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Truck stock

trcoons Member Posts: 1
Hey guys just starting out in oil burner service. Working on getting base inventory list for starting. Any help would be great.



  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,512
    edited August 2021
    Where to start?

    You'll need nozzles and filters to match burners that are used in your area. If you've been in the business for a while, you'll know what these are.

    If not, you'll need replacement filter cartridges for the General 1A-25/Unifilter 77, General 2A-700/Unifilter 99, Gar-Ber spin-on M and R sizes and possibly the Westwood cartridge used with the TigerLoop Ultra.

    Nozzles will again vary based on what you're working with. Start out with 80° hollow-cone and solid-cone from 0.50 GPH up to 2.00 GPH, also 60° solid-cone in the same range, for residential work. These *should* cover most residential applications. Delavan makes nozzle boxes to store these neatly. Get the 110-nozzle units. Also get the OEM Spec Guides from Beckett, Carlin and Riello- you wouldn't believe how many boilers I've seen with wrong nozzles in them.

    You'll need replacement fuel units. The most common ones are Suntec A2VA-7116 and the Suntec-made, Beckett-branded CleanCut. These will fit many 3450-RPM burners.

    You'll need replacement primary controls. Don't even think about stocking 3-wire primaries like the Honeywell R8184 series. These were state of the art when they came out, but now should be banned. The most modern primaries such as the Beckett GeniSys, Honeywell R7284 and Carlin 60200 series have self-diagnostics built-in, and a suitably short 15-second trial for ignition after which they cut power to the ignitor. I like the GeniSys because you need a separate tool to change its programming, which helps keep home owners from messing with it.

    These primaries use a cad-cell as a flame detector- you'll need these too.

    You'll need ignitors for the various burners in your area. Both Beckett and Carlin sell kits which use ignitors that can be mounted on various baseplates to fit whatever burner they need to go on.

    You'll need electrodes also. It's possible to re-sharpen the tips if needed, but sometimes there's a hairline crack in the porcelain and you'll need a new set. You can get "tune-up kits" for various burner models.

    You'll need couplings which connect the burner motor shaft with the fuel unit shaft. These come pre-made for Becketts and Carlins but also as kits that can be cut to length.

    Riello burners are "very different" and don't use standard parts aside from nozzles. Riello sells a kit with all the service parts included, which you can then restock as needed.

    Then you'll need tools like a nozzle wrench, electrode setting gauges, ignitor tester, pressure gauges 0-150 and 0-300 PSI, soot saw, brushes and a soot vac. Do not use a shop vac to clean a sooted unit- the soot will just blow all over the place.

    R.E. Michel and Sid Harvey are good sources for these items. If anyone reading this sees I've forgotten something, please speak up.

    Finally, if you haven't done so, get some training. If you're in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association offers training- see:


    My friend @Alan R. Mercurio trains there.

    If you're in New England, my friend George Lanthier a.k.a. @Firedragon trains at the Beckett training center in Sturbridge, MA.:


