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Oil Furnace still locking out almost a year later

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oilbox23
oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
edited December 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
I started another thread here and have been replying to it but I don't think anyone is seeing it. So I started this one in the hopes of someone possibly giving me some insight and or direction.

The thread can be found here: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/167995/oil-furnace-locking-out#latest

Gist is I had a company come out and clean/service it (Lance in the other thread) which allowed it to run well for the better part of the winter this year (post January 2019). However just recently it started acting up again over the past two weeks.

Oil provider (who the tenants get oil from) came out and serviced it (replaced strainer and nozzle, bled lines) and it locked out the next day.
Same provider came out two days later and could see the valve was sticking open which was preventing it from running, they replaced the pump and the control unit. Ran for 5 days and locked out again.
Same provider came out again and replaced the motor and the nozzle. Checked the draft, smoke, flame and said everything looks good. Ran for 4 days and locked out again (today).

With the new control unit (Honeywell) the error message is simply 'hard lockout' every time. Seems to lockout only at night as well. The unit is currently off as I wait for them to come out again (4th time) to try and figure out what is wrong it. But at this point I don't know what is left to do with this thing? I have spent nearly $2Gs trying to fix this thing to no avail and am wondering what is left to do besides throw it off a cliff?

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,438
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    An oil burner is a very very simple device. You get the right nozzle for the burner and furnace or boiler. You get the correct oil pressure. You make sure the thing can actually get oil. You make sure the cutoff valve operates properly (if it has one). You set the ignition electrodes correctly. You fire it up and get the draughts correct. Print out results and go home.

    Right.

    Problem is, you do have to know what you are doing and have the correct instruments to do it.

    It doesn't sound as though the folks coming out do...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    rick in AlaskaSuperTech
  • oilbox23
    oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
    edited December 2019
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    An oil burner is a very very simple device. You get the right nozzle for the burner and furnace or boiler. You get the correct oil pressure. You make sure the thing can actually get oil. You make sure the cutoff valve operates properly (if it has one). You set the ignition electrodes correctly. You fire it up and get the draughts correct. Print out results and go home.

    Right.

    Problem is, you do have to know what you are doing and have the correct instruments to do it.

    It doesn't sound as though the folks coming out do...

    Frustrating to say the least. Its gets oil, it gets flame and it runs fine for 4-5 days then it doesn't.

    The only time anyone was able to identify an actual problem is when the pump **** the bed and it wouldn't reset out of lockout at all. Tech came out and could tell it was stuck open and replaced it. I had hoped that was cause of the problem but it wasn't. And I had it set and optimized so to speak but I guess when the most recent service was done all that went out the window.

    These are the original numbers from when it was cleaned, tested and vacuumed out last January.



    SuperTech
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
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    Those numbers stink.
    What make and model boiler/furnace, and burner?
    With a 0 smoke and proper draft, O2 should be around 4.5 to 6.5%.
    CO2 approx 10-12%.
    Excess air approx 25-30%.
    Stack temp is very high.
    I like 0 PPM CO if all else looks good.
    Did the recent company do a combustion test? If not, maybe they can throw more parts at it. And fight to get your money back. If they have to put your old controls back on, so be it, but new parts obviously didn't fix anything.
  • oilbox23
    oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
    edited December 2019
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    Check my original thread, lots of detail there as well explanation on those numbers from the tech who ran them.

    Its an UltraAir 80, Beckett burner and a Honeywell control panel. No bolier as this is only HVAC. No most recent company did not do a combustion test but I am going to have them do it today.

    Thankfully I haven't been charged for all the parts, only thing I was charged for was the pump $518 and a $119 service/tune up which neither have proven to have done jack ****.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    edited December 2019
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    That's way too much air, and the stack temp is too high. Has the furnace been cleaned and swept? Have draft readings been taken?
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    It's way too much air and stack temp because the draft is at -.092

    I'd put my money on cracked heat exchanger. So until someone properly checks that and confirms it's ok, no sense in trying anything else.

    As stated by myself, and others, you just need an experienced tech. The old "change nozzle, strainer, filter, bled oil line" is the sign of a hack who did zero diagnostics. I mean he didn't even 'adjust the electrodes', lol.
    As I said before, your combustion numbers are way off, and the draft is ridiculously high. It's probably sucking the flame off the end cone causing a lock out, or blowing the flame out when the blower motor comes on if the heat exchanger has failed.

