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Problems after using Biofuel for the first time

mitchxy Member Posts: 4
I filled my 275 gallon tank for the first time with B20 fuel. The very next day, the heat did not turn on automatically. I pressed the reset on the Riello 40 F5 and it started and worked fine the whole day. Same routine the next day. And the next. For the next few weeks, it might have worked on it's own a few times. But usually would start right up once reset. Another thing I noticed was that the smell of oil was stronger than I ever noticed.

I was told by an oil dealer that since Biofuel has different chemical properties that makes it cleaner and it also has solvent properties, it probably dissolved some of the built in sludge on the walls of my very old oil tank. This in turned may have clogged the oil filter that was just changed a few months prior. So I changed both filters on my own and saw that the first filter was much dirtier than the second filter. If it was dirtier than normal, I don't know since I've never changed the filter myself before. The next day, it started on it's own. I did it! Patted myself on the back. Was fine for the next few days, then back to mostly NOT working. I also noticed that pressing the reset button now resulted in a 20-30 delay in spraying, and it got worse a couple of days later where it took 2-3 minutes before spraying.
As I said, the filters and nozzle were changed a few months prior by an HVAC tech. Is he qualified to diagnose the situation? Any clues as to what is happening?
Mad Dog_2


  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 4,407
    edited March 18
    Yup..my buddy who maintains his Buderus G215 w Riello that me ansays the EXACT same thing. mad Dog
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,941
    20-30 delayed ignition?
    On that Riello, it should be a 10 second pre purge then a 5 second trial for ignition. 
    Unfortunately there's nothing DIY left for you to do. You need a competent oil tech who will do the repair and finalize with smoke, draft, and combustion tests.  
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 677
    Could very well be a fuel issue. The main variable you introduced was B20 biodiesel. Biodiesel is 'famous/notorious'...for having a scrubbing or detergent effect in a former 100% diesel system. Maybe check filters again? Elements are inexpensive. Then...its just your time checking, changing elements (if dirty) and bleeding the system. Bring in a pro for tuning the burner and a combustion test.
  • BDR529
    BDR529 Member Posts: 264
    B20 as far as you know. Seen cases of up to 80% Bio, stratification is another issue.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,038
    Well the simple way to tell is to take a sample of the oil. Then check the filter, strainer, nozzle. Flush the line, and set up combustion.
    Could be bad bio stock, or bad handling/storage of the fuel.
    Even if it were fuel related, I'd doubt it would happen right after fueling the tank. I would guess any fill, into a very old tank, especially if the initial level were low, would stir up all the crap that contaminates the filter, line, strainer and nozzle.
    We had more than one customer in this situation, where the only thing they would let us do was to add an additive with every fill, and they would turn their furnace off and leave it off for 2 hours after a fill. Otherwise it was this type of problem every time. This was long before bio, too.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 714
    If it's not the oil, then your oil pump might be suffering the effects from the bio fuel.
    The new pumps are bio-compatible. You will want a pro for this repair.
  • mitchxy
    mitchxy Member Posts: 4

    In 15 years since installed new, never had this happen before. Worked 100% of the time, except for a few times in the past when I ran out of oil LOL! Couldn't be a coincidence that it started happening right after using BioFuel for the first time. I may change the filter again, but clogging a brand new filter in just 5 days?

  • mitchxy
    mitchxy Member Posts: 4

    Would an HVAC guy be competent enough to do testing? All he's ever done for me was annual maintenance, not troubleshoot. Never had problems before. Or do I need a different type of pro?


  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 360
    edited March 21

    "Couldn't be a coincidence that it started happening right after using BioFuel for the first time."

    Why not? That's why there's a word for it. Suspicious would be just as good a word, but your 15 year old (!) system might have been teetering on lockout with standard #2 and the slight difference in bio may have put it past the tolerance. It's possible.

    Personally, I think as the others have said that it could be a cleaning effect of the bio in an old tank. Filter elements are cheap - pull the element and check again. If it's again dirty, you may have to keep replacing filters regularly until the tank has cleaned itself of loose junk, or considering putting in a draw tube from the top of the tank if it doesn't have one now.