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Oil Furnace locking out

oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
edited December 2018 in THE MAIN WALL
I have an Armstrong Air Ultra 80 oil furnace that is locking out every so often. If I push the red button to reset from lockout it will run for a day, two, three or whatever then eventually locks out again and I have to push the reset button. Once I push the reset button it fires right up. It only seems to do this when the heat runs in the winter. In the summer with the AC running I never have this problem.

I pulled the filter today and it was dirty but I could have sworn I changed it not too long ago. I guess only time will tell if the filter was the issue but I would be surprised if it was because I regularly change them. I had someone out a year or so ago when this started happening but they couldn't find anything wrong with it. But now the problem is becoming more and more prevalent.

Is there something I can check or look for to figure out what is causing this?
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Comments

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member
    Well I don't recommend working on this yourself without proper tools and experience.

    There are far too many variables to give you a proper diagnosis.
    An experienced well-trained tech could figure it out by seeing what is happening when it is reset, and properly checking all the components.
    This requires:
    -Knowing how to use and check components with a VOM meter, incoming voltage, transformer, primary control, burner motor, and oil valve (if used).
    -Pressure & vacuum gauges to check pump pressure, cut-off, vacuum (vacuum leaks) or restrictions.
    -Combustion analyzer to check combustion-draft, CO, O2, Excess Air.
    -Smoke gun to check air band adjustment.

    After you changed the filter did you properly bleed the filter, fuel line and fuel pump?
    steve
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 4,969Member
    Sounds like you need a qualified service tech. They are hard to find.

    Not a good idea to keep pressing the reset button. You have a problem that needs fixing.

    Hopefully you wouldn't keep replacing a fuse on a wiring circuit that was shorted or overloaded......could start a fire....same thing with a reset button, it's telling you something is wrong.
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    Why would I have to bleed it when I just changed the air filter? I have a tech coming tomorrow morning to check it out. If it isn’t locked out when he shows up does it matter? Problem is so intermittent that if it has to be occurring for someone to be able to fix it I may be SOL.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member
    I thought you meant fuel filter, as an air filter would have nothing to do with a burner locking out.
    The tech could still check all components. You could even put a modern primary control like a Carlin ProMaxx, Genisys, or Honeywell, that logs history and could provide some troubleshooting information.
    steve
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    Well tech came and pulled the igniter and nozzle out and the nozzle was black as night. Probably never been cleaned in 11 years that I have owned the place. He thought that was most likely the issue so he cleaned it and charged me $125. Hell I could have done that for free.

    Only time will tell if that fixed my issue or not.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member
    edited December 2018
    He didn't replace the nozzle, fuel filter and pump strainer, nor did he check any other components? Combustion test?
    If he changed the nozzle he should've at least did a full combustion test.
    steve
  • Jon_blaneyJon_blaney Posts: 43Member
    Oil burners are like cars. Check for fuel and ignition. Sounds like you have fuel so it is in the ignition. How old is the igniter? These can fail intermittently under stress, same for points. Sometimes it is hard to tell. If it always starts cold, I would guess it is the igniter.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member

    Oil burners are like cars...

    Oh it's that simple...all the years I wasted learning and experience.

    steve
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    edited December 2018

    He didn't replace the nozzle, fuel filter and pump strainer, nor did he check any other components? Combustion test?
    If he changed the nozzle he should've at least did a full combustion test.

    No man, just cleaned it. I don't have a filter on this furnace, never have, they said they could install one for $, I passed.

    Like I said all he did was clean the nozzle.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member
    You can wipe off a nozzle, but you can't 'clean' it. The orifice (hole) size is (I think) about 1/10 the diameter of a human hair. I'm sorry you had a hack come to your home. If that price is just to install a filter, he's a crook too (BTW pricing isn't allowed, so if you can still edit your post you should remove it). You should find another service provider.
    You really should have a fuel filter. If they are not replacing the oil line, they should blow it back to the tank with a hand pump, install filter at the tank.
    Where are you located? Maybe someone on the Wall is nearby and can help.
    steve
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 679Member
    Nozzles do not get cleaned, they should be replaced every year. You really need a filter at the tank that should be replaced every year as well. I can guarantee that you will have the same problem again in the near future.