    Pump probably wasn't bad either, but no one checked that properly.
    If the heat exchanger isn't compromised, fix the draft, return to original factory specs, right nozzle, confirm end cone is in good shape, check z dimension. Properly check transformer/ignitor and properly check burner motor.
    Proper power bleed, no vacuum leaks, full combustion test and no more problems.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    rwhtgSuperTech
  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,048
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    Those were last years "working on it" numbers. Did you get some new numbers after this recent repair? Pump pressure? Draft?
    D
  • oilbox23
    oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
    edited December 2019
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    What DZoro said those numbers were from a year ago and a different tech. That same tech actually came back a little after that test and did another test again but I never posted a picture of the results. Will see if I can dig it up.

    Having said that the most recent company (different tech) came out yesterday (didn't call me prior) so I had no idea he was there and only found out after he left. I asked the tenant about it they told me "they changed a part and its working." So I have no idea what they did or didn't do but will find out.

    Up to this point they have replaced the pump, motor, control unit, nozzle, tested the electrodes, measured draft (-2 IIRC), checked the cad cell, measured the z dimension, checked for soot and that is what I can remember off the top of my head. Never have the checked CO2 or stack temp when I was there. They told they didn't think it was a cracked heat exchanger but at this point who really knows.

    And I agree with what everyone is saying but as a consumer I got no idea who is or who isn't a good tech. Hell the guy that came up with those numbers I got off THIS SITE and you guys are telling me his work is sub par. Do you know how a tech can get listed on this site? By simply paying to get listed regardless if they are any good or not.

    Out of 3 different companies none them have been up to snuff. So do I continue on or just throw this oil heat out and put in an entirely new and different system? Who knows but if it breaks again I am going to have a make decision on whether I should still be trying to fix this thing or just spend the money to replace it. If I were to replace it should I even consider going with another oil burner? I don't have gas ran to the house so it has to be oil or electric because I got no interest in running a gas line.
  • oilbox23
    oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
    edited December 2019
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    Wait they did get some numbers but don't know how because I never saw them take them when I was there on the 2 occasions they billed me. Top one is one they 'serviced' second one is when they replaced the pump + control unit but only charged me $531 for the $90 pump (rollseyes).


  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,048
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    Either way the numbers are not right and don't make sense.
    I would find someone to fix or properly diagnose this oil system, before I'd have a new one installed. L P maybe a option? But really this shouldn't be so difficult to diagnose, if it was in front of most of us.
    Where are you from?
    D
    oilbox23
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,620
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    The numbers at the top make sense. The bottom ones don't.

    C02: 10.4, DRF BR is Breeching draft 4 is probably .04, DRF-FR is over fire draft 2 which is probably .02, Low water cutoff safety check is N/A. SMK is smoke which is 0, STK is stack temp which is 526 Tank Gauge is 3/4 full Efficiency is 81.2%

    Ok numbers if they are real
    oilbox23
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,094
    edited December 2019
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    I noticed that you have a control that has a display reading HARD LOCKOUT. There are more diagnostics available. The last 10 Errors and how many cycles ago the error happened. By reading the instructions for your particular control you may find something the inexperienced tech missed like ”lgnitor voltage low” or something else

    Have you added an oil filter yet? Seems like a replacement fuel filter refill is less expensive than replacing a fuel pump that gets fouled by tank bottom deposits

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    oilbox23
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,094
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    Here is another way to look at the problem. 12 years ago most oil burner tune ups we're in the $50 to$75 range. Today they are $185 to $245 range. So by neglecting the burner for 12 years you did not pay for $1600.00 worth of oil burner maintenance. Sounds like you are still ahead of the game. Also you have had success with one service provider that has experience with your system. Why would you get someone else? Did @Lance fail to respond?

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • oilbox23
    oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
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    Ok...'Hard lockout' when I cycled through the display it showed HARD LOCKOUT 6 times since that new control unit was installed. I didn't have a manual so I didn't know there was a way to get more detail than that. But everything I scrolled through showed just showed HARD LOCKOUT. Its a Honeywell R7284U1004/U. No oil filter as I have two lines from the tank to the burner so everyone that has come by (except for the first company) has said I don't need one. Also when they purged the line the oil came through nice and clean.

    The reason I didn't use Lance again is simply because he was expensive, that combined with the response I got from here about his numbers being lack luster I just figured I would try my luck elsewhere. Plus the new tenants had an oil company delivering them oil so I thought who better to service them then the a company that supplies it?

    Here are the last numbers Lance got from my unit back in January after he came back a second time:

    image

    And I agree I have been skirting this thing for a long time so I am ahead of it with what I have spent so far. However I still want to find someone capable and reasonably priced who knows their ****. The last thing I want is my tenants to move out because I can get reliable and consistent heat. I am in Maryland and I got referenced someone else from this site, steam something or other but when I reached out to him he said he didn't work on oil all that much anymore.

