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bleeding oil pump

zoevic Member Posts: 7
Hi folks –

I guess this is a pretty basic question about oil burner pump priming. I have a Beckett AFG burner with a Danfoss BFPH 071N1151 pump. I’ve run out of oil several times in the past (getting senile lol) and have managed to prime the pump. I am also in the process now of priming the pump but would like to find out once and for all how the process really works.
I open the bleeder screw way back and with my little piece of clear plastic hose on it I let the pump run squirting oil into a clear bottle. When I get a pretty good stream of oil from the bleeder with little or no air bubbles I close the bleeder valve with the pump still running and the burner fires. I thought that’s what you are supposed to do.

But today, and some other times in the past, the burner actually starts to fire before I close the bleeder valve. Today I have the bleeder valve all the way open with obviously a strong stream but of foam only, the burner started to fire and I got a puff back. I know there wasn’t oil in the chamber before this because I had tried to prime many times without seeing anything at the bleeder. So this must have been then new oil I was finally seeing at the bleeder valve.

Is that the ways it’s supposed to work? I don’t want to be loading oil into the chamber while I’m priming – or do I?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,981
    edited April 2016
    You're fine. Sometimes some oil gets thru on a danfoss. Ideally you don't want un burnt oil in the chamber.
    What probably happened was some un burnt oil entered the chamber as you ran out of oil.
    You're only suppose to open the bleeder 1/4 turn, but kudos for using a clear tube in the bottle so the end of the tube is in oil.
    Better question, why aren't you on automatic delivery?
  • zoevic
    zoevic Member Posts: 7
    Steve thank you very much for your response. Makes me feel better. I’ll remember the ¼ turn also.

    The reason I’m not on automatic delivery is because I don’t have a contract with any of the providers in my area. I do my own maintenance. I’m no expert for sure but I can change filters, nozzle, electrodes, do a cleaning, replace Aquastat and relays and things like that.

    So I’ve been doing it myself for 9 years. I monitor the oil and call a company that only delivers oil. Got fooled this time and ran out. I have two tanks with a cross-over pipe on top, with the fill on the left tank and the vent on the right tank. There is piping on the bottom connecting the two tanks and a tee that runs to the burner. Turned out the left tank output blocked up with crud and only the right tank was feeding the burner. I don’t trust the gauge on the right tank (no gauge on the left tank) so I normally stick test the left tank and assume the right tanks is the same level. I was wrong this time.

    Where I live (25 mi NW of Phila.) all the providers want a yearly maintenance contract. I had a contract years ago and they really ticked me off. Very sloppy work. Had to schedule the routine maintenance 3 months ahead of time. If I forgot to schedule the maintenance I never heard a peep from them – but at billing time they were extremely prompt, sometimes even billing me twice.
    Anyway, that’s how I got into doing things myself. Well at least I have been able to keep it running, lol.

    Thanks again for your time Steve. Appreciate that and your expertise.

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,981
    Sorry about your oil provider woes. Unfortunately too prevalent with larger companies.
    One important thing:
    If you are removing a plug to stick the tank, make very sure that you are sealing the plug back up with pipe dope. That tank will be completely full and pressurized while the second tank is filling.
    Two options.
    1. Treat, clean out the crud. You seem handy enough to close the service valve, open the line, and with a hand pump, clear the connection on the bottom-blowing back into each tank, one at a time. You should treat the tank with additives.
    2. Strongly recommend you abandon the crossover. At a minimum you can tee the 2 vents together, and run a separate fill for each tank. Then you can put a gauge on each tank. When your down to a 1/4...get some oil ! :)
  • zoevic
    zoevic Member Posts: 7
    I do intend to get rid of that setup. I had heard that it is dangerous because the fill tank is under a lot of pressure at the point when oil starts to flow over the crossover pipe. I had heard that setup is not done anymore. The whole thing makes me nervous.

    I guess I’ve been kidding myself. I never get enough oil so the cross-over would be used and I don’t put the plug back in with pipe dope. But I see what you are saying and I will put the plug in with pipe dope. Got some on my shelf right now. Guess what I’ve been doing wasn’t the smartest-lol.

    Thanks for pointing out the possible change for the venting and fill. Never thought of that. I think I’ll get rid of the entire setup.

    Steve what kind of additives should I use and what kind of hand pump.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,981
    edited April 2016
    It's not illegal, but could be problematic if the venting is undersized. The main problem would be a wrong delivery and they fill the tanks...
    Sid Harvey's makes a push/pull pump specifically for this. (Maybe you can borrow one). You would have a male flare fitting (3/8 or 1/2 inch-whatever size matches yours) on the pump (push) side and connect it to the flare fitting nut on the copper fuel line.
    Connect to fuel line, open tank valve, pump fuel back in. Repeat for other tank, hook everything back up, re bleed line and fuel pump.
    Don't pump back through the filter canister. If you have to, close valves for oil lines (you have firomatics on the tanks and at the burner, right?) remove the filter cartridge, then pump, then replace cartridge with new.
    I also wouldn't rig up something with an air compressor or use a CO2 cartridge, although you could get a male flare, female regular thread union, then attach a shraeder valve to the other side and use a bicycle pump. But at this point you may be better with the right pump.
    Sid's also have additives. Just the standard 'Disperses water', 'removes sludge' type.
  • zoevic
    zoevic Member Posts: 7
    Steve thank you very much for the wealth of information and your time. You did everything but do it for me, lol. I believe I understand everything you are saying. The instructions are very clear and I stored them in two places on my computer, as well as being stored here.

    I just saw one of the push/pull pumps on ebay (but ad in Spanish) for $35, not bad at all. So I see what they are. (I navigated the Sid Harvey site to find one but couldn’t, but I certainly will be able to do that later).

    Funny you should mention Firomatics because that is a question I’ve had for some time. I have old gates valves, one on the output of each tank, and I’ve had very minor drips from the handles (a tablespoon a year) and so I started to look at new valves and so learned that these days Firomatics must be used.

    But I couldn’t figure out whether they are supposed to be used at the burner and the tanks, or the burner only, or the tanks only.
  • spoon22
    spoon22 Member Posts: 32
    1 fi romatic at each tank and 1 fi romantic at burner
  • zoevic
    zoevic Member Posts: 7
    thanks spoon. I did find information that would suggest what you say, but then I found other information I thought suggested that they would be at the burner only.

    Makes more sense at tanks and burner. Thanks!