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Removing oil screen on hot water heater

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Neiko
Neiko Member Posts: 3
Do I have to disconnect the 2 fuel lines under the oil pump on the hot water heater to change the screen inside the pump on a Beckett burner. Would it leak oil if I just removed the housing to replace the filter screen? Thanks

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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,888
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    My first question would be- is there a filter on the oil supply line to the pump? If not, you really need one. It will do a much better job of cleaning the oil than that pump screen.

    But more importantly, oil-burner service is not a DIY job. You have to have a certain amount of know-how to do it right. Unfortunately, many oil-company service departments don't do such a good job anymore.

    Try the Find a Contractor page of this site. When you get the right pro in there, you'll be glad you did.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
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    Assuming the lines run overhead, any oil in the lines will run out when you take the cover off due to gravity pulling the oil out.

    If there are valves on the oil lines, you are afforded a few options based on the layout of the lines and valves.

    What's the issue you are having, and why has it lead you to want to change the screen?
    Neiko
  • Neiko
    Neiko Member Posts: 3
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    My issue is, intermittent firing..sputtering off on off on then I have to reset button. There is no oil filter on the oil line and the unit is 14 years old. Never changed the screen on the pump. In the past I did have water in the tank but is clean now. The furnace next to the water heater works fine as I thought the screen on the water heater pump may be clogged? Thank you 776v63
  • Neiko
    Neiko Member Posts: 3
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    Picture of the 2 fuel lines under the pump
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
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    I would definitely consider having a tech work on it. The burner probably needs more than just a screen.

    Anyway, if you look at the oil pump from the side with label, you'll see 4 Allen screws. These hold the cover on that houses the screen. You simply pull the cover off, replace the gasket and screen, and put the cover back on. After removing the old gasket, be sure there are no chunks of debris or gasket left on the pump or cover. If there are, you should be able to carefully remove them with a knife or razor blade.

    Now the issue of the oil lines.

    Do your lines run overhead, or along the floor? Do both oil lines go into the top of your tank, or does one connect to the bottom? Are there any valves on either of the oil lines? These are important questions because we want to prevent spilling as much oil as possible.
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
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    Also, it looks like you have compression fittings connecting the oil lines to your pump. These fittings are well known for leaking, as it appears yours have been doing. I would have a tech come out, service your burner, and replace the compression fittings with flare fittings.
    billtwocaseSWEI
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
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    I would also have a filter installed on the pump cover inlet, and plug the inlet off on the bottom. I have yet to find where the fuel is filtered thru the strainer piped like that. I would also eliminate the return. It is more of a problem than a solution
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
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    http://img846.imageshack.us/img846/2567/oilpumpbypass.png

    This diagram shows that the oil does pass through the strainer when piped to the bottom inlet.

    As far as a filter goes, I would generally agree, although I think it may be debatable considering its been running ok for years with just a strainer. There are a lot of two line systems with no filter on them.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
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    Dead link 776v. I have never found as much as a spec on a strainer on the outer when piped like that, and that is after 33 years. I still say it bypasses the strainer piped like that
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
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    I respect your experience, however I respectfully disagree.

    I guess we'll have to leave it at that. :smile:
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
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    Thanks 776. I would like to check with Suntec on this, but was never an issue, only an observation. May be something to look for the next time you have a cover off a mini pump. Try to figure out how the fuel is filtered when the cover inlet is not used. The hole on top is gasketed off, so it is not there. They may have some technical theory, but visually I don't see it filtering outside in. Again thanks for the respect
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
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    So here's a Suntec single stage pump with the cover already off. You can see on the bottom left there are 2 holes. One of these is for the pump cover. The other is the inlet from the bottom of the pump.



    Closer look at the oil inlet.



    Here's a look up through the oil inlet. This is where the oil supply would hook up. You can see it bottoms out with no place for oil to travel other than the small hole cross drilled from the screen housing.




    At first inspection I was concerned that some oil may make its way inside the screen because the inlet hole is so close to the pump.



    However, you can see here that even while pressing down on the screen, the inlet hole is still entirely outside the screen.



    After close inspection, I'm positive oil flows up through the tapped inlet, through the cross drilled channel into the screen housing, through the screen and into the pump.

    This was a huge pain to write out on mobile. :D
  • spoon22
    spoon22 Member Posts: 32
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    Thanks for that I never looked at the pump that close. That certainly clears up the mystery of the bottom inlet
    776v63billtwocase