Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
In fairness to all, we don't discuss pricing on the Wall. Thanks for your cooperation.
Need to contact us? Visit

reset button on furnace

sbmfjsbmfj Member Posts: 28

I had a problem with my furnace last night. It had stopped working, so I went to the basement, and checked it out. Seemed ok, checked the fuse (old round glass type) and it wasnt burnt, so I turned the power off, and then back on. Hit the red 'reset' button, and it started up. What may have caused it to stop? I had to press the reset button on it again this morning.

The red button is shown on the pic below, its on that grey box.

My questions, is why do I have to press this button to get it going again? When I press it the furnace starts up, so it can obviously work. What would be wrong with it?

I realize the above furnace is old an in-efficient, but its good for now. Ill change the entire set up in a yr or so...

Thanks, any input is greatly appreociated!! Oh, and I did buy one of Dans books, "we got steam heat", im on page 10....


  • sbmfjsbmfj Member Posts: 28
    an extra pic

    here's a pic of the entire set up...

  • heatboyheatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    edited January 2011
    Does you fuel oil company..............

    ................... send you a Christmas card every year?

    Could be something as simple as a dirty flame eye or it could be voltage isues or could be any one of a dozen other things.  Impossible to tell from where I am sitting.  You may want to call your service man.

    The Radiant Whisperer

    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 6,653
    Now that is an antique...

    but, antique or no, you should definetly call a service person, as Heatboy suggests.  Having to push the reset button once, then everything is fine for weeks, is one thing.  Having to push it more or less regularly is a sign of something -- and it could be a variety of things -- amiss, and it should be fixed as soon as possible.

    And whatever you do do NOT, repeat NOT, push it more than once.  If the burner fails to light off after one, and only one, push, don't even try again.  Call the service person.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Member Posts: 1,660
    edited January 2011
    Jamie is right, this can be dangerous!

    I can give you an example of the level of danger involved....

    My father told me a story of an incident that occurred when he was a young man and lived in a duplex with the other half occupied by an elderly land lady.  She was in the basement doing laundry, and apparently, the oil fired hot air furnace had been firing a while, and it was hot.  The burner cycled off, probably by the thermostat, and a little while later is cycled on again.  However, the oil burner did not immediately ignite.  It sprayed atomized oil into the hot firebox, where it began to vaporize.  After a while, but not too long, the igniter functioned with explosive results.  A clean-out door on the furnace was blown off and flew across the room, barely missing the elderly lady.  It was propelled at such speed, that if had struck the woman, it might well have killed her.  As it was, she was very shaken by the experience, and took quite a while to calm down.

    So, as Jamie says, get a professional in to correct the problem.  It is nothing to mess with.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
  • sbmfjsbmfj Member Posts: 28

    Ill call a service man if its not working by the time. Thanks for all the input / feedback. This should be a fairly straight forward service call, right? Any oil service tech should be able to tackle this, right?
  • Mike KusiakMike Kusiak Member Posts: 604
    edited January 2011
    By the way...

    You mentioned above that you are reading Dan's steam heating book, but you don't have a steam system. Your system is gravity circulation hot water. See the link below:

    Wonder what's going on with the Extrol expansion tank? If the attic tank was removed and the system closed, where is the relief valve? Notice there is a shutoff valve between the boiler and Extrol. If the attic tank is still there, whats the point of having the Extrol?
  • heatboyheatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    Is that stack relay.......

    ....... still tied into the burner circuit?  At least, it looks like an old HW stack relay.  Really?

    The Radiant Whisperer

    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • sbmfjsbmfj Member Posts: 28

    Yea, so I ordered and am reading the wrong book. I called the heating help office, and the kind lady said she would exchange it for me. Live and learn. Wish I could answer your questions Mike. I do know that there is a pressure relaease valve, its not pictured in the pics.
  • World PlumberWorld Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Stack Relay

    It sure does look like a stack relay. I wonder if it's connected in? Looks like a yellow wire from a cad cell on the primary. Someone may have abandoned it and left it there.

        Good chance he has something blocking the fuel line I'm seeing a lot of that lately the unit will suck into a vacuum the flame gets smoky and the cad cell shuts it down then the fuel trickles down into the line and it starts and runs for a short time then off. Good old sludge from running the tanks low, or the last two outside tanks went to straight #2 due to the high cost of Kerosene. The one I was on last night I have no idea how it sucked oil through. Could be any number of things That a proper servicing should find and be able to correct. Weak transformer, blocked filter or fuel lines, carboned up head, blocked passages, poor draft or blocked chimney etc.
  • sbmfjsbmfj Member Posts: 28
    so it turned out ok

    Came home, and the furnace was running. No idea what may have caused it to stop working. I have also re-ordered the correct book. Many thanks for all of your help. Have a nice weekend, James.
  • sbmfjsbmfj Member Posts: 28
    you have no idea...

    So, tenant calls me and tells me the heats not working. Try the reset button, no go, so call a heating tech. Guy comes over, take apart the relay box, triggers the relay, burner lights up. Plays around and says everythig is fine, and then asks, "did you check the thermomstat upstairs?" Im like, no. The tenant had mentioned to me that he had it set at 23 celcius, and its was like 15 celcius. Anyhow, run upstairs, check the thermostat and batteries are low (battery icon is flashing), and he had it on a programed mode (day night etc), I overrided that, put in manual mode, and it turns on. Changed batteries, problem solved .

    Lesson learned, dont underestimate the obvious, especially with tenants.
  • SLO-115SLO-115 Member Posts: 196
    Je déteste les appels batterie à plat, mais il n'y commune

    Did you talk to your neighbours about a different fuel source?? And again those smoke pipes arent up to code in canada! (max lenght of smoke pipes 10ft) That burnerman isnt doing his job
  • ScottScott Member Posts: 5,884
    I'm sorry but

    This boiler has long exceeded its life, It is no longer safe or efficient. My Gawd look at the wiring ! This is a fore hazard !!!!

    The boiler is controlling fire in your basement. I would not be comfortable with that in my home. Replace this as soon as possible.
This discussion has been closed.


It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!