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Beckett not receiving oil.

WhirlingD
WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
edited November 2022 in Oil Heating
Hi all…

Complete novice here…

I spent a few weeks researching how to tuneup my Beckett burner system, only to have it go awry the first time I tried it.

I started with the oil filter assembly, which is an F80 housing, and that seem to go easily enough…

However, there are two shut off valves on each side, and one of them didn’t seem to be moving as I was rotating this strange cap on the top. I couldn’t tell whether the post was even moving, despite using vice grips to turn the thing to try to turn it off, and then back on.

After I got the filter in there and everything tightened back up, I tried to fire up the boiler just to see what would happen, and it spit and sputtered and went into safety shut off. Clearly, it wasn’t getting oil.

First step was to take the filter off and open up the line coming from the tank, and as I suspected, oil is coming from the tank into the filter cartridge. No problem there.

Then I tried to bleed it from the boiler spigot, and there is no oil coming out of the spigot.

I thought the culprit may have been the shut off valve coming out of the cartridge, which just doesn’t seem to be operational, and I may have closed the thing when I first started the project, so I could try to bleed it from the bleed port on the top of the cartridge housing, and maybe it is stuck in the closed position?

My next step will be to take the actual filter out and just try to run the thing for a few moments to see if any oil gets to the boiler with no filter in there, just in case the problem is with the filter somehow.

I do have an oil pump strainer that I was going to do next, so maybe I’ll change that out, just in case some kind of sludge got in there, but I wouldn’t think it would stop the oil flow completely if it is overly dirty.

So, with everything that you’ve heard so far, is there anything that you can think of, other than calling for help, that you would try to get the oil flowing? I.e., how can I tell whether the valve is actually open coming out of the F80 canister?

Thank you for your help!

Never fails… The first time I try to do something like this always turns out to be some sort of disaster…

Thanks for any help you can offer!

«1

Comments

  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 415
    When you say spigot do you mean valve ? If so, when you say valve, could it be a firomatic safety valve ?
    In the event of a fire, they have an internal part that melts and closes off the oil flow.
    Maybe you have it bound off now ?

    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    When you say spigot do you mean valve ? If so, when you say valve, could it be a firomatic safety valve ?
    In the event of a fire, they have an internal part that melts and closes off the oil flow.
    Maybe you have it bound off now ?

    Thank you, Dave… Yes, I used the wrong terminology, and have since corrected it.

    The oil tank filter canister has two shut off valves, one on each side… And the one that I think could be the culprit is on the right, as the oil exits the canister.

    It has the same kind of valve on it that the pump assembly does right up at the boiler… And it has this twist cap kind of assembly that just becomes loose, and I don’t even really think is serving its function. So, I was turning the Oil tank canister valve with vice grips, but I could not even see if it was doing anything, and it seemed to turn for many many rotations with no apparent effect.

    Thoughts?

    Here is a photo, but I’m sure you’ve seen these before… :-)
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    I am tempted to unscrew the top of that right side valve and clean it out… Just to see if that helps.

    I did try to see if I could get the bolt loose on that valve, but it was pretty tight, and the oil tank is fairly old and began to shake as I tried to get some leverage to loosen it, so I didn’t put too much pressure on it. I may revisit that.
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    I see a lot of videos of systems that don’t even have this right side exit valve.

    Now that I know how to purge the line up at the boiler, I’m not entirely sure why I would even need this valve.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,173
    Put the wheel back on the valve and try to open it. Watch closely to see if the valve stem turns with the wheel....it should not. If the stem also spins hold the stem with some needle nose pliers and spin the wheel. When it gets some tension on it the valve should open and the threaded stem comes up through the wheel
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 683
    edited November 2022
    BTW, notice that the firomatic valve has left-handed threads.
    That means that you turn the wheel counter-clockwise to OPEN the valve.
    That brass stem should get longer as you turn the wheel.
    And as Dave Carpentier already said, In the event of a fire, they have an internal part that melts and closes off the oil flow.
    OPEN

    CLOSED

    What if you had a fire where your oil tank is located? Would you really like to feed that with 275 gallons of fuel oil?
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    edited November 2022
    OK guys… I think you helped me onto something.

