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Fuel Oil Boiler Guys

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cutter
cutter Member Posts: 292
I have a couple of questions for you Oil Guys if you are willing to share your oil knowledge. I have been burning wood totally since 2005. My oil boiler has sat idle since then. The fuel line from the tank to the boiler is empty. This is a two pipe system. The tank has 985 gallons in it. The bottom of the tank is about two feet lower that the floor the boiler sits on. The tank is six feet in diameter and underground about 45 feet from the boiler. The tank was filled in 2005 also. I took the gun off the boiler and with compressed air blew out all of the dust it collected over the years. I am going to change the oil filter tomorrow. Question is will the boiler fire up and run without any persuasion by just turning on the switch.

One more question, the Boiler is 140,000 BTU'S, I feel or think the house needs about 85,000 BTU'S to heat it. The nozzle currently is 1.25 which will produce 175,000 BTU'S. That is too large. A .75 will produce 105,000 BTU'S, is that a good size or can I go smaller or should I go a little larger?

I know I will need to have a burner man come out and make some adjustments before it gets really cold. I would like to run the boiler a little to take the chill off when the temperature inside gets down in the low 60's with the weather not going to bring it up.

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    What model boiler? What burner is on it?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,614
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    I would suggest a good oil guy to come out. I would fire the boiler first thing and see if everything is leak free and operational before you sink any money into it.

    If everything looks ok, put some oil treatment in the tank, clean the boiler and burner flush the boiler and be sure to check and clean all safety controls.




    STEVEusaPA
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 292
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    Steamhead said:

    What model boiler? What burner is on it?

    The boiler is a Burnham VP-SR The burner gun is a Wayne Model M-SR This boiler and gun has sat idle most of it's life. The boiler has had water in it most of it's life also. In the last 30 years it has only heated this house two years continuous. Other years it ran two weeks here and there but most years sat idle.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    That boiler was an American-Standard design that Burnham acquired in the early 1970s when it bought the A-S boiler line. These boilers were built like tanks.

    The burner was very common in those days. It is a flame-retention type and AFAIK is still being made, and parts are readily available. I think I have the OEM setup guide for these burners somewhere, have to check.

    You really should have a good oil tech start it up and tune it. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 292
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    I would suggest a good oil guy to come out. I would fire the boiler first thing and see if everything is leak free and operational before you sink any money into it.

    If everything looks ok, put some oil treatment in the tank, clean the boiler and burner flush the boiler and be sure to check and clean all safety controls.




    So you are saying it should fire if I turn on the switch?
    Everything is full of water and no leaks. When I had the gun off I cleaned out the fire box. I ran a brush down the flue pipe opening into the boiler but that was pretty clean. Compressed air cleaned out the burner gun. I would guess the oil company would have oil treatment. This is hot water not steam.
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 292
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    Steamhead said:

    That boiler was an American-Standard design that Burnham acquired in the early 1970s when it bought the A-S boiler line. These boilers were built like tanks.

    The burner was very common in those days. It is a flame-retention type and AFAIK is still being made, and parts are readily available. I think I have the OEM setup guide for these burners somewhere, have to check.

    You really should have a good oil tech start it up and tune it. Where are you located?

    I am in Minnesota just south of the twin cities. I have called a burner guy and he said the earliest he could come out would be one day next week. It is supposed to be a little cool between now and then. On the burner it gives all the electrode settings. Maybe I should make sure they are all correct and turn it on/
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,861
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    Has the boiler been drained for 13 years?
    Was the HX and chimney base cleaned before shutdown, or are the flue passages blocked?
    Right off the bat I would replace the extrol, if not an Xtank, PRV, relief valve, auto vents, if not Xtank, check the circulators.
    Does the MSR have a cad cell primary or is it a stack primary?
    I was never a fan of the MSR, so if a motor or pump is seized, I'd put in a new Riello or Beckett AFG.
    I would definitely replace the burner if it has a stack primary.
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 1,155
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    (Speaking as a homeowner that nolonger burns oil and uses coal;)
    cutter said:

    I have a couple of questions for you Oil Guys if you are willing to share your oil knowledge.
    I have been burning wood totally since 2005. My oil boiler has sat idle since then. The fuel line from the tank to the boiler is empty. This is a two pipe system.
    ======================================================
    1. (NOT GOOD)
    ======================================================
    The tank has 985 gallons in it.

    ==============================================
    2. (NOT GOOD)
    =============================================

    The bottom of the tank is about two feet lower that the floor the boiler sits on. The tank is six feet in diameter and underground about 45 feet from the boiler.

