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Oil Burner Puff back

LW Member Posts: 7
Please Help Me. I Know it's my fault, but I don't know what to do about it and I can't afford to call in someone. (Finances are Really Hurting)
A friend called because his oil burner was out. I explained to him I am a Plumber, not an oilman, but since he was cold, broke and in desperate need, I did what I could. I changed the filter, cleaned the eye, and changed the nozzle. Pushed the reset and all seemed fine. Five hours later he had a "Puff back", the fire Dept said he will need to have the burner cleaned. I once again gave in and "Helped" him. I took apart the gun, cleaned it and that is when I noticed that I put the WRONG NOZZLE IN, I should have put in a .75 and I put in a 1.00 Hollow. Okay, my eyes are failing, it was dark and I forgot my glasses.

So, now I cleaned the entire Gun, Changed back to the same type of nozzle and fired her up. She started smoking more then grandpa did at a card game, so I shut her down and now I am trying to figure out what to do next. Let me ad that since I just came off of disability, with a wife and four kids to feed, I can't pay for an oil guy to come. There was no damage in the basement from the puff back and he can't afford to pay anyone either, please somebody tell me what the procedure is for cleaning up after a puff back. Thank you for your help


  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620

    I can't make any promises but please contact me via e-mail [email protected] Maybe we can get your friend some help through Oil Heat Cares!

    Your friend in the industry,
    Alan R. Mercurio


    Your friend in the industry,

    Alan R. Mercurio

  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,188

    you'll find some help.

    You know that oil burner has to be set up with instruments. Without them you stand to have these problems.

    The filter assembly and all the oil piping must be clean. Usually dirt cloggs the nozzle and causes a puffback. The air inlet on the oil burner has the be clean. Usually its caked with lint, expecially if there is a clothes dryer in the basement.

    The biggest task is vacuuming down and brushing that boiler's heat exchanger. The soot from the puffback usually clogs those narrow passages and has to be brushed out. Otherwise the smoke just comes out of the firebox into the house.

    Whe you put in the larger nozzle without adjusting the burner for more air, it burned a smoky fire. This smoke sooted up the inside passages of the boiler.

    But without the proper combustion analyser, don't even think of setting up that burner, or you'll get...


    Long Beach Ed
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,094

    A puff back may be a indictation that the unit needs to be cleaned and the chimmey base and chimmey checked .This should be done every year 1 /64 of a inch of soot lowers your eff.unless you like wasting oil have your friend call a oil service co and have them do a complete cleaning meanimg dis assembling the flue and flue collector on the boiler brush down the section and vacuime the chanmber also check the condition of the chamber also then and only then have them do a complete burner service including cleaning the burner fan and air inlets ,chk blast tube ,electrodes .inginition tranny and not last but your pump pressure and the pumps cut off after all that blow back your oil lines and run a vac gauge to check the supply line for possible restriction or air leaks .If all checks out then fire her up and have the service tech do any adjustment that may be necessary .I was formly in the oil bussiness and i have semalot of oil boiler that never get saeviced even the company i work for sent a a spring mailer so custermers could set uop a appointmnet for theer cleanings theup side to it was that those who didn't elect to do it then for say 90 bucks got to have me come over at all hours of the night and do the dirty deed for about twicwe the amount so you pay now or you pay later or you just pay as youyr dirty boiler blows a 750 stack temp and most of the useable heat your burner is producing is blowing thew the chimmey .And on another note if the service tech just does a filter noz and strainer and tooses a soot stick in the chamber and says he done kindly feel free to grab him by the seat of his pants and evict him from your home that is how you don't do a cleaning that the slacker way and it always end up at 330 in the morning your house is full of smoke and the fire dept is there .Seen it been there then had to clean it if they ain't bringing a vacume in with them they ain't a pro get some else and on the bye and bye a good cleaning usually takes a least 1 to 2 hours and that to clean all mentioned and depending on the system going over all the safeties and cycling the unit on the it's safeties both the burner safeties and the boilers limits and checking all the o0ther good stuff .Sorry to ramble but it ticks me off when equiptment is not maintained properly there's usually a sticker on most oil equiptment that staes that this unit should be service yearly by a heating professinal i guess the manafacture put it on there just to get rid of the extra strickers they take up alot of warehouse space .Do your freind a favor and get the unit properly s3rviced and cleaned in all likelyhood it will reduce the amount of fuel wasted peaceand good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • LW
    LW Member Posts: 7
    Thank You All

    I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your help. With all the info given, I was able to break it down, clean it out and fire it up in about 5 hours. Smoke is cleare, co2 is 10.5, stack temp is? I forgot, but within limits. Now if I can only figure out how to get this smell off of me.. Ha ha. Again, thank you all and God Bless!
  • Mitch_6
    Mitch_6 Member Posts: 549

    your co2 is 10.5 but was that coming from an adjustment of just a trace of smoke to the current reading.

    It is possible to get a good co2 but be on the wrong side of the curve. If you have not taken this into account you may still want someone to re check the readings.

    A digital analizer will tell you right away the o2 to co2 levels.

    Just a thought.

    Mitch S.
  • Terry_14
    Terry_14 Member Posts: 209
    should you be near Oneonta NY

    I have the instruments and a desire to help.

    E-mail me if within range

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