    I put the cap back on that firomatic valve, but even with the cap all the way seated, the post still spins, so it isn’t really isn’t doing anything. Plus, there is no room anywhere to get anything like needle nose pliers on there to prevent it from spinning, and it just makes a creaking noise as it spins with the cap.

    Just for kicks, I experimented a bit to see if I could manually pull up and down on the spindle to manually open it, and sure enough, it came up quite a bit, indicating that the valve is closed.

    Even with this new revelation, there was not enough room underneath in the open position to get anything on the spindle to somehow allow to attach the cap and get it to do what it is supposed to do. Seems pretty much useless.

    I’m starting to think best case scenario would be to replace this valve. Would you agree?

    Home Depot has what looks like this exact valve… 40 bucks. Ouch. I’m doing this job myself for a reason, universe…

    Would all I need to be some plumbers tape or that brush on stuff?

    This pic

  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    Doesn’t the copper piping coming out of that valve have some sort of flange on it which would make it impossible to get the threaded piece on the fitting over the flange? Does that make any sense?
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,080
    You can also remove it and replace with a flair fitting . It's on the wrong side of the filter which has a rubber gasket . In a fire the valve would spring shut before the rubber burns through . The fireomatic valve as mention will shut off in a fire , It's a double seat valve . The stem will rise up through the handle when valve open . It should be fully open to seal the stem of the valve .
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    MikeAmann
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    Big Ed_4 said:

    You can also remove it and replace with a flair fitting . It's on the wrong side of the filter which has a rubber gasket . In a fire the valve would spring shut before the rubber burns through . The fireomatic valve as mention will shut off in a fire , It's a double seat valve . The stem will rise up through the handle when valve open . It should be fully open to seal the stem of the valve .

    Hate to tell you this, Ed… But I have no idea what you mean by a flair fitting.

    So what you are saying is that in a fire, the valve being on the opposite side of the filter will pretty much render the safety feature of that kind of valve useless? Since the fire would melt the rubber gasket and lots of nice flammable oil would still end up all over the freaking place, contributing to a massive inferno? Is that what you are trying to say?

    I still have no idea what a flair fitting is.

  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    I get the feeling that if I buy a new valve, I’m going to hope that the threaded nut that will be attached to the end of the copper exit tube will fit on the new valve. Are they fairly universal… these screw on fittings?

    Can you tell I am way out of my comfort zone and skill set? :-)
  • Brent H.
    Brent H. Member Posts: 134
    Are you sure it is the shaft that is spinning and not the threaded piece in the handle/wheel?
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    Yeah, when I spin the handle, the shaft spins with it.

    I will try to manipulate it a bit more tomorrow, and see if I can somehow rotate the cap down the shaft as I try to pull it up somehow.
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 683
    edited November 2022
    You have an easy swap IF the firomatic valve you have is a flare connection.
    I can't really tell from your pic, but it might be a compression fitting.
    That would complicate matters for you further.




    Compression fitting.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,005
    edited November 2022
    I am all for helping out someone that is in need, but I believe @WhirlingD is in over his head. I wonder if there is a professional that can help him? Have you tried to call your fuel oil supplier and ask for a service call?
    Another observation: Your tank is over 40 years old. The oil tanks made after the 1980s all have the bottom outlet on the bottom. the side outlet means this tank was probably made before 1985. Do you have faith that your tank is capable of holding a $1200.00 investment of fuel oil without turning it into a 250 Gallon HaZMat disaster in your basement? If you can't afford to replace the oil tank, or even have the standard annual maintenance that includes the oil filter, what makes you think you can afford the HazMat clean up expense?