  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,707
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    you wouldn't drive your car without an oil filter,
    would you?
    that right there discounts all those other techs,
    and I'm no expert, but, I think Lance's sheet above still needs improving, so maybe it's time for someone else , again.
    where are you located ?
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/
    known to beat dead horses
  • oilbox23
    oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
    edited December 2019
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    neilc said:

    you wouldn't drive your car without an oil filter,
    would you?
    that right there discounts all those other techs,
    and I'm no expert, but, I think Lance's sheet above still needs improving, so maybe it's time for someone else , again.
    where are you located ?
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/

    Like I said I found Lance off that link you provided so I am not sure I want to use it again. Just because they are on this site isn't a guarantee that they know what they are doing.

    I am in Maryland so if anyone can recommend someone with first hand experience please, by all means, do so.

    Oh and to answer you question about a car without an oil filter, no I wouldn't but I know a **** ton about cars and next to nothing about oil burners. So I tend to rely on experts when it comes to oil and my own knowledge on cars. :smile:
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    All oil systems need a filter or two! The oil doesn't care if it's a simple one pipe gravity system, a one pipe overhead system, or a twi pipe overhead/under ground system.

    You have a fuel filter on your car, no different than oil. In fact gasoline is generally much cleaner than fuel oil.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • oilbox23
    oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
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    Update: Oil company told me when the tech was onsite last time the transformer was bad needed to be replaced. Funny because when I was able to be onsite a week prior they told me it was fine. They also told me that I now owed them nearly a grand for all the parts changing they had been doing. I told them to pound sand and that I wasn't paying all that so they reduced it all to $348 (cost of the transformer replacement). I didn't get any numbers this time either but I assume they will be on the invoice if and when I do get another one.

    Time will tell if all the new parts fixed the problem but what else is left to change? In the end I got a new pump, transformer, control unit, motor, nozzle, ???

    In regards to the filter if I have two lines do I need 2 filters?

  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    You need a filter. My comment about 2 filters is based on general filter and a fine filter (spin-on) in series. I do this on all my oil installs.

    I love the spin-on oil filters. I install a vacuum gauge permanently to monitor restriction of the filter.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • oilbox23
    oilbox23 Member Posts: 31
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    You need a filter. My comment about 2 filters is based on general filter and a fine filter (spin-on) in series. I do this on all my oil installs.



    I love the spin-on oil filters. I install a vacuum gauge permanently to monitor restriction of the filter.

    Got a link to the spin on filter?
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    I haven't used this particular one. I buy the Sid Harvey brand locally. So I can have a regular supply of the replacement filters.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • rwhtg
    rwhtg Member Posts: 34
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    Your heat exchanger is def cracked. O2, Co2, and exAir all point to it. You need to do a combustion test with blower OFF,record reading, and when the blower comes on watch for changes in O2, Co2, exAir. Any changes indicate a cracked heat exchanger and you will need to replace the furnace.
    Skilled labor isn’t cheap, cheap labor isn’t skilled.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,186
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    I work on a lot of oil burner equipment. If I performed a combustion analysis and came across numbers like that, it's usually a cracked end cone/flame retention head. Sometimes a tech will keep adding more air if they are eyeballing the flame or just using a smoke pump. Or it could be a bad heat exchanger. Either way I couldn't leave it running like that and expect it to not lock out.

    Press the bottom button on the R7284U until it says cad cell, I'd love to know what it's been reading. Anything over 1000 ohms is really bad.
  • rwhtg
    rwhtg Member Posts: 34
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    SuperTech said:

    I work on a lot of oil burner equipment. If I performed a combustion analysis and came across numbers like that, it's usually a cracked end cone/flame retention head. Sometimes a tech will keep adding more air if they are eyeballing the flame or just using a smoke pump. Or it could be a bad heat exchanger. Either way I couldn't leave it running like that and expect it to not lock out.



    Press the bottom button on the R7284U until it says cad cell, I'd love to know what it's been reading. Anything over 1000 ohms is really bad.

    Do you think a retention head that burned up/ off would cause excess air numbers like that? I Haven’t done a combustion test with a failed retention head to be able to compare readings. I’d expect you’d have a hard time getting a 0-T, also I’d expect the flame to look terrible...thoughts?
    Skilled labor isn’t cheap, cheap labor isn’t skilled.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,186
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    I have a customer with a 40 year old Rheem furnace with a Beckett burner, high stack temperature, will produce a lot of CO unless its at 10 percent O2. Heat exchanger is like a tank but the burner head is cracked in two places. Customer doesn't want to repair or replace anything