    3.. (NOT GOOD)Your going to have to have the tank pumped out eventually and dug up, cut open and cleaned of residual sludge and oil and disposed of.
    ======================================================

    4. The tank was filled in 2005 also.

    (You will have to have the oil in the tank filtered out to 10 micron or less and have a fuel additive like diesel 911 added to the tank to kill any algae in the tank)
    ======================================================

    5. I took the gun off the boiler and with compressed air blew out all of the dust it collected over the years.

    (your oil man will need to clean oil burner and boilers fire box
    using stove brushes and a shop vac)
    ======================================================

    6. I am going to change the oil filter tomorrow. Question is will the boiler fire up and run without any persuasion by just turning on the switch.

    (wait on this it may or may not fire as it could be air locked and or plugged with waste from the algae in the tank)
    ======================================================

    7. One more question, the Boiler is 140,000 BTU'S, I feel or think the house needs about 85,000 BTU'S to heat it. The nozzle currently is 1.25 which will produce 175,000 BTU'S. That is too large. A .75 will produce 105,000 BTU'S, is that a good size or can I go smaller or should I go a little larger?

    (Have you had a heat loss study done at any time?
    A small nozzle will require the burner to run longer BUT lowering the high and low limit temperature works to save fuel and reduce heat loss. I no longer burn dino fuel and I use summer operating temperatures to control my coal stoker boiler for the heating season every year).
    ======================================================

    7. I know I will need to have a burner man come out and make some adjustments before it gets really cold. I would like to run the boiler a little to take the chill off when the temperature inside gets down in the low 60's with the weather not going to bring it up.

    (I hope that it is a simple repair for you but you need to have the fuel filtered to 10 micron or less and fuel stabiliser like Heet or diesel 911. You may have a pin hole in one or both of the oil lines and that is big trouble as your underground tank may already have water in it).

    You will need to have the tank dug up and removed as it is a HUGE and REAL liability for you and or your descendants as your property could become a superfund site from oil contamination and if you use well water it will contaminate the well.
    It will make the home difficult if not impossible to sell when the time comes if there is no documentation about the tank and how its removal was properly overseen and documented by an authorized contractor that has been trained to do the work.

    A true double wall tank being a tank within a tank set on the surface of the ground is the safest way to have fuel oil storage for home heating with the oil lines exposed and run along the exterior wall of the home and then passed through the foundation wall and sealed with putty.

    BEEN where you are and done that as the fool that told me the buried tank was full of water was wrong and it was filled with fuel when they dug it up.

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    Besides all the good advice you were given, I would start with the oil tank. I'd use paste to determine if/how much water was in the tank.
    I'd next take a sample and have it analyzed. There's a good chance your oil has completely fouled, things like polymerization for one, and is filled with microbes and all kinds of junk in it.
    It is, at best a candidate to have the whole load polished, and at worst, needs to be taken out of the tank and disposed as waste oil.
    After clean oil (or polished) was re-introduced to the tank, I would see if the supply line could hold a vacuum. If it can't, you'll need a new oil line.
    I would eliminate the return line and, VERY IMPORTANT-remove the bypass plug.
    Then I would bleed the oil line.

    On the burner side I would check the electrode specs, especially the placement of the nozzle line (forward/backward). There's a good chance it's in the wrong spot if you took the nozzle assemble out, but there's also a good chance there's and obvious (clean spot) where it needs to be set. I would check the transformer.
    I'd open up the boiler and check the heat exchanger and clean if necessary, with the proper vacuum so as to not have soot introduced into the air I breathe.
    Then I'd inspect the flue pipe and the chimney base, and do a Level II inspection of the chimney (for starters).
    Put it all back together, have my personal CO meter running, fire it up. Make sure it's drafting, set the draft properly, smoke test, combustion test.
    Anything less than all of that, performed by a qualified tech with the proper skills and tools, and you're asking for trouble and possibly risking your life and the life of your family.

    The buried tank is a whole other issue, but if you put 950 gallons in there, and there is still 950 gallons, and no water infiltration, it's probably ok. But if you're pumping out the oil because it's bad, and the tank is that old, you should consider taking that tank out and putting a new tank in the basement.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
    edited September 2018
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    I cannot add to the oil advice given, but I will add that as a fellow wood burner, consider going propane as a backup heat source. If your oil is good, burn it! I had 10 year old oil that was in a heated area indoor tank. I burned it last year and sold the boiler and tank. I'd strongly consider getting rid of that underground tank once its empty. Total nightmare with water, possible leakage, insurance etc. I do a lot of gas station work and the headaches of their double wall UG tanks are considerable, with a 20-30 year life expectancy. Here in Maine, they must be dug up after 30 years.

