the .50 70W the “pro” had left last year. It worked. Currently I have an old previously removed .50 70B nozzle back in the boiler and it is working fine. It adjusted up at the 5 range on the air shutter, just as it has in the past.

    Concerning the 5 bad nozzles I have encountered so far of the 12 I purchased, makes me think I was sold a lot of reject product or something, because I ordered as an individual and not with a business name.  Or maybe some imported knock offs.  Don’t know. I am going to contact them and ask “what’s up” I have saved all my past nozzles replaced over the years, they all have stampings on the 6 sides of the hex, .50 on one, 70B on one, the SA stamp on one,  and  s01 on one. All old and new are Delavan.  The complete new “internet “ group are the same except they have E09 instead of s01. Is that a code for location of manufacture? Or date of manufacture? Or first run vs 2nd quality? Is nozzle quality this much of a crap shoot in the industry, or am I just lucky?

    Concerning the two suggestions to contact a “pro”, my experience in that regard has been less than rewarding.  I had a gentleman come out for the initial start up,  who by the luck of the draw was older and very experienced and did a great job. I have tried to recontact him with no luck. I have had service people out various other times. Usually a late twenty something individual, who is middle of the road competent.  I have requested when scheduling the appointment a “senior” technician. You can imagine how that is received. Concerning my boiler only, my guess is that I am about middle of the road competent already. Unfortunately me calling the pro is to have a guy blunder around for $200-$300 and come to the same place I do. I am located in the Seattle area. My guess is that most of the Heating Help crowd is on the East coast. My guess is there is lots more Oil burner expertise out there, than here. Not to say it does not exist here, but I don’t think it is as common. By the time I am stumped, I need expertise, not middle of the road competence.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385

    In my 30 years doin this, I've tried them all. I prefer Delavan. I can't see them sending second rate or poorer quality nozzles out to be sold aftermarket. Too much liability. I do feel for you if you have no faith in the service out there, too far a run for me here on Cape Cod.As far as bad batches, a nozzle that small is always a tough one. Double, triple filtration is good. You said something about there being no strainer? Is it a Webster pump?
  • Gene27
    Gene27 Member Posts: 3

    At this point, I think I am going to rotate all my remaining new nozzels thru, with the boiler running at a known condition, mark them as new / good. them finish tuning up the boiler for this year. I am also going to recheck the nozzels I think are bad to make sure I did not have something else screwed up. The fuel pump is a Suntec, I checked the paper work that came with the unit and find no strainer shown.

    Again thanks for the assist.....
  • Coany
    Coany Member Posts: 91
    540 degrees seems kind of high with a .50

    as others have said with a .50 its nearly always the nozzle.

     they are  erratic and foul easily


    Delevan has a jet line strainer that can sometimes help.

    You say its a suntec pump, with no strainer? Check again

     Are there four 5/16(maybe allen heads on newer pumps) screws on the four corners?

     If so, there is indeed a strainer inside that cap.(SSC109)

     I never want to see 13% co2 either, 12 at the absolute max.

    " Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" Teddy Roosevelt
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Don't take this the wrong way but in my experience, you have screwed this burner up beyond all expectations.

    It is my experience that this burner ONLY runs well with Delavan nozzles with the one that the BOILER manufacturer recommends in the burner application you are dealing with. If one gets them to run with a different nozzle, it is usually some variation of the suggested nozzle. And the experience of the technician doing the work which was gathered from years of experience and the developed skills.

    I NEVER "F" with the "Z" dimension. I have never needed to.

    With a .50 GPH nozzle, if you have dirty strainer/filters and you change the nozzle, the nozzle strainer will IMMEDIATELY plug up. I doubt seriously you have a Webster pump. All pumps come through with Suntecs. You should use two spin-on filters. You also need to have an experienced pro that really knows what they are doing. You have really messed this thing up. As far as cleaning it, I doubt that you have been able to clean this to the level that I clean them. Did you use a soot saw? you probably need to.

    Is a V82 a V series, model 8 with two sections? If so, these really small boilers are very difficult to keep running properly with such small nozzles.

    Others here may disagree with me but where I work, there once was a guy that decided that a 70 degree nozzle in a red container was the universal oil burner nozzle. Every burner he serviced, he put in a 70 degree nozzle. Even on Carlins that only ran well with Hago, 60 degree semi solid nozzles. On these he put 70 degree delavan blue containers that were solid spray. He serviced a huge amount of accounts. All the guys he trained and employed all do the same thing.

     I've changed a lot of nozzles to the correct ones to solve these problems.

    The burner manufacturers spend a lot of money and time testing their burners in different boilers for maximum performance and efficiency. I have never gone wrong going by their specs.

    It takes years to develop the experience to do what we do. If I do a lot of soldering, for a week or more at a time, it becomes "natural". All my skills are there. If I don't do it for a long period of time, I need time to get my "edge" back. Same as working on oil and gas boilers. You can't do something once a year and be proficient.

    When I first go ice sailing for the year, I don't have the edge I will have after a weekend or two of sailing. Like keeping the boat moving in light air. I develop a "feel" for the wind and ice. Same with using a combustion tester and adjusting a burner. I've been doing it for a long time and I am still learning things every day.

    Get a pro.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    If you can't get a competent pro, here's what "I" suggest.

    Clean it until you can eat out of it. That means going in from the top and brushing down into the chamber. Open the front and clean it out. Thoroughly. Take a screwdriver and scrap up the side of the sections. If it is a cold start, switch it to warm start to maintain 140 degrees and stop the circulator when the boiler gets cold. If it is cold start, it has hard calcifious material between the pins. Take a piece of 1/4" threaded rod, screw it to a file handle and with this and a soot saw, scrape the crud out. All of it. Make sure that the refractory rug is in the bottom. A cold bottom will cool the bottom of the flame and cause smoke/soot. Reflective heat will fix that. Install two spin on filters like Gar-Ber filters. Change the pump strainer. You undo the four 5/16 cap screws on the end of the pump It comes with a gasket.

    Trick. When you pull the electrode assembly out of the burner housing, hold the nozzle end up, Oil should easily run out. If it doesn't, the strainer is plugged. When you first loosen the nozzle in the adapter, loosen it slightly. Hold up the assembly. The oil should pour out. If it is a new nozzle you put in and it isn't working, and you have another new nozzle, when you take the assembly out and it appears plugged, change the strainer only. It comes off easily with a small pair of pliers.

    You need to get all the specs for that burner. I find them complicated.

    You should NEVER have any smoke. Never. It will soot up over a short time. Once it starts, it will continue to soot up rapidly.

    As screwed up as it is, I would consider what I do when faced with that burner. Switch it to a Carlin EZ-1, Burner in a box. It will come with the proper nozzle installed, and all set up. You never need to mess with the "Z" demension bececause the burner you have is a "fixed head" burner and the Carlin is a "adjustable head". They use head positoning bars to get proper nozzle placement. If you are going to service this yourself, and I think you could, I think that you will find this burner far more user friendly. They also give away a yellow plastic electrode and head assembly tool that only a idiot could screw up. You do not need a ruler to use it and set the electrode igniters.

    I doubt that the nozzles you bought were defective. They were just the wrong application.

    Some guys really like Riello but I find them so complicated and proprietary, I avoid them and don't sell them. I will work on them.

    My solution for a bad running one like yours is a brand new Carlin. Set up to Carlin Specs, they run very well.

    Your brand probably does too. I just can never get them to do so. And I find others with the same problems.

    Good luck. 
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