    Just sayin'


    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    SuperTechMikeAmann
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    I am all for helping out someone that is in need, but I believe @WhirlingD is in over his head. I wonder if there is a professional that can help him? Have you tried to call your fuel oil supplier and ask for a service call?
    Another observation: Your tank is over 40 years old. The oil tanks made after the 1980s all have the bottom outlet on the bottom. the side outlet means this tank was probably made before 1985. Do you have faith that your tank is capable of holding a $1200.00 investment of fuel oil without turning it into a 250 Gallon HaZMat disaster in your basement? If you can't afford to replace the oil tank, or even have the standard annual maintenance that includes the oil filter, what makes you think you can afford the HazMat clean up expense?

    Just sayin'


    Lots of important thoughts here… Thanks Ed.

    Of course I am in over my head, but that’s why I am on here. Just because I am in over my head doesn’t mean I am not capable of figuring things out and moving forward. I have at least some confidence that I can get this valve open and operational, maybe without even replacing the whole valve. I don’t give up easily, although it takes me a while to figure stuff out. I need lots of think time. :-)

    The threads aren’t that badly damaged. They may look worse in the photo, who knows. The cap rotates all the way down, but since the valve stem is at its lowest position, there is not enough clearance above the top of the cap to grab it. I’m gonna have to think hard tomorrow to come up with a way to have the valve pulled in the on position but be able to get the cap all the way to the bottom. I think that’s pretty much where I’m at now. Suggestions are welcome.

    Good observation about the tank. I’m a little concerned about that.

    The outside of the actual tank seems pretty solid… But the legs are starting to rot away. I haven’t put 250 gallons in this thing in probably 10 years. All I ever do is 150 gallons. I’m too poor to put the full amount in… So, I heat the main part of the house with wood, and the burner heats the rooms that are off the footprint, plus the tankless hot water system.

    Ballpark figure, what do you think a new tank installed would run these days?

    Where my dad lives in Ontario Canada, I don’t think it is even code to put a tank like this inside of a dwelling any longer. He had his tanks outside.

    I am in Massachusetts. Wonder what I would be up against to install a new tank, let alone dispose of an old one.

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,005
    Have you tried pulling up on the valve cap at the same time that you turn it? I have had some success with that procedure.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    WhirlingD
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    Have you tried pulling up on the valve cap at the same time that you turn it? I have had some success with that procedure.

    I will try that in the morning, Ed… I’ll cross my toes. Thanks.

  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    Have you tried pulling up on the valve cap at the same time that you turn it? I have had some success with that procedure.

    Thanks, so far, guys.

    Ed, your trick above worked… It took a while, and I eventually got enough of the spindle to put vice grips on the very end and I was able to open it up all the way.

    Thank you, Ed!

    The only way pulling up prevents the spindle from turning is if you pull it up tightly all the way, completely open. That took a bit of time and effort.

    I had pretty much given into the likelihood that I was on my way to Home Depot to buy one or two more firomatic valves.

    So… The pump started sucking oil pretty quickly, but it’s a very wimpy stream (see photo). Not nearly what I’ve seen on many videos. I think I should pop off the pump screen and put in the new one I have, but as usual, I’m anxious about trying to do that, lest I screw something else up.

    Is there any reason back at the filter that I would be getting this wimpy stream? I’ve read somewhere that some people fill the filter canister up with oil before they try to bleed the thing. Would this have any factor in a wimpy stream? This is after about three cycles.


    I haven’t actually tried firing oil into the boiler yet, since I wanna get everything in place first. Is it likely that my boiler has been running off of this wimpy stream for a while?

    I am also anxious considering I have read that continuous repeating of cycling unburned oil into the burner could cause a dangerous situation, and prior to getting this job underway, it fired three or four cycles of “sputtering“ streams into the boiler before the oil in the line ran out. Lots of unburned diesel fuel smell.

    Anything I might not be considering before I move forward with replacing the pump screen?
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    edited November 2022
    OK… As mundane as this posting has probably gotten…

    Here is the stream after I have replaced the pump screen. Fairly easy to do.

    Not much of an obvious improvement… But may be a tiny bit better. The screen was fairly dirty.

    Would you call this a predictable and close to normal stream?




    Probably worthy to mention that I probably have barely 1/ 8 of a tank of oil in the tank, provided the gauge is accurate. I wonder if that will affect stream pressure?