    Try the find a contractor tool on this site. You should be able to find a much better service technician. That guy wouldn't last five minutes where I work. A good technician will save you money by getting your furnace running safely, reliably and efficient.
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    edited December 2018
    I am in Maryland, anyone local? And he told me it was an '80' nozzle but what flow (gph) should I be looking at? Hell if I knew what he was telling me at the time was true. I would hope I didn't spend $125 in vain.

    I reached out to a couple contracts listed here local to me. Will see what they come up with.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 1,818Member
    Heck after 11 years, all it really needs is a good nozzle buffing. Maybe adjust the "points".
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member
    edited December 2018
    If @Steamhead is near you, and is available, you’d be in good hands.
    steve
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    edited January 3
    Update to this. I went and got the right nozzle and a soot stick.
    Changed out the nozzle and vacuumed what soot I could see from the peep holes. Made a right mess doing that. I then threw the soot stick in and let it burn through. It ran fine for two weeks then locked out again so I found someone off this website and had them come out.

    Ended up being a fair amount of soot build up that I couldn't see.
    The thing hadn't been cleaned in 12 years so I wasn't surprised but they cleaned it all out. They also adjusted the igniters and the mixture by allowing a lot more air. They also replaced some old thin wiring and re-crimped some other ones. Did a soot test and the paper came back clean and then did the CO/CO2/FLUE/TEMP test with the probe and this is what it came back with:

    image

    Time will tell if it locks out again but this second service cost me a pretty penny so my hope is I get some prolonged life out of it.
  • JellisJellis Posts: 77Member
    well... not great readings on your test there.
    CO reading should be under 100
    CO2 should be more like 11%!
    your unit is getting too much air resulting in very poor efficiency of 66.1%, your furnace is capable of up to 86% in perfect conditions.

    further adjustments are necessary if you want to have your unit performing well!

    Do not adjust your burner without proper testing equipment. i would call the company back and discuss the results of the test with them. Right now a very substantial amount of your fuel $$$ is going right up your chimney
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    edited January 3
    Spent nearly a grand already on this thing only to be told by you that the test isn't very good. :neutral:


    The techs opened up the AIR a lot too, prior it was nearly closed and now its nearly open. I just spoke to the techs and they are willing to work with me on the price and try again to make it run more efficiently. Said they had it running hot to hopefully burn off the remaining soot. My goal right now is to not have it lock out with with tenants so if it doesn't for the next couple weeks I am ok with that.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 9,758Member
    oilbox23 said:

    I am ready to throw this thing out the window. Spent nearly a grand already on this thing only to be told by you that the test isn't very good. The techs opened up the AIR a lot too, prior it was nearly closed and now its nearly open. I have tenants moving in tomorrow as well and I wanted this fixed prior to them moving in but here I am.

    You may have spent a good bit. Unfortunately, the people you gave the money to didn't know what they were doing, or if they did, didn't do it,,, it happens, all too often. We understand -- finding good technicians for heating is almost as hard as finding good carpenters or car mechanics or... pretty much any trade these days.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member
    I have no idea why you used a soot stick. I agree, way too much air, and probably too much draft.
    If you need that much air to get a true zero smoke on your smoke test, then either one or more issues could exist:
    -You don't have the right nozzle/right pump pressure
    -The Z dimension is incorrect
    -The end cone is cracked
    -Missing/defective cleanout gaskets
    -Cracked heat exchanger.

