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Riello oil burner gremlins

leonz Member Posts: 778
edited November 2017 in Oil Heating
I wanted to throw this out there asking the collective wisdom of the membership for your opinions.
After the service call on Wednesday that cost me $150.00 I would like to solve this as my wife knows nothing about oil burners.

I am using a very old Riello 40 oil burner that was used for fuel oil prior to switching to kerosene with red dyed kerosene-which I always thought was supposed to be clear un dyed, un taxed kerosene for heating fuel) and it locks out on a regular basis read in five times a day some times.

I have not poured any diesel fuel treatment in the tank this year but having to bleed it every time to start the system tells me I am sucking in air somewhere BUT in saying that I have no oil leaks under the burner. The air bleeder is original equipment for the burner and after I bleed the air it runs fine for a while-sometimes all night.

I replaced the RACOR 500FG fuel filter last year-water separator with drain valve, 10K gallons between filter changes, 10 micron filter with filter lid gasket and O-ring for T handle. I wish I had 2 micron filtration etc. I changed the fuel screen and gasket on the burner last year.

The system is a single pipe top draw oil delivery system using refrigerant grade copper pipe and I am wondering if its time to invest in a pump rebuild kit or simply have a two pipe system installed as I still have half a roll of copper refrigerant tubing and only need to order the oil fittings for the burner and the metric allen wrench for the plug to make it a two pipe system.
The outdoor oil tank is a 275 gallon tank and has 1/2 a tank of oil in it so I know it still has plenty of oil in it.

Investing in a tiger loop will cost me 25 times more than the cost of the 2 pipe fittings and the tank fittings and the second flexible oil line I need for it to convert it.

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks much for the help and collective wisdom of the group.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,105
    Your best bet is to find the vacuum leak. Somewhere in the piping and fittings -- maybe even in the dip tube in the tank -- there is a leak. That needs to be fixed. Until you do, other solutions are band-aids in my view... I might add that it won't show up as an oil leak at all.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 778
    Hello Jamie,

    The national sales manager for Riello North America told me the pump is on its way to the happy hunting ground and I need a new pump and as the burner is close to 29 years old. So I have to decide if spending $130.00+ for parts and labor for it is worth it compared to a new burner for $400.00 and the three connectors for a 2 pipe system that will not give me problems for a long long time if at all is the better route as it started acting up last year and they told me the seals in the old pump are bad and that is what is causing all the issues with airlocking and kicking the burner off.

    So I am slowly circling the money drain haha.
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,025
    I don't know how he fixed it for sure over the phone, or email, but...
    Have you checked/replaced the pump strainer?
    What's the pump pressure?
    What's the firing rate?
    What's the air and turbulator settings?
    How are the electrodes?
    What kind of readings do you get from the combustion analyzer?
    0 smoke?
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,437
    Sounds like an oil delivery problem.

    NO ONE, Riello, or anyone else especially a "sales manager"

    can tell you over the phone that you have a bad or weak oil pump.

    I have my own opinions on oil lines after 45 years and most/some on this site don't agree with me but here it is.

    You probably have a suction leak. Because portions of the oil line may be in a vacuum your leak may not be seen.

    Find the leak, fix the leak. There is probably not that many joints to check. Just take apart every joint and re do it. You may have a leak at the filter.

    If it was me this system would be two pipe BUT fix the leak. It may work better as two pipe without fixing the leak but that is not the correct fix.
    Fix leak, change to two pipe, forget the tiger loop band aid. Problem solved
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 255
    Flared or compression fittings?
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,483
    What happened to no pricing rule?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,238
    Too many negititives with an top feed setup .. One is trying to pull all the air out of the upper loop with one pipe though the bleeder ... Tiger loop and move on .. Two pipe will bring to the table different issues . 27 year old burner , its time to replace .. your not throwing your money away .. It's an good investment .
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,132
    What did the tech do for the service call?
    Here's some of the things I would've done...
    I'd make sure you oil line meets manufacturer's specifications for diameter, lift and length.
    I would've used my vacuum gauge and oil watcher to see if there is a vacuum leak. I agree with @Jamie Hall that it's probably a vacuum leak. If I saw air, I would've checked all fittings, gaskets etc.
    I would check the pump with my pressure and vacuum gauges to determine if the pump is operating correctly. I would also ohm out the coil, and check the drive key.
    If everything seems ok, I would power bleed it. This requires the proper gear and the proper method, and the knowledge of how to keep this burner running safely while you do it.

    Two pipe isn't going to fix it, neither is a tiger loop.
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 778
    Well the old Riello burner is laughing at me, It did not kick out and has been running as needed for the last 36 hours.

    The oil draw length I have for my system is well short of the maximum allowed for a single pipe top draw set up according to the manual that the Reillo folks sent me.

    I do not know if they have the Riello Tool kit for these burners yet.

    The oil service tech changed the nozzle as it was gummed up and did not change the screen. and gasket. When I changed it last year it had no debris or gum on it either so I know the RACOR filter is working very well.

    The RACOR filter cleans the Kerosene to 10 micron and any water or gunk is spun out of the kerosene and drops to the bottom of the sediment bowl as the pump pulls the oil through the filtration system.

    SO I will wait and see what happens.

  • kjbhvacr
    kjbhvacr Member Posts: 2
    Hi, Whats the max. vac you can get by with on a riello 2 pipe and one pipe system, Thank You in advance to all you Fellow HVAC GUYS. KEN
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,025
    edited March 2019
    Like Bluto's grades. 0.0.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,132
    kjbhvacr said:

    Hi, Whats the max. vac you can get by with on a riello 2 pipe and one pipe system, Thank You in advance to all you Fellow HVAC GUYS. KEN

    I wouldn't go higher than 6" on a single pipe lift job.
    Wouldn't exceed 8/9" on a 2 pipe or Tiger Loop.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,238
    Switch it to a gravity feed or go with the tiger loop . Some states , require you to go top feed . Then go with the tiger loop .. If not hook it up bottom feed ,Adjust tank pitched toward the valve . Pitch the oil line down into the house . NoTraps no water , no Freeze ...

    Problem with top feeds, Yours for one .. Collection of water in an oil tank breeds sludge . Sludge (algae poop)is acidic and will rot out a steel tank from the inside out . Kill the environment keep warm
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • HotanCool
    HotanCool Member Posts: 54
    Agree with others. Vacuum leak or pickup tube.