    I am actually anxious about firing the thing up now that it’s all back together. I do need to change out the electrode wand thingies… One of them has the ceramic sheathing broken off in a small area. This is my next job.

    Anything else I might be missing before I turn it on? I may wait for a while until I hear some responses on here… Just in case somebody on here might think this thing is going to blow up when I turn it on… 😵‍💫😵‍💫
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,005
    edited November 2022
    When you close the bleed port, does the high pressure line provide high pressure oil to the nozzle? If yes and there is a steady flow, then you are good to go.

    By the way, A still picture is not a good way to identify a flow rate.
    I'm guessing, is it a little less than the oil flow in this photo? Just an educated guess


    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    MikeAmann
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    When you close the bleed port, does the high pressure line provide high pressure oil to the nozzle? If yue and there is a steady flow, then you are good to go.

    I haven’t given it a test run yet, Ed, pending some opinions on here as to whether what you see coming out of the bleeder port now seems sufficient to fire this thing effectively.

    If I were a betting man, and often times I am… I would say that this thing should fire right up, considering that not a huge amount has changed since it worked last, yesterday, which has only been tank filter and pump filter replacement, minus the valve debacle, and that seems to be full open now.

    Is the only way to know whether the nozzle is getting a full blast of fuel to wait to see whether or not the burner fires upon start up? I don’t know any other way to check whether the fuel is getting to the nozzle.

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,005
    The proper method is to place a pressure gauge on the high pressure line to see what the pressure is. The next test is to allow the high pressure line to flow into an empty container for 45 seconds and see if the flow is constant or if it sputters.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    The proper method is to place a pressure gauge on the high pressure line to see what the pressure is. The next test is to allow the high pressure line to flow into an empty container for 45 seconds and see if the flow is constant or if it sputters.

    Have you forgotten who you are talking to, Ed? :-) I don’t own a pressure gauge…

    I have seen videos of service guys bleed the same burner, and this is definitely on the light side compared to most, if I recall correctly.

    However, yes, it is able to run at this level for about 45 seconds into a bucket without sputtering.

    I suspect this photo is about the flow that it likely would have had if I checked it before I did this work. No way to really know, though.

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,983
    That's not the proper way to bleed a fuel pump.
    steve
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    That's not the proper way to bleed a fuel pump.
    Care to explain?
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,005
    edited November 2022
    WhirlingD said:



    Have you forgotten who you are talking to, Ed? :-) I don’t own a pressure gauge…

    If you are going to be doing oil burner work yourself, you will need to get a pressure gauge. It is less expensive than replacing a fuel pump only to find you still have the same problem.

    As far as @STEVEusaPA comment about priming (bleeding) a fuel pump, I was referring to checking the flow from the high pressure line AFTER the priming procedure is completed.

    As a professional, I would connect a pressure gauge to the high pressure line of a burner when diagnosing 80% of oil burner problems. This would allow me to check ignition system without the possibility of a flame. The primary safety timing was checked with the Cad Cell wires and eye connected. I would also know if the pump pressure was at the 100 PSI minimum or at the higher pressure recommended by the application. Also. the pump cut-off could be determined to be working or faulty at the end of the test. It was just easier to connect the gauge as a matter of habit.

    Another benefit is that 30 second service call where you press the reset button and the flame lights. How do you explain charging a full service call fee for 1/2 minute of work. With a gauge on the high pressure line, I guarantee there will never be a flame when you press the reset button. Now you can look into the cause of the nuisance flame failure without the customer watching you, and thinking you are just trying to make up stuff.

    The 20% of the time that I did not use the pressure gauge were when the problem was electrical control wiring that had nothing to do with combustion.

    @WhirlingD, if you are going to keep doing this, you will need the proper tools. Or you should purchase disability income insurance and life insurance, and hope no one else is home when your repairs go awry.