    I'm sorry you spent a grand, especially with no new components installed.
    But you also shouldn't have gone 12 years without a cleaning. Shame on you.
    I would call them up and tell them they need to send out a NORA Gold certified tech, or send you your money back.
    steve
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    I edited my post after I talked to the heating company that I FOUND ON THIS WEBSITE. At this point the techs are willing to work with me on the price and attempt to make it more efficient. Its not like I got nothing for my money, they did do a lot as I was there the entire time. Maybe just not enough? I do know my neighbor basically got all new parts for $800 but here I am with the same parts and out more money. I have been through 3 techs so far and not sure I want to keep trying my luck.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,996Member
    oilbox23 said:

    Spent nearly a grand already on this thing only to be told by you that the test isn't very good. The techs opened up the AIR a lot too, prior it was nearly closed and now its nearly open. I just spoke to the techs and they are willing to work with me on the price and try again to make it run more efficiently. Said they had it running hot to hopefully burn off the remaining soot. My goal right not is to not have it lock out with tenants so if it does that I am ok with it until they can come back onsite and fine tune it.

    You said MD correct? Whereabouts? My parents are in MD, been using the same company for years and have never had issues getting things tuned correctly. I can find out what they pay (we don't discuss this on the forum), but I know it's no where near what you mentioned. Just not sure if the company they work with would service your area.

    Burn of the soot? They really said that? WOW. You clean off the soot you don't burn it off.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    edited January 3
    I am paraphrasing so it take what I am saying with a grain of salt. I guess the results are in the test itself? Meaning its obvious its still not running as well as it should be?? Yes I am in MD, Annapolis to be specific... can you PM me who you use?

    As far as nozzle goes I replaced the one I had in there with the exact same size. .65 GPH .80 B. As far as the other stuff you mentioned I got no comment on any of that because I don't want to put my foot in my mouth.
  • DZoroDZoro Posts: 676Member
    Oh my, I was hoping those were the "before" adjustments. Only to realize that you didn't post the after results....
    Expensive analyzer for a tech who hasn't a clue.
    Hope they bring back a senior experienced tech, along with the original tech who has a lot to learn.
    D
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 1,818Member
    I didn't think you could still get soot sticks. '80's flashback.
  • jerryb46jerryb46 Posts: 17Member
    all these home owners and engineers giving advice on serviceing oil heating equpt.These units are involved machines that require training to service properly, not I THINK TRY THIS.,also when was the last time anybody flushed the oil feed line on a gravity flow system?OIL systems need proper service by a trained tech.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 9,758Member
    @jerryb46 -- I quite agree that oil -- and gas -- systems need proper service by a trained tech. However, may I respectfully point out that most of the gentlemen who have replied to this thread are, in fact, very highly skilled technicians, and are trying to be as helpful as they can be through the medium of the keyboard. Not easy.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • jerryb46jerryb46 Posts: 17Member
    Jamie,Point well taken,jerry
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    DZoro said:

    Oh my, I was hoping those were the "before" adjustments. Only to realize that you didn't post the after results....
    Expensive analyzer for a tech who hasn't a clue.
    Hope they bring back a senior experienced tech, along with the original tech who has a lot to learn.
    D

    I said that but the answer I was given was "it was full of soot before so the test wouldn't have been accurate." c'est la vie.

    If any highly skilled techs on this thread are in MD or know of someone in MD let me know. Hell I just learned that the "find a contractor tool" on this site is PAID advertising so anyone can pay and be listed here.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 9,758Member
    Actually at least two of the very best techs on this site are in Maryland. Some of the very best in the business, in fact. They do pay to support this site, which does cost money to run, and we all thank them for their support. But I suppose, given the tone of your comment on paying to support the site, you wouldn't be interested.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • DZoroDZoro Posts: 676Member
    Just sad, and it is not just the HVAC industry. But WELL TRAINED TECHNICIANS, are just really hard to find.
    I fully understand @jerryb46 this HO is trying his best to get a qualified tech. Unfortunately we see the results of our industry rear its ugly head all the time on this site. Fortunately for this HO this site helps him realize that what he expected, and paid for was wrong. Without this site he still would have a very poorly operating furnace, but thinking he did the right thing by calling in a "professional".
    Hopefully he will post the new/properly set up results after the next professional adjusts his furnace.
    D
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    edited January 4

    Actually at least two of the very best techs on this site are in Maryland. Some of the very best in the business, in fact. They do pay to support this site, which does cost money to run, and we all thank them for their support. But I suppose, given the tone of your comment on paying to support the site, you wouldn't be interested.