    I bought my own propane tank and a condensing boiler as a backup. Propane is also used to cook with and dry my clothes. Propane has the benefit that is will not go bad in the tank and is significantly less expensive per BTU when you own your tank and can negotiate a price. My tank is from 1980 and I blasted and triple epoxy painted it. All said and done, I saved enough money on the FIRST fillup to cover the total investment of the tank (all labor was mine though).

    Just my own personal experience. All of my commercial and industrial work is with propane, not oil. The more you buy the cheaper it is.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 292
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    I cannot add to the oil advice given, but I will add that as a fellow wood burner, consider going propane as a backup heat source. If your oil is good, burn it! I had 10 year old oil that was in a heated area indoor tank. I burned it last year and sold the boiler and tank. I'd strongly consider getting rid of that underground tank once its empty. Total nightmare with water, possible leakage, insurance etc. I do a lot of gas station work and the headaches of their double wall UG tanks are considerable, with a 20-30 year life expectancy. Here in Maine, they must be dug up after 30 years.



    I bought my own propane tank and a condensing boiler as a backup. Propane is also used to cook with and dry my clothes. Propane has the benefit that is will not go bad in the tank and is significantly less expensive per BTU when you own your tank and can negotiate a price. My tank is from 1980 and I blasted and triple epoxy painted it. All said and done, I saved enough money on the FIRST fillup to cover the total investment of the tank (all labor was mine though).



    Just my own personal experience. All of my commercial and industrial work is with propane, not oil. The more you buy the cheaper it is.

    Solid fuel, When I first put this system in wrong back in 1985 the tank was filled 1,000 gallons, throughout the next 15 years I burned a little of it. The fuel was OK then but I heard fuel has changed in recent years, and does go bad. When I filled the tank in 2005 i also filled a 265 gallon tank in the garage that I use for my diesel tractor. I take 10 to 15 gallons out of it each year with no problems. I was or am planning on burning oil for a couple of years then converting this boiler to natural gas. Maybe propane.

    I hope I do not have the problems suggested by others. Everything looks good so far. I am going to pump a little fuel manually from the bottom of this tank tomorrow and see what the stuff on the bottom looks like. The stuff on the top looks OK.
  • captainco
    captainco Member Posts: 796
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    The end cone on the burner is specifically for at least a 1.00 gph firing rate. You cannot lower the nozzle without changing the end cone. Using smaller nozzles can only lead to higher fuel usage.
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
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    You left 985 gallons in the ground for 13 years???

    Know anyone that needs turpentine?
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    edited September 2018
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    "but I heard fuel has changed in recent years, and does go bad."

    all petroleum based fuel from gasoline to fuel oil has a shelf life of 30 days without additive like Stabil, always did

    What changed for fuel oil was a little auto trans fluid was added to give it a red color for DOT to inspect trucks that shouldn't be running #2 to avoid taxes, it makes it foam when filling, and the product itself is of lower quality due to recracking asphalt, etc to get more product
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    GBart said:

    "...What changed for fuel oil was a little auto trans fluid was added to give it a red color for DOT to inspect trucks that shouldn't be running #2 to avoid taxes...

    It's not auto trans fluid.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    edited September 2018
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    I read that years ago, they now claim its a red dye but they also claim they can verify it through a chemical test. Not sure.

    https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2018-title26-vol18/xml/CFR-2018-title26-vol18-sec48-4082-1.xml

    You know what I think it was?, it's the same dye they use in ATF. Not just ATF because dye is cheaper, duh.
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 292
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    captainco said:

    The end cone on the burner is specifically for at least a 1.00 gph firing rate. You cannot lower the nozzle without changing the end cone. Using smaller nozzles can only lead to higher fuel usage.

    When I called a burner guy and asked about nozzles he suggested a 1.00 also. That most likely is what I will go with. That burner guy can't come out till next week, kind of chilly here.
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 292
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    GBart said:

    "but I heard fuel has changed in recent years, and does go bad."

    all petroleum based fuel from gasoline to fuel oil has a shelf life of 30 days without additive like Stabil, always did

    What changed for fuel oil was a little auto trans fluid was added to give it a red color for DOT to inspect trucks that shouldn't be running #2 to avoid taxes, it makes it foam when filling, and the product itself is of lower quality due to recracking asphalt, etc to get more product

    GBart said:

    "but I heard fuel has changed in recent years, and does go bad."

    all petroleum based fuel from gasoline to fuel oil has a shelf life of 30 days without additive like Stabil, always did

    What changed for fuel oil was a little auto trans fluid was added to give it a red color for DOT to inspect trucks that shouldn't be running #2 to avoid taxes, it makes it foam when filling, and the product itself is of lower quality due to recracking asphalt, etc to get more product

    GBart, Last summer I put my smart stick is the tank to find out how many gallons were in the tank . When I pulled the stick out the fuel that ran off it looked good all the way to the bottom of the stick.

