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Up in smoke again

Mike_T Member Posts: 1
To start, I am a home owner and mechanical engineer. I service my own oil burner for the most part (OJT), but if I get over my head I call my plumber. Unfortunately my plumber can no longer be contacted. So before I try and find someone I could trust, I figured I would give this a try. Roughly 2 weeks ago my burner stopped working. Noticed heavy smoke coming out of burner and realized it hasn't been tuned in a while. So I vacuumed out the burner, replaced the nozzle, and changed my external filter (3" diameter x 4"). That seemed to do the trick. Just last night (between 7-10 days after servicing) my burner had the same problem, smoke. Took it a part and it was clogged up again. So I vacuumed it again, replaced nozzle, and filter. This time the filter compartment did not fill up right away. I disconnected the tube and it seemed to unclog. The burner is now working again. What I failed to mention was that last year I had the same problem and it turned out that the (not sure what it is called) casing that surrounds the nozzle was cracked. My plumber replaced it with a used casing (goes from the head to the burner box). I checked the casing and I cannot see any cracks. My oil tank is roughly 1/4 filled. Do you think it's because my oil tank is low and crap from the tank is clogging my filter/nozzle causing it to mis-fire and create the soot or is it possible the casing could be acting up. I did order more oil hoping it would solve the problem. What's your thoughts? I starting to get tired of servicing my own burner, does any one know a reasonable serviceman in the Medford, NY area I could rely on in an emergency?


  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144

    Both need to be vac'ed out. Not just the burner .
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505

    Techman is on the right track.  While you're in vacuuming mode, dont forget to remove the smoke pipe to the base of the chimney, vacuum the pipe and the base.

    Your problem sounds more like improper  draft, incomplete combustion (for a number of reasons including a weak transformer.

    After this, you are really going to need a pro with a combustion kit to check/tune everything.  Once you replace a nozzle, even with the same type, and hopefully the same brand, you need to do all the proper tests.  The pro you call, can also check you pump pressure/vacuum and fuel line.

    You may have a draft problem.  I would like to assume when you said you vacuumed out the burner, you meant the boiler too. 

    I dont think being down to a 1/4 tank makes a difference.  If you have crap in the tank, you get crap in the line at any level.  The fuel should be tested and if need be, treated.  One problem a low oil tank could cause, is if the lower level is lower then the burner, changing it from gravity fed, to pulling more vacuum.

    But I think, overall, let a pro check the whole system over, with all the right tools, and you'll be back to normal.

    And check the 'Find a Contractor Tab' for someone local, unfortunately I'm way down in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    it sounds like

    your plumber replaced the gun assembly. It may not be the one matched to the blast tube length? The nozzle adapter could also be cracked. I would echo finding a pro. 
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
    Bill's right

    try the Find a Contractor page of this site.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    I've been doing oil burners for maybe before you were born. I don't know all there is to know. But I know that when I get one that is as screwed up as yours is, it takes all of my skill to get it right. Sometimes, it can't be made right. Especially if it is an old oddball and someone decided to adjust it to some specs they thought of.

    Whenever I have found one :smokin", the first thing I do is a complete cleaning. That could take a lot of hours. Not a "Buff & Dust". Totally clean. And then, maybe it will run better. Maybe not. In your case, I doubt that wyou will find a street corner service person that can fix your problem. You need a very experienced pro. After 40+ years. I'm still learning.

    Combustion equipment, whether gas or oil isn't for the untrained. Hire a pro.
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