    These are two of the best. Tell them Steamhead sent you.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,786
    Do you work for yourself or do you work for other companies?
    If you work for yourself, like I do, what works for me is this.
    I made my own database with FileMaker. It contains all my customer information and every component on every piece of equipment, as well as service and combustion history. I’m able to put this database on my iPhone. From there I’m able to generate a list of every nozzle, filter, pump strainer, etc.
    From this list I’m able to build my inventory and truck stock.
    This way I’m only carrying the nozzles I need.
    Speaking of nozzles, there is a supply issue this fall. Better go get them ASAP.
    Other basic inventory really depends on how much service you do, and how far you are from supply houses. For me I have a small service radius with a dozen different supply houses close by
    You should at least have:
    -All the nozzles I could use in my customer base.
    -lots of filter elements, general & spin on, strainers/gaskets
    -3 universal primaries, with 2 accompanying AC Ready or Kool Kit. 25' MC 14-3 wire w/ground
    -2 PSC burner motors.
    -2 fuel pumps with delay oil valve, 2 without.
    -3 AFG transformers, plus a transformer kit and/or baseplates, for Carlin, Wayne, or any other type of burner in your customer base.
    -electrodes, pump couplings, cad cell eyes/wires, nozzle lines
    -2 of each end cones, F0 / F3 / F4 / F6 / F12 / F22 / F31 & a few heat shields
    -L1, L2, V1 heads
    -Riello rescue kit
    -2 electronic aguastats (Hydrostat 3250) w/2 standard long wells and one short.
    -zone vale’s, zone valve heads
    -2 007e circulators
    -2 Caleffi feeds, 2 BFP's
    -lots of brass fittings for oil line/pumps
    -50' of jacketed oil line, 3/8, & 1/2
    -2 General Filters-complete
    -2 Gerber spin-one complete
    -2 Tiger Loops, one regular, 1 Ultra
    -Large rolls of thermostat wire-2, 4, 8 wire.
    -Vacuum bags, oil dry, furnace cement.
    And that’s about 15% of the parts in my truck. Have more at the shop.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,512
    @STEVEusaPA , I think we need to know how big the OP's truck is >:)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,786
    Steamhead said:

    @STEVEusaPA , I think we need to know how big the OP's truck is >:)

    I already know…not big enough.

    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,343
    Don't forget some pump strainers and gaskets
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 618
    Before I retired I had a Ford F350 diesel pickup with a tall service cap. Most everything I serviced was commercial; schools, hospitals and industrial, firing any fuel. I had almost everything I needed. I just wished that they made a truck with a 10 or 12 foot bed, since I never had enough room for everything. I weighed the truck once at a customers and it was way over it's rated gross. I tried a van but they did not suit my style.

    When I built my last new home I did not have the time or experience to install the heating system myself. A local company installed it. When they came to service it, under warranty, I looked in their service truck. To my dismay, it was totally empty except for a tool box, lunch box, and some junk. I never called them to return for anything service related. If you are going to service HVAC systems, try having the parts you will need.
  • ronbugg
    ronbugg Member Posts: 4
    Where are you located. I’m in PA and have some parts for sale 
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,786
    ronbugg said:

    Where are you located. I’m in PA and have some parts for

    Nothing personal but for many reasons-practical, accounting, warranty and even legal, I only buy parts from a supply house, so I have a record of the sale, and have an ability to pursue a warranty.
    And if were a safety control and something bad happened, I'd probably get burned in a lawsuit.

    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,658
    Coffee, water, hardhat, gloves, knee pads, kneeling pad, coffee, oil absorbent (speedy dry), masks for potential soot disasters, Pac boots, shovel, coffee, plenty-o- rags, winter gloves, extra clothes, deodorant, first aid kit, extra key hidden under the vehicle, drop lights, and or battery powered or rechargeable LED light, jumpers, drop cloths, coffee.
    Larry WeingartenSuperTechSTEVEusaPAEdTheHeaterMan
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,512
    @trcoons , have we scared you away yet? o:)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Voyager
    Voyager Member Posts: 368
    HVACNUT said:

    Coffee, water, hardhat, gloves, knee pads, kneeling pad, coffee, oil absorbent (speedy dry), masks for potential soot disasters, Pac boots, shovel, coffee, plenty-o- rags, winter gloves, extra clothes, deodorant, first aid kit, extra key hidden under the vehicle, drop lights, and or battery powered or rechargeable LED light, jumpers, drop cloths, coffee.

    You forgot coffee. 😁
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,587
    edited September 2021
    Forget the soot vac? you can always use soot sticks.

    Nah... Just kidding. However when I was taught to clean heaters, The company was on a "Oil Heat Is Clean Heat" to go against the "Gas Company" claims. We could choose between a vacuum cleaning or a chemical cleaning. "SolVal" was the brand name of the chemical system we trained on. If we tuned it up the previous year, there was virtually no soot to vacuum. the chemical was run thru the fuel pump and you could see the fine layer of soot (if any) burn away right before your eyes. After the boiler cooled down (that is when you replaced the nozzle, oil filter and cleaned the assembly) a cursory brushing of the white residue was optional.