    Today I talked to a guy at the company that I have bought fuel from in the past. He told me in 2008 the feds required diesel to be low sulfur. The sulfur is what helps lengthen the life of diesel fuel. He also said that being as how it is in a underground tank that helps prevent condensation and water build up in the bottom of the tank. He also said if you buy fuel in November and before May you get a fuel that will have a longer life span. He said something about more or less Bio in it,I think. As for foaming, when I had the tank filled many years ago I saw heating fuel foam when it is pumped in so fast. I am not too worried yet.

    I was going to pump a little fuel from the bottom of the tank today but something else came up and I was not able to. I will most likely do that tomorrow. I want to see what the fuel looks like at the bottom, and see if there is any water. I have not had trouble in the past using fuel that was that old.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,861
    edited September 2018
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    > @captainco said:
    > The end cone on the burner is specifically for at least a 1.00 gph firing rate. You cannot lower the nozzle without changing the end cone. Using smaller nozzles can only lead to higher fuel usage.

    I can't find where the OP said which head is on the "air tube" (did I do good @STEVEusaPA ?) but there was and is about a jagillion Bock 32E water heaters with the MSR firing .75 GPH @ 100 psi. Offered as a package.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • captainco
    captainco Member Posts: 796
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    I just checked my Wayne Burner manual and a #2 burner head will handle .75 to 1.35 gph. However the #1 burner head handles .65 to 1.00 gph. Most burners operate the best at there highest rating. Unless the head is changed I would not fire less than 1.00 gph. I sold Wayne burner for many years and had trouble firing at the lower rating of the flame cone. More air is needed to keep it clean and that does not help efficiency.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    edited September 2018
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    HVACNUT said:


    I can't find where the OP said which head is on the "air tube" (did I do good @STEVEusaPA ?) but there was and is about a jagillion Bock 32E water heaters with the MSR firing .75 GPH @ 100 psi. Offered as a package.

    If there was a 'thumbs up' emoji, I'd toss it your way. :)
    Was never a big fan of the Wayne burner, but there are plenty of them out there.



    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
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    18 year old petroleum based fuel will be sour, period, it will not burn well and don't be surprised if you can't get better than a #2 smoke, it will probably be a #1 and some yellow. I had tons of summer homes than only got fuel every few years not 14 and the fuel is always turning to turpentine.
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 292
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    captainco said:

    I just checked my Wayne Burner manual and a #2 burner head will handle .75 to 1.35 gph. However the #1 burner head handles .65 to 1.00 gph. Most burners operate the best at there highest rating. Unless the head is changed I would not fire less than 1.00 gph. I sold Wayne burner for many years and had trouble firing at the lower rating of the flame cone. More air is needed to keep it clean and that does not help efficiency.

    captainco, Does M-SR mean I have a #2 burner head? The burner guy I talked to that can't come out till next week did suggest a 1.00 nozzle. That sounds like what I will use Unless the burner guy insists on something else.

    I pulled a little fuel off the bottom of the tank today (with in a half inch of the bottom) all I got was fuel and specks of dirt or rust, don't know which. No water. The suction line is 2 inches of the bottom of tank, I think. I am tempted to turn on the switch tomorrow and see if it fires up. I set the electrodes gap according to what is on the burner. The height above center line of nozzle says 1/2 inch for the electrodes, they are at 3/8, don't see how I can raise that.
    Are all these electrode measurements on the burner to the center of the electrode, or the edge of the electrode closest to the nozzle, and the edge of electrode closest to the center line of nozzle?
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,861
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    There are 3 measurements to setting electrodes.
    1- Gap
    2- Center of nozzle to electrode tips.
    3- Depth from the face of the nozzle to the electrode tips.

    I dont believe I've ever used any other spray pattern on an MSR other than an 80°A Delavan. We're talking less than 1.50 GPH though.
    But the analyzer will know better than me.
  • captainco
    captainco Member Posts: 796
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    The MSR doesn't specify which head is on the burner but based on the current nozzle it would most likely have to be a #2. Pump pressure should never be below 125# unless your oil is heated to 80 to 100 degrees which is the temperature nozzles are tested and rated. I would recommend changing the pump pressure to 140# and then a .85 80 degree B nozzle would be 1.00 gph. Flame retention burners have a solid air pattern and solid nozzles work best. Because the patterns on nozzles are inconsistent is the reason other nozzles have sometimes worked.
    HVACNUT
  • cutter
    cutter Member Posts: 292
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    Captainco, I will write this down and suggest it to the burner tech who will be coming out on Thursday and see what he says. Thanks.