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Cleaning oil burners

Ken C.Ken C. Member Posts: 267
I'm new to the oil heat trade. I'm working with an experienced technician who is training me to do annual boiler cleanings/burner servicing/combustion testing. I've done about 10 cleanings, and I always seem to get some oil on the floor when I pull the nozzle assembly or during bleeding. Other than using Speedi Dri, what system/methods do you use? One idea I'm considering is getting a large cookie sheet. The shallow pan would easily fit under most burners to catch any drips, and it would also be large enough to provide a good work space to disassemble and clean nozzle assemblies. I've been spreading rags on the floor for cleanings, but this uses up an awful lot of rags. What do you think of the cookie sheet idea? Any other ideas?


  • BigedBiged Member Posts: 117
    OIL Burner Clean Outs

    Welcome to the trade,first forget ever being clean while working ever again or not smelling like oil. well.... not quite,to stay clean you can wear a coverall or tyvek and always use rubber gloves to keep your hands clean espeacially if you're married. buy a drop cloth similar to what the painters use to cover the floor around the boiler so that whatever soot ect. from smoke pipe and boiler gets collected on the cloth. when you remove the nozzle assemble put your thumb over the end of the assemble to prevent oil from draining all over you and yes you can use one of those cookie pan or whatever it takes to keep most of the oil off the floor. get a can of odor gone powder and spray for leaving a nice smelling fragrance. remember leave the basement cleaner than you found it! have fun.
  • Ken D.Ken D. Member Posts: 836

    A cookie sheet is a good idea. I have used one for years. I put a layer of oil dry in it to hold any oil so it does not run out. When cleaning the pump strainer or changing the filter, I will get the bottom of a plastic bottle (milk or windshield fluid, etc.)to catch the larger amounts. I use this in conjunction with my cookie tray. When removing the drawer assy. I lift it out and the same time hold my thumb over the drawer inlet and hold the nozzle end at an upward plane. This keeps the oil from leaking. Pour the oil in the nozzle line ito a rag or jar and check or replace nozzle. Take your time as haste makes waste. Keep a clean wiper or rag handy to keep your hands or gloves clean so as not to leave finger marks all over everything. When bleeding the pump, get a length of 1/4" vinyl tube (available at almost any hardware store or home center)and slide it over the bleed nipple of the pump and put the other end into your bottle bottom or slop bucket. When using the vacuum, put drop cloths everywhere and go slow and keep the vac hose near the area you are cleaning to catch stray soot or put hose end into the inspection door so all the flues become a vac nozzle. Don't get too close to it so as to keep the soot off of you. Above all, focus.
  • WeezboWeezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    I been at this too long:)

    i use gert big green plastic bags:) little small grocery size plastic bags:) cardboard,soot devil or throw away shopvacs,cookie sheet very sound idea. odorbegoyne also good grip . simple green anit half bad:) rope and towel i like them better than brushes in the flue big plastic bag:)little plastic bag. I have never determined a sure fire way to get the rocky raccoon look completely under control:) slaker...various boiler brushes Plastic bag with vac running... small plastic bag in vent in winter helps keep the place from becoming a game of FREEZE OUT :)... be through you dont wanna BRB :) windex on clean (Towel rag ...first on fire eye then run it over the motor and pump:) aquastat. some mess can be hard to get a grip on,tooth brushes help clean the "blower motor fan slots"and little nooks and couplings need to be in the replacement package...whata bout next time:) oh and 5$'s worth of new stove pipe and fittings just makes the job Look Like its Worth something:)
  • MikeR_3MikeR_3 Member Posts: 43
    For burner...

    I have a small metal painting bucket (available at most hardware stores), and I bought a small metal baking pan (used for pies?) that fits perfectly in the top of the bucket. In the pie-pan I keep my clear plastic tube for bleeding the burners, and also an old toothbrush for cleaning pump screens. The pan goes under the pump to catch the oil from the pump cover, and also any drips while bleeding, and the bucket sits next to it, so that I can stretch the tube into it. When I pull the nozzle assembly, I simply tip it up into the bucket.
  • RangerRanger Member Posts: 210

    ....I had (still have actually) a small said cookie sheet for just such a purpose.Gummont carborator cleaner works the best on the nozzel assembly bar none.I have a tray w/the cookie sheet,f/o tank water test paste,leak lock,A,B,J & H strainers & gaskets,small metal ruler to measure gap,porcelin/gauge glass cutter,by-pass plugs,test jack for RA890 & R4795's,cad cell eyes,cad cell assy.,rubber
    surgical gloves (thay are a must!!!),small piece of plastic tube for bleeding,f/o pump coupling(s)....ah yes.It's all comming back....I believe ajax laundry detergant worked the
    best on the overalls...4 cleanings a day from August 1st 'till mid-November...I used a Big plastic laundry detergant bottle to dump the f/o and carb cleaner into to
    properly dispose of when full.By the way,Bunker-C (No:6 f/o) smells worse (at least I think so).
  • Guy_5Guy_5 Member Posts: 159

    For small amounts of oil, the odor-gone is a reasonable absorbant and odor eliminator. We also kept the absorbent pads on hand. They work well beneath the burner while you are working, and won't spill when you pick them up.
    One piece of advice from a long time oil man- spray the boiler/furnace down with windex or the like and wipe it down just before you leave. Appearances count, and even if you do the exact same cleanout as your predecessor, yours will look better, and therefore be better in the customer's eye. Just be forewarned- they will probably ask for ONLY YOU the next season, and that's not always a good thing!!


    Guy Woollard
    Heat Transfer Products
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