    As flame retention burners became popular, there was less and less soot to deal with. If you have a bad soot job, you have a combustion air (CA) problem. Either the boiler room is starving for CA or the burner was not set up properly. In my last 10 years of service, I had very few regular customers with any soot on the annual tune up.

    You still need the make room on the truck for the soot vac, but you can get the small one and find a shelf high in the back door of the van to stow it. (that is after you establish a customer base with boilers and furnaces that you maintain of several years) As a new player in the area, You will find that there are going to be many first time customers with soot problems. Once you get that solved you will be the "Go To" guy in your area for oil heaters. Your competitors will be referring the oil heat jobs to you. I know from experience.

    My son is no longer in the HVAC trade and he still gets calls from my old customers to find a competent oil heat guy. Good luck with your new market and customer base. Connect with smaller fuel oil dealers who can not afford or choose not to have a full time service mechanic on the payroll. Be careful of paying a premium to the fuel oil company... I have tried it both ways... I find the best deal is with the oil company who makes money on selling oil and just refers the customer with no cost or fee. I had 4 companies set up that way.

    One company approached me and wanted to handle all the billing and just pay me for the work I do. But they took a percentage. That was a disaster. To get out of that deal I offered to renew our agreement the following year for $0.02 per gallon of any customer I serviced. I figured if they want a percentage of my work, I should get a percentage of their work. I was the reason their oil burner was operating so well... so I should get a part of the oil revenue. They decided to hire their own mechanic. Their customer that experienced our service did not want the new inexperienced mechanic and called me directly. When that happened, there was no commission or fee to the oil company.

    Some people just don't see past the numbers. Let them go and don't worry about it.

    Finally, don't under price your service. Get enough to pay your bills, pay yourself, pay for your retirement, and then a profit on top of that. If you can get top dollar for what you do, you don't belong being self employed. That does not mean you can't give discounts to customers. But you can't discount off of a price that is already too low. I found that Flat Rate pricing worked very well for me. There are many newer pricing programs that give your service call customer a Good Better Best choice for repairs. I have looked at them and was interested in Service Titan, but it was too expensive for the size of my company.

    I did use the online software from a company that sells their license by the customer invoice. I would by about 100 invoices per month or two, then I upped it to 500 to get a better rate as my business grew. That lasted about 3 months for me. Every time I did an online invoice for the customer, the flat rate prices for the service call fee, and each repair, the record was online for ever. I can still look up old invoices today because there are about 24 unused invoices left on my account. I have been retired for 3 years now. I can see the complete history for any of the customers just by calling up an address or name.

    There I Go rambling on, If you want any more free advise, you can direct message me. No need to bother everyone else with this stuff... Anyway best wishes with your future plans

    Mr. ED
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org

    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,343

    Spare key under the truck LOL

    If I had a dollar for every time I locked my keys in my truck over the years I would be rich.

    I ran a 77 Chevy PU.

    If I locked the keys in it I would pop the hood and grab the dipstick and stick it through the weatherstripping to get the vent window open. By the time I junked it their was no weatherstripping left

    Vans were tougher. I could usually pry the door enough to get a gap and fish the keys out with a coat hanger. Of course my coat hanger stock was behind the seat of the truck LOL

    I had a 2010 GMC pick up for a while. You couldn't get into that without damage.

    So I got smart and put a spare key in my wallet used it many times.

    But one particular time I was driving to a job and swung into Dunkin Doughnuts to get a coffee. Of course I pulled my wallet out with the spare key in it to pay for the coffee, got to the job locked the keys in the truck with the wallet on the seat

    Called AAA for that one but I had to talk fast, my AAA card was in my wallet as well
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 618
    For a spare key, get a magnetic key holder and put it on a flat metal surface like the rear bumper. Used it many times.