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American standard oil fired boiler will not fire, smoky

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thmachineguy
thmachineguy Member Posts: 5
boiler was on reset and would still start up. I had noticed some oil smell from the smokestack in recent days and it had been some time since its last service. I brush and vacuum cleaned the sections top to bottom and reset the electrodes along with changing the filter, flushed the lines to the pump and blew out the nozzle, did not replace yet. tested spark, very snappy at a 1/4"
electrodes set to spec, 1/8" gap, 1/8" away from the nozzle and 5/8" above center with sharp points.
after cleanup it ran for 1 cycle. flame was blue with some yellow points, air slide open halfway to full. ran nice. Bottom spinner draft was all but fully closed. When it went to restart it just smoked and sputtered badly till it quit. any ideas?

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  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
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    1. Clogged nozzle (try carb cleaner until you buy a new one)
    2. air in oil line (you are supposed to pressure bleed the air out of the nozzle line)
    3. dirty (or bad) CAD cell
    4. deteriorated pump coupling
    thmachineguy
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    What burner is on this boiler?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • thmachineguy
    thmachineguy Member Posts: 5
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    Thank you Steamhead good to hear from you again.
    Burner is an Arcoflame DH-5 FIRING RATE
    1.30 GPM, 1GPM NOZZLE 70 DEG SOLID.
    I did mess with the air but no changing to it will make it burn clean now. lots of smoke.
    --What does the lower spinner draft do and how do you set these?
    Air controls on this unit are the following:
    -lower disk that spins in and out to open and close, open only 1 notch, so all but closed.
    -slide vane on the burner. Open to 5 marks now.
    -atmospheric damper set with the weight set all the way out, has been this way for years.
    I did blow carb cleaner through the nozzle once before assembly and again to try to make it work again. no result with burner but it did blow a nice pattern with compressed air and carb cleaner.
    --What should the pump pressure be? origional 1960s pump highly suspect.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
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    Any plans on upgrading? Is the primary (safety) a stack switch?
    Any oil techs in your area?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
    edited June 2023
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    Ahhhh, the DH. This was an early attempt at producing a higher-efficiency burner. It clearly showed how much more work needed to be done- which let to the flame-retention burners we have today. The manual is here (thanks, @Alan R. Mercurio_3 ):

    https://oiltechtalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Arcoflame_Oil_Burner_Model_DH_2.pdf

    If this were my job, and we weren't replacing the boiler, I'd upgrade the burner. The Beckett model AF is a good choice, since American-Standard boilers of that vintage did not have tight flue passages that the burner's fan would have to overcome. When installed and tuned properly, it will run all season without making smoke or soot. And it uses an up-to-date primary control (where reset button is) that would supersede a stack-mounted primary if that's what you now have.

    However, @thmachineguy , this is not a DIY job. You need a pro for this, in fact for any oil-burner work. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • thmachineguy
    thmachineguy Member Posts: 5
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    22435 south east VA
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    Tidewater area not far from Norfolk, right? Closest I've ever been to there was when I went to Virginia Beach the back way, on US 17. For a consulting job, no less.

    Is this a steam or hot-water system?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • thmachineguy
    thmachineguy Member Posts: 5
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    hot water baseboard. 1 hour out of Richmond and about 4 hours away from you.
    so, i can't sit still. I tore the pump apart and it was fully choked up with silt. complete disassembly and clean, magically it didn't leak afterwards. reassembled and tested with the same smudgy results.
    last chance effort I reinstalled the old nozzle. Old original Monarch nozzle the kind you can take apart and really clean. Long story short it fired right up. I set the air to where there was no visible smoke 7.0 notches open. Still not sure what the spinner draft does or if it is set right.
    small puff of smoke at start up. I plan to turn it on only when we need hot water for now until we can get someone out here.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,068
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    The company that sells you fuel oil should have a service technician or at least know of someone that can work on oil burners.

    Edward Young Retired

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

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    The company that sells you fuel oil should have a service technician or at least know of someone that can work on oil burners.

    "Should" is the operative term here :s

    I don't know anyone in that area, does anyone else? Find a Contractor only lists Dan Foley in VA, and he's in Lorton, near DC..............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
    edited June 2023
    Options

    hot water baseboard. 1 hour out of Richmond and about 4 hours away from you.
    so, i can't sit still. I tore the pump apart and it was fully choked up with silt. complete disassembly and clean, magically it didn't leak afterwards. reassembled and tested with the same smudgy results.
    last chance effort I reinstalled the old nozzle. Old original Monarch nozzle the kind you can take apart and really clean. Long story short it fired right up. I set the air to where there was no visible smoke 7.0 notches open. Still not sure what the spinner draft does or if it is set right.
    small puff of smoke at start up. I plan to turn it on only when we need hot water for now until we can get someone out here.

    Is there a filter in the oil line between the tank and the burner? There should be, but if the fuel unit (pump) was that dirty, there probably isn't......................

    Or, if there is, someone might have done something like this:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/165801/first-time-ive-seen-this-one

    When you say "spinner draft", do you mean at the bottom of the iron plate the burner is mounted on?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • thmachineguy
    thmachineguy Member Posts: 5
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    yes, the spinner is a 2"cast iron disk with a wing nut jam nut at the bottom of the plate.
    There is a filter, but this thing has been running constantly for 60 years with the original pump. filter is at the boiler with the tank in the basement. To be honest, filter change has been years and the contamination was very fine like silt that would pass through a filter. For sure the filter will get changed in 6 mos. Still running needs a smoke and Co2 check.
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 594
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    The posts about oil smell and then how it ran fine for the first run after cleaning, but then choked up on the second run makes me wonder about the oil valve.
    Or do those old units even use a solenoid valve ?

    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,068
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    The posts about oil smell and then how it ran fine for the first run after cleaning, but then choked up on the second run makes me wonder about the oil valve.
    Or do those old units even use a solenoid valve ?

    That model was not equipped with any type of oil valve. Only valve it may have is an after market valve like the Honeywell V4046A1074 Delay Oil Valve. I would guess that this particular burner is not equipped with one.

    Edward Young Retired

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

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    yes, the spinner is a 2"cast iron disk with a wing nut jam nut at the bottom of the plate.
    There is a filter, but this thing has been running constantly for 60 years with the original pump. filter is at the boiler with the tank in the basement. To be honest, filter change has been years and the contamination was very fine like silt that would pass through a filter. For sure the filter will get changed in 6 mos. Still running needs a smoke and Co2 check.

    We generally leave that closed unless the burner definitely demands otherwise.

    Upgrading the burner makes sense from another standpoint- many techs these days would have no idea what to do with a DH, but pretty much anyone can handle a Beckett.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    MikeAmannEdTheHeaterMan