    Just saying... Playing with fire inside your home can be dangerous.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    WhirlingD said:



    Have you forgotten who you are talking to, Ed? :-) I don’t own a pressure gauge…

    @WhirlingD, if you are going to keep doing this, you will need the proper tools. Or you should purchase disability income insurance and life insurance, and hope no one else is home when your repairs go awry.

    Just saying... Playing with fire inside your home can be dangerous.
    Thank you Ed… That is a lot to digest.

    I suspect, that my foray into burner technology will be limited to changing filters, electrodes, and basic maintenance. I am hopeful, and correct me if I’m wrong, that I shouldn’t be doing anything that would necessitate a life insurance policy. 😵‍💫😵‍💫. Hopefully.

    In the likely event that my aging system begins to fail, I will no doubt start the next phase of research to figure out what’s going on, and at that point, I may start going out and collecting more elaborate tools, and probably asking more questions on here… but more likely I’ll end up calling the pros.

    If it’s anything electrical, I’m out… 😩😩

    By the way, you haven’t yet seen anything that you think could be potentially dangerous with what I have mentioned, have you? The only thing that might come to mind is unburned fuel entering the chamber when that thing started to sputter yesterday. I read somebody say that was a recipe for failure or disaster.

    I haven’t fired the system up yet. It’s been balmy in the Northeast, and I am going to order a full tank tomorrow. At which time I may flip the switch and run upstairs and listen from a distance… :-) Hopefully heave a sigh of relief when I hear the thing fire up… 😂🤣

  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 415
    I used to bleed mine directly at the bleed port without a hose attached, so it comes out fairly quick at the small hole.. but the amount in your larger hose seems to look about right.
    There are lots of variables with an oil burner.
    Could your tank be getting mucked up near the outlet port ?
    You put a new filter in the canister, so that should be good.
    Is the Firomatic fully open now ?
    The secondary screen inside the oil pump at the burner, did you change that ?
    The pump pressure could be weak, need a gauge to check that.
    Nozzle you did.
    Electrode wear and adjustments (3 dimensions). Checked ?
    Transformer might be getting old 'n tired.
    Air shutter cleanliness and adjustments.
    Barometric damper setting to control the draft over fire.
    And more (there's always more lol)
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    WhirlingD
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    I used to bleed mine directly at the bleed port without a hose attached, so it comes out fairly quick at the small hole.. but the amount in your larger hose seems to look about right.
    There are lots of variables with an oil burner.
    Could your tank be getting mucked up near the outlet port ?
    You put a new filter in the canister, so that should be good.
    Is the Firomatic fully open now ?
    The secondary screen inside the oil pump at the burner, did you change that ?
    The pump pressure could be weak, need a gauge to check that.
    Nozzle you did.
    Electrode wear and adjustments (3 dimensions). Checked ?
    Transformer might be getting old 'n tired.
    Air shutter cleanliness and adjustments.
    Barometric damper setting to control the draft over fire.
    And more (there's always more lol)

    Thanks for the tips Dave…

    Oil seem to be coming out of the tank port with lots of volume, and yes, the firomatic valve is now in the completely open position, thankfully.

    I am glad that you mentioned about the size of the hose I’m using, which might be why it doesn’t look quite as strong coming out… Most of the videos I’ve seen they use a hose that is only large enough to get around the actual nipple… Mine’s much larger and goes right over the shut off bolt. Not ideal.

    I use a hose just to make sure the oil gets where I want it to go… It’s a cramped little space there.

    I just finished watching about my 10th video on nozzle & electrode replacement, and adjustment, so I’ll probably do that tomorrow…

    I’m still too chicken to fire up the system, in case I run out of oil (i’m very low), or there’s an explosion… 😂🤣

  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    So… getting close to being done with this project but… There are still a few things left unsolved…

    The biggest… What if I have unfired oil that has built up in the “chamber“? No one has commented on this, so I suspect it will burn itself off when I fire this thing up tomorrow morning?
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,874
    WhirlingD said:
    So… getting close to being done with this project but… There are still a few things left unsolved… The biggest… What if I have unfired oil that has built up in the “chamber“? No one has commented on this, so I suspect it will burn itself off when I fire this thing up tomorrow morning?
    Let us know what time the attempt will be. I'll want to put my hardhat on first.
    STEVEusaPAMikeAmann
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,983
    HVACNUT said:


    Let us know what time the attempt will be. I'll want to put my hardhat on first.

