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.

Steps for better oil burner fuel efficiency?

clammy Member Posts: 3,111
if you are going to insulated use the fiber glass stuff it is the real deal all that other stuff is rubber stuff or armerflex or rubaflex is good for a/c suction lines which should be 1/2 not the 3/8 wall stuff that every body uses .go for the real deal get the fiberglass and as for flue damper on oil sounds like trouble stay away from them and as for your and boiler have the gun serviced and theboiler brushed and cleaned have a effecency test perfrmed and your burner settings adjusted if need be don't feel so bad i firmly believe that in alot of cases oil systems fuel comsumption turns out to be cheaper than gas good luck phil
R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
NJ Master HVAC Lic.
Mahwah, NJ
Specializing in steam and hydronic heating


  • Steps for better oil burner fuel efficiency?

    The cool weather and news about oil prices has me thinking about ways to save on fuel oil. Ways to be more efficient with the equiptment that I already have.

    What I've got is a New Yorker boiler (S-AP Series) 118K gross BTUs with a Beckett burner head. I use the internal domestic coil as a heat exchanger via bronze pump to a 50 gal electric (disconnected) storage tank. I believe the nozzle is 1.15 gph.

    Without replacing hardware what can I do? I've already replaced the windows, super-insulated with cellulose, sealed all air infiltrations.

    I'm not going to replace the boiler or burner at this time.

    I figure pipe insulation on both "near piping" and all heating loop (baseboard) connecting pipes will help. Which type is best: the black rubbery type? The brownish styro-foamish type? Fibreglass with white plastic wrap?

    What about standby heat loss? In between the boiler vessal and the jacket cover is very thin fibreglass, like tissue thin. What would be better insulation that can be in direct contact with the boiler surface? PIC board? Mineral/rock wool like ROXUL?

    How can I safely add a flue damper? Will it help? Brands?

    What about boiler control settings? Will a longer aquastat differential help i.e. longer run times. Currently my triple aquastat is set to upper of 180*, lower 160* and a 20* diff.

    Nozzle size? Make it smaller for longer run times?

    Other suggestions?

    Patchogue Phil
  • todd s
    todd s Member Posts: 212
    saving $

    Another worthwhile addition is an outdoor combustion air kit. It will help cut down infiltration and most likely help your burner stay cleaner.
  • kf_2
    kf_2 Member Posts: 118
    Combustion Air Kit

    While they stop the burner from pulling combustion air from the already tight house, introducing cold outside air directly to the burner will significantly reduce combustion efficiency. For instance 20 degree F. air introduces directly to the burner with a CO2 of between 9.5% & 11% will reduce combustion efficiency by 1%.

    A better thought would be to use a Fan-in-the-Can by Field Controls or an enforcer by Tjernlund and locate it on the other side of the boiler room to allow the incoming air to warm up before entering the burner. The fan on theis unit only runs when the burner is running.

  • Steve Eayrs
    Steve Eayrs Member Posts: 424
    indoor/outdoor reset controls......

    can make a sizable difference. The residual heat loss, and standby loss on the boiler, is directly related. If your boiler could run on reset a good portion of the year, closer to say 140 deg., that 180 deg., and still heat the house that helps. Of course you would have to do some work on your domestic hot water system too, for this to work. Goldline control (believe its a 34 model?) would work good for operating the domestic, and still be able to kick the boiler up to high setting on the triple aquastat, for dhw demand.

    Tekmar is a good way to go on the reset control.

    Also as others recommended, a good tuneup and cleaning can help a lot. Sounds like your nozzle could be downsized some for a 118mbtu boiler, but you would want someone who is doing the tuneup, with instruments, to determine if this would help or not. Sometimes increasing the fuel pump pressure and downsizing the nozzle can help atomize the oil better.
    Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for the replies everyone


    My burner tech looked up my combo in a reference book and came up with the nozzle size and pump pressure. Oil was pretty cheap back then ($0.85/gal) - maybe that factored in? The next model up from my unit is 131K gross btu with the same exact physical dimensions in and out as mine, which the manufacturers guide shows a 1.15 gph rate. So I guess I now have a 131k btu unit. Which brings my question: would lowering the nozzle rate cause longer burn times and increase efficiency?

    As to using the indoor/outdoor reset controls, I understand how this can help save fuel. Is the lower temp settings of concern for chimney corrosion? Mine has that orange-tan colored clay material.

    Will the cost of the controls be a very long payback period for the fuel savings it provides? I know that may be difficult to figure without more details, but generally speaking if you can.

    Todd and KF

    My boiler gets it's combustion air in this (probably antiquated) manner, just like it's predessors in my house for last 45 years. The boiler sits on the same slab as the attached garage, in a 6' x 20' utility room between garage and house. Above the boiler, the ceiling is open 3' x 3' to the eaves of the half story above. The eaves have open soffit vents and sidewall vent. The only part of the house I have not isolated for airinfiltration because of the combustion air needs.

    I have it "on my list" to use an outdoor combustion kit. The net gain in heatloss reduction by sealing that 3' x 3' hole to the eaves, I think, will outway that 1% efficiency cost. Does that sound right?

    Thanks again for the replies. Does anyone have any thoughts on using a larger diff on the triple aquastat and how that affects efficiency?

    Patchogue Phil
  • Steve_35
    Steve_35 Member Posts: 546
    Go with an indirect water heater

    A maintaining boiler is a darned expensive way to get domestic hot water. Go with an indirect and change the aquastat.
  • No New Hardware

    Steve Scott,

    I'm not looking to replace the boiler, burner nor domestic storage tank. I just want to maximize what I got.
  • Steve Eayrs
    Steve Eayrs Member Posts: 424
    reply to questions

    yes....a smaller nozzle size will affect the length of the burner run cycle, and could help as long as its still burning with the boier limits.

    Having outdoor reset controls does not mean that the stack temp. will be any lower when the burner is cycling. It just means that there will be less residual and standby stack loss. The burner will still be running at the same stack temp. regardless, (which with oil if its over 500-600 deg., you either need a tune up/cleaning or a new boiler.)

    The triple aquastat can be set with lower setting on the low side, but most likely no lower than 130-140 deg., and cannot be so low that the dhw demand cannot respond fast enough. You may already know this but the triple aquastat, high and low settings are not when the burner turns off and on. When there is contact made on the "TT" contacts, on the control, the boiler will run on the high settings, and cycle according to what the diff. setting is set at. When there is no contact on the "TT" terminals, the boiler will run on the low setting, and also cycle with the diff. setting. This is not a complete explanation of the aquastat operation, which also does more than that, (like turn the pump off on the low setting if is hooked up at way).

    I would say the savings on the outdoor reset is well worth it. I have seen many times where it has saved beter than 10%! Recently saw where a 16 plex apartment building saved over $1500 year in fuel, (better than 10%!). With aprox. 8 years of before and 2 of after to compare this is fairly accurate.

This discussion has been closed.