    I don't care if they pay to advertise If they do a good job. I do care if they pay and don't do a good job. So I found a tech on this site that pays to advertise (unbeknownst to me) here in MD. I posted said results from that tech and you see the responses I got, all negative. So pray tell me how am I supposed to know whether a tech is good or bad that advertises here? I just assumed they were somehow vetted before being allowed to advertise. And I was just following another posters recommendation to use a tech ON THIS SITE.

    And if the two best techs are in MD please by all means share their contact information with me over PM. I am happy to give them my business if it means getting this furnace to where it needs to be. My tone? Come off it man, I am just trying to not get fleeced.

    FWIW The guys that came out last time are going to come back and try to make this thing run more efficiently. I will be sure to post all the results after the fact as well. That is unless @Jamie Hall gives me the contact information and I go with one of them instead.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member
    edited January 4
    Looking at your combustion results again, it shows your draft at -.092. If that is the breech measurement it's way too high. If it's that high with the draft regulator all the way open, then you need either a second regulator, or you'll need to have a 'Neutral Pressure Point Adjuster' (learned from FireDragon).
    This excessive draft could be the reason for nuisance lockouts.
    Standard combustion set up is:
    1. Run unit to steady state
    2. Adjust draft to manufacturer's spec.
    3. Set air to true zero smoke.
    4. Use analyzer to note CO2 or 02 number.
    5. Open air shutter to decrease CO2 by 1 percentage point.
    steve
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member

    Looking at your combustion results again, it shows your draft at -.092. If that is the breech measurement it's way too high. If it's that high with the draft regulator all the way open, then you need either a second regulator, or you'll need to have a 'Neutral Pressure Point Adjuster' (learned from FireDragon).
    This excessive draft could be the reason for nuisance lockouts.
    Standard combustion set up is:
    1. Run unit to steady state
    2. Adjust draft to manufacturer's spec.
    3. Set air to true zero smoke.
    4. Use analyzer to note CO2 or 02 number.
    5. Open air shutter to decrease CO2 by 1 percentage point.

    What causes a high draft? And that is how they did the combustion test IIRC.

    Is the draft regulator the section coming off the stack that has a little swing door on it? If so they adjusted that as well but from my memory the draft never got much lower than that. Unfortunately I have no idea what the draft was prior to all of this but when they first did the test that draft number was higher.
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 875Member, Moderator, Administrator
    I've been in touch with the tech on this job. He agrees that the last test did not yield the best results nor should they be the final results, but the problems with this system are more than just combustion and it needs more work. He has followed up with this customer and will continue to do so.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 9,758Member
    On the draught -- what is your chimney or other exhaust like? A tall, warm chimney can sometimes produce a pretty terrific suction... but there are ways to correct it.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Robert_25Robert_25 Posts: 175Member
    A quick thought - you said you had the nozzle replaced to match what was in there before. Did anyone check to see if that is the right nozzle for your furnace?
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member

    On the draught -- what is your chimney or other exhaust like? A tall, warm chimney can sometimes produce a pretty terrific suction... but there are ways to correct it.

    HVAC is in the basement, Chimeny extends up one floor from the basement then out the roof (single story house). Maybe 3' tall on the roof.
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    Robert_25 said:

    A quick thought - you said you had the nozzle replaced to match what was in there before. Did anyone check to see if that is the right nozzle for your furnace?

    The nozzle I pulled out was the same one I replaced it with and the same one listed on the specification sticker inside the furnace. So other than going off that I would assume its right.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,552Member
    While you're waiting for the tech to come back, do you have the exact model number (Take a pic of the entire sticker if you can).
    In my experience older Armstrong's don't do much better than 80%
    steve
  • oilbox23oilbox23 Posts: 15Member
    edited January 8
    Its an occupied rental property so I don't have immediate access to it. Service order shows model number as "LUF80C84/95D16." Efficiency for this model is 80% if I am reading the specs correctly which would agree with what you are saying.
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