    Nomex and a fire extinguisher, may be better.

    steve
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28

    HVACNUT said:


    Let us know what time the attempt will be. I'll want to put my hardhat on first.

    Nomex and a fire extinguisher, may be better.

    Funny you mention that… I definitely had my fire extinguisher out, and arranged to turn the thing on from the upstairs switch… :-)

    As was hoped, but not necessarily predicted, the unit kicked on and fired up fairly quickly without even a whimper. Same as it ever was. Hot water within 10 minutes, but then I shut it off. I’m having a tank of oil delivered tomorrow, and didn’t wanna run the thing dry… 70° here in the Northeast today… Thankfully… :-)

  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 683
    And that's why you push the reset button ONCE ONLY!
    Multiple times of pressing that button with no ignition keeps spraying oil into the combustion chamber.
    And then, say on the 5th time, you happen to get ignition. BOOM, and you just might have destroyed your combustion chamber liner.
    Eventually the chamber airs out. You made a good decision to wait a while and NOT fire the burner.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,005
    edited November 2022
    WhirlingD said:

    WhirlingD said:



    Have you forgotten who you are talking to, Ed? :-) I don’t own a pressure gauge…

    @WhirlingD, if you are going to keep doing this, you will need the proper tools. Or you should purchase disability income insurance and life insurance, and hope no one else is home when your repairs go awry.

    Just saying... Playing with fire inside your home can be dangerous.
    Thank you Ed… That is a lot to digest.

    … but more likely I’ll end up calling the pros.

    If it’s anything electrical, I’m out… 😩😩

    By the way, you haven’t yet seen anything that you think could be potentially dangerous with what I have mentioned, have you? The only thing that might come to mind is unburned fuel entering the chamber when that thing started to sputter yesterday. I read somebody say that was a recipe for failure or disaster.

    I haven’t fired the system up yet. It’s been balmy in the Northeast, and I am going to order a full tank tomorrow. At which time I may flip the switch and run upstairs and listen from a distance… :-) Hopefully heave a sigh of relief when I hear the thing fire up… 😂🤣

    Yes:
    I spent a few weeks researching how to tuneup my Beckett burner system, only to have it go awry the first time I tried it.


    And
    Of course I am in over my head, but that’s why I am on here.


    Followed by this:
    So… The pump started sucking oil pretty quickly, but it’s a very wimpy stream (see photo). Not nearly what I’ve seen on many videos. I think I should pop off the pump screen and put in the new one I have, but as usual, I’m anxious about trying to do that, lest I screw something else up.


    You are over your head and anxious. and you should be... you are playing with fire!

    But this is the one that gets me the most. I have had to fire off oil burners where a homeowner has tinkered and caused what you heard about in these videos:
    I am also anxious considering I have read that continuous repeating of cycling unburned oil into the burner could cause a dangerous situation, and prior to getting this job underway, it fired three or four cycles of “sputtering“ streams into the boiler before the oil in the line ran out. Lots of unburned diesel fuel smell.


    My brother, an experienced oil burner mechanic, was on a service call where the customer hit the reset button 3 times a day for 1 full week before calling for professional service. After replacing the ignition transformer and getting assurance that the customer ONLY RESET IT ONCE, he turned on the burner and soon after was in the ambulance on the way to St Agnes Burn Center.

    Of course the customer only pressed the reset once (each shift, each day for a week) That is actually 21 times Not Once!

    But it is your home and your fire and you know best!


    Edit: My brother recovered from the event. Here is an artist rendition of what the little Irish boy from Philadelphia looked like in the ambulance.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    Thank you for all your help, Ed.

    There’s no doubt you have not been a big fan of me taking on this kind of project, But I think it is a good thing for me to have taken on. Bonus: I didn’t get killed or burn down the house… :-)

    I’ve learned a bunch of things that will likely save me money, which is hugely important, since I am approaching senior citizenship with very little assets.

