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Your magic wand isn't working

Steamhead Member Posts: 16,886
Here is one big reason gas-fired units are displacing oil-fired ones.

This Slant/Fin Liberty steamer, operating a Kriebel system, had been "serviced" every year, not sure what they actually did but it can't have been any more than a rag-and-tag (we found the tag) that lasted a half-hour at most. The fuel bills were excessive, and the oil company was no help to the owners. They called us to fix some system-balance issues, which we did, so we got this part of the work too. The story ends, like many, many others, with a switch from oil to gas- this time, with a Carlin EZ-Gas burner.

Soot and sulfur accumulations do a great job of keeping the heat from reaching the boiler water. If a modern oil burner is installed, adjusted and maintained properly, it will not generate soot. The amount of sulfur in this boiler tells us it hasn't had proper service since before they started lowering sulfur levels in fuel oil.

This is only the latest one we've seen in this condition. I like to see competition as much as anyone, but these guys aren't even trying. It's like taking candy from a baby!

There are some great oil guys on this board and several others, who would never dream of leaving a boiler in this condition. If you are reading this and you have oil-fired equipment, these great oil guys are the ones you need. If you are reading this and you own or manage an oil-heat company, and this is how your alleged "techs" treat your customers' equipment, they will fire your company like this family did. Guaranteed.

On this job, we also changed from a float-type low-water cutoff to a probe-type, and will change the Pressuretrol to a Vaporstat next time we're there.
All Steamed Up, Inc.
Towson, MD, USA
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service


  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    That is some truly awesome encrustation.  Ugh.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752

    With the amount of boilers we find looking like this, you get more people thinking it's actually normal. I think most oil companies have thrown in the towel and are just waiting to be buried. At that point, why boher working hard?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    that is the new normal

    like the noisy steam system, the uneven forced air heat, the hard to control radiators, and the dirty oil burner. Normal is defined as what is commonly found, this is normal. It is not just oil, I inherited a customer with a Viessman Biferrral with a propane firing Riello that was on it's second chimney as the B vent rotted out and the owners are ready to throw the whole boiler away. I took a gallon of soot out of the boiler and had to drill 3 holes in the chamber to get the stack to a proper temp for a non condensing system. The installer was on the Viessman website and recommended to the home own by the builder and wholesaler. I got called in for a clogged toilet on a Saturday night and it has been an interesting time since.

    Bad is normal, proper is exceptional.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    service in general

    seems like not many care about service provided. It is in every trade
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Magic Crud:


    I used to see that all the time. It's from the really good "experts" who take the top off and brush the crud down into the chamber.

    Notice how the "rug" is folded back on both sides? It's from the Kibble & Bits that slide between the rug and the sides of the base. Because they never take the front off.

    On Weil-McLain Gold boilers with swing away doors, they often pipe it so you can't get the door open. When I used to clean them, I opened them up and pulled the rug out. Then, cleaned UNDER it and ran an old screwdriver up the sides to get it all it.

    The only plus is those kibbles and bits dry out and end up as a form of refractory pellets to reflect the heat back into the flame. But the cold boiler temps and cold exhaust temps will kill it every time.

    Like the old HB Smith 2000 series "Low Sets with the pellets you poured onto the bottom and set a target wall some distance in front of the burner on long boilers.

    Because so many know so much more than I do and have so much more experience than I do, I gave up. It takes a lot of time to clean one of those beasts. Someone said that it only takes an hour to clean one of them. It takes over an hour to take the front off on the first try without breaking off any studs.

    All service trucks need a can or Aero Kroil and an can of Never Seize. And use them both.
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