Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Spark probe is cracked?

Options
seaamygo
seaamygo Member Posts: 19
Hi everybody, Amy here, I hope everybody had a good holiday.

I’m visiting my family in Ohio and my parents have a Lennox oil fired furnace that is about 30 years old. We already know it’s on it’s last leg but I wanted to run something past this group here.

The repair guy came earlier this week and his notes referred to the “spark probe being cracked and needs to be replaced”, and the “owners would be looking for one”. I have been googling “spark probe” and can’t find anything.

What part is the repair guy referring to? 
Here are photos of the furnace 😬





Comments

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,176
    edited December 2021
    Options
    The Spark Probe is the wrong name for the part that is needed.

    This is an indication that the service tech is not familiar with oil heat repair. Did you contact the oil dealer? Some HVAC repair companies are good at heat pumps and gas heat. Oil, not so much.

    You are probably looking at an ignition electrode, available from oil burner supply houses like Sid Harvey or R E Michel. A picture of the actual oil burner would help.

    The electrode on an oil burner usually comes as a pair and you should replace both. Here are some examples




    Recommend you get a repairman recommended by your oil dealer. They are usually experienced in oil burner repair and may already have the part on their truck.

    Edward Young Retired

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

  • seaamygo
    seaamygo Member Posts: 19
    Options
    Thanks so so so much! 
  • seaamygo
    seaamygo Member Posts: 19
    Options
    This same co. Has been servicing my parents old furnace for a while and unless it’s a new technician they should be pretty familiar with oil. BUT - 
    I’ll let you know when I call them tomorrow. A bit sus right now… 🤔🤔
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,849
    Options
    Even though you did not show a picture of the oil burner I know what it is or was.

    That was originally the old Lennox burner made by Lennox. Famous for it's belt drive oil pump and idler pulley that would fall apart.

    That furnace dates to the early to mid 1970s

    Maybe the burner has been replaced by now with a Carlin or Beckett or Wayne burner.

    Parts for those old Lennox burners probably are not available although Ignition electrodes could be made to fit.

    I think your parent's are due for a furnace upgrade.

    If you need a contractor check "find a contractor" on this site or post your location. Someone may have a good recommendation
  • seaamygo
    seaamygo Member Posts: 19
    Options
    I agree they need a furnace upgrade. 
    The challenge is that it’s an 80 year old farmhouse and we don’t think they’ll be living here much beyond the next five years. I hate to spend 10 grand on a new furnace for a house that is most likely going to get plowed under within the next seven years. :(

    I do have it on my list to consider a pellet stove to just heat the main floor of the house as that’s their living space the last several years… stairs are a thing of the past. 

    Any other temporary solution ideas from this group of heating experts would be welcome! 
  • seaamygo
    seaamygo Member Posts: 19
    Options
    This is the current burner:

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,675
    Options
    And why would it be getting plowed under? 80 is young and better construction, unless it's been abused.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    seaamygomattmia2
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,452
    Options
    That is a REALLY old oil burner. i dont even recognize it...
  • seaamygo
    seaamygo Member Posts: 19
    Options
    @Jamie Hall - it’s not been well taken care of at all. Long story. 😔 I really don't think it’s able to be saved… even by those This Old House guys. 
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
    Options
    If the furnace itself is still solid, you can upgrade to a much newer USED burner assembly. Equipment fails in many different ways. The tanks on oil-fired water heaters usually fail first and the burners still have decades of life left. You can even find a good used burner on ebay.
  • seaamygo
    seaamygo Member Posts: 19
    Options
    @MikeAmann - if I got a new-used burner - would  it also solve the original problem the repair guy noted - the spark probe is cracked? 
    I assume all of the wiring to/from the burner would be replaced as well? 
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
    edited December 2021
    Options
    Here is an example: https://www.ebay.com/itm/154741382988?_trkparms=amclksrc=ITM&aid=1110006&algo=HOMESPLICE.SIM&ao=1&asc=235844&meid=8c569b4e546a457287af774dba1d260f&pid=101113&rk=3&rkt=12&sd=265412775215&itm=154741382988&pmt=0&noa=1&pg=2563228&algv=DefaultOrganicWeb&_trksid=p2563228.c101113.m2108

    You need your service man to fit it to your furnace and dial it in. Discuss the old wiring with him. The one I referenced needs the air tube/nozzle line assembly, which you will need anyways to make this work with your furnace. And you would then have new electrodes.


    More importantly, you will have a modern, much more efficient burner!

    Don't order these parts without discussing with your technician first.
    seaamygo
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,849
    edited December 2021
    Options
    @seaamygo
    The "spark probe" that your technician referred to are actually called the "Ignition electrodes".

    Look in the picture above that @MikeAmann posted.

    You have the round burner tube.

    Then you have the drawer assembly or gun assembly (some people call it various things) that slides into the burner tube.

    At the end of the drawer assembly is a brass fitting the oil nozzle threads into (the oil spray comes out there) and the you see the two electrodes that come to a poin.t

    Those are the electrodes. The ignition transformer puts a spark on the electrodes to light the oil.

    That burner is the ORIGINAL Lennox burner made by Lennox that I posted about above.

    As you can see the motor and the oil pump shafts are not alligned, the oil pump is belt driven. To the right of the Lennox label where it steps down the round disk is the air adjustment....you loosen a screw and spin it around

    Except for the belt drive and idler pulley all the other parts are standard parts. Electrodes are not an issue those can be had.

    To get the drawer assembly out you remove the screw by the transformer and the transformer swings back on a hinge.

    I never though much of those burners. They were an odball.

    If the furnace heat exchanger is ok you could install a new burner in that furnace but it may be noisy.

    I think the Lennox burner motor is 1725 rpm (It's been a long time) I have not had my hands on one of those in 30 years or so maybe more.

    That burner dates to the early to mid 1970s

    I installed a few Lennox furnaces that had those burners

    No reason it can't be kept running as long as the furnace heat exchanger is ok and you don't have idler pulley issues it will run forever
    seaamygo
  • seaamygo
    seaamygo Member Posts: 19
    Options
    Thanks so much everyone! I now know enough to have an intelligent conversation with the service company. 🙂
    MikeAmann
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
    Options
    Awesome. Best of luck with this.
    If the person you first discuss this with doesn't really understand, then move on to the next until you find the right one.