    - I can now easily change my own filter and pump screen. Nozzles are next.

    - I have learned not to fire any unburned oil into the chamber.

    - I know that anything more than this will probably be better served out to a professional…

    I do have the oil tank issue to consider. Tag on it says it was built in 1989.

    It seems solid on the outside, but how the heck does one know? It does have some corrosion and rusting of its legs. That’s the biggest obvious problem. Everything else seems pretty solid, but once again how does one really know?

    I started looking at new oil tanks online, and Home Depot came up with one… And one of the people who reviewed the tanks said they did it themselves and it was easier than they thought. I don’t know if I would actually consider doing this on my own, though. Changing a filter is one thing. Changing a tank is an entirely different task.

    Seeing that Home Depot wanted basically $1000 for the tank, I figured my local oil dealer might want $1500 or $2000 to put one in. Wrong. They said their going rate was $3600. Um. No. I’d probably consider figuring out how to do it myself if I can’t do any better than that.

  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 713
    I wonder if you would feel the same way if your chimney ignited into flames with you in front of it? I really don't think you should be proud of yourself. Overconfidence will bite you in the **** in this trade.
  • WhirlingD
    WhirlingD Member Posts: 28
    pedmec said:

    I wonder if you would feel the same way if your chimney ignited into flames with you in front of it? I really don't think you should be proud of yourself. Overconfidence will bite you in the **** in this trade.

    I bet you are just the life of any party.

    Overconfidence had nothing to do with it. Necessity is often the mother of invention. I didn’t invent anything, but I learned how to take care of a few things that cost a lot to do otherwise.

    Should I never learn to change the brake pads and rotors on my car, just because it’s possible that they may break while I’m doing 70 miles an hour?

    Should I never operate a chainsaw because I may not be strong enough to prevent the thing from kicking back and slicing off a finger? I did this work very slowly and carefully, and made sure I got lots of input.

    Yes, I ran into problems. Yes I came on here and got some good advice from some very helpful people. Yes I will do it again.



  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 337
    edited November 2022
    WhirlingD said:



    I do have the oil tank issue to consider. Tag on it says it was built in 1989.

    It seems solid on the outside, but how the heck does one know? It does have some corrosion and rusting of its legs. That’s the biggest obvious problem. Everything else seems pretty solid, but once again how does one really know?

    Mine was built in 1993, and it looked great - until I noticed tiny drops of oil on the belly of the tank - nothing on the floor.
    WhirlingD said:

    I started looking at new oil tanks online, and Home Depot came up with one… And one of the people who reviewed the tanks said they did it themselves and it was easier than they thought.

    Seeing that Home Depot wanted basically $1000 for the tank, I figured my local oil dealer might want $1500 or $2000 to put one in.

    I don't think you're supposed to talk about quoted price (other than parts), but I installed my tank last spring and it was no big deal - but there was plenty of room to work with. I bought the tank at HD and with delivery, a new filter housing, tank leg kit, two dresser style long couplings, and firematic valve, I was about $1200 in parts (I reused my gauge/whistle because it was only a few years old). I still have to have the old tank removed and most scrappers charge $200-$300 to remove them.

    It's not difficult but you need some help. The tank is heavy and delivery is usually at your driveway, not indoors. I have a walk out basement so with a couple of big goons and a hand truck, we got it inside with no problems.

    You have to install the legs (you need to set the pitch) and the firematic valve. If your new tank has the top holes in the same place and spacing as your old tank, you can use dresser couplings to avoid doing black iron work (which I both hate and suck at). If the tank has different spacing, you need to do black pipe work. Mine turned out fine with no leaks at the valve or couplings. I had the oil company drop only 100 gallons the first time in case there was a leak.

    Having it professionally done will be much more, yes, but worth it if you're not sure you can do this without a leak. If you find a leak at the bottom connection a day or so after you get oil delivered, it's a pain in the butt to address the leak with a tank full of oil.



    WhirlingD