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Old 01-13-2020, 10:43 PM
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Default Any HVAC experts want to help me set up an oil furnace?



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I have an old Lennox household oil furnace that someone gave me years ago. I stashed it away in my shop with the intention of using it as shop heater, which I do not intend to keep heated all the time, but want to just heat up whenever I get an hour or two to work out there. Its only a 600 square foot shop and its a whole house furnace so it seems it should heat up pretty quickly...

Anyway...

After hours of troubleshooting, I finally have it running after replacing the nozzle, wiring it up, etc etc. It kicks on, burns, heats, kicks off, seems to work as it should. (just running it freestanding in the open air right now)

When I first fired it up it spewed large amounts of thick black smoke, I imagine from the left over fuel from numerous failed attempts to get it started while I was trying to get it set up. This lasted for about ten minutes before clearing out to light grey/black smoke. I've let it run for about half an hour now and its still smoking slightly.

I suspect it needs some adjustment to burn cleanly. I have noticed that if I open the main burner inspection port (the middle of three) The smoke vanishes. Now, I am guessing this means it needs more air and I should adjust the flue draft fan, or move the burner (I see that it slides in and out of the burner tube)

The nozzle is a .50 80, which is what the old one was and what it calls for on the panel sticker.

But I have never owned or messed with one of these before.

Any experts here who want to chime in?

(I can provide all the model numbers etc if anyone is interested and or needs them)
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:18 AM
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Without being in front of it myself, I can try to help.

With the furnace running, open the inspection door and run the back of your hand across the opening, if the air is set properly there should be little or no heat coming out of the port.

Next to the oil pump should be the primary air adjustment, if you play around with that while the furnace is running and the inspection door is open you will see how the flame is affected.

Slide the adjustment up or down while it's running and watch the flame, if your looking through the inspection port you want to just barely see the flame tips and they should be yellow, slide the air up or down and watch the flame.

Another way to check clean operation is to use a flashlight and look into the draft check while it's running and if there is any visible smoke then the air is wrong. " you did put a draft check in the smoke pipe right"

As far as the nozzle and electrodes goes set the electrodes 1/4 inch apart and 1/2 inch above the nozzle tip.
I'm sure someone on here will pipe in and say my instructions are all wrong and you will die if you use my help but I do HVAC for a living, mostly heat pumps, I service about 12 oil furnaces each season and have never had a callback on a oil furnace following my lack of knowledge and self taught skills.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:47 AM
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That's what I would do also.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
I have an old Lennox household oil furnace that someone gave me years ago. ...

It kicks on, burns, heats, kicks off, seems to work as it should. (just running it freestanding in the open air right now)



(I can provide all the model numbers etc if anyone is interested and or needs them)
I assume you don't have it conected to a chimney at the moment then?
The chimney will create a draft that will increase fresh combustion air.

Problem should fix itself once installed to a tall enough chimney or flue pipe.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:31 PM
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Run the smoke pipe through a wall and up over the roof line and install the draft check, that's your vacuum

Hell I have an older hi boy furnace in my shop as the heat, the smoke pipe runs through the wall and just sticks straight out the back 5 ft' long in total length, My fuel tank is a 5 gallon diesel can I set the pump up as a 2 pipe so it will prime itself , and the thermostat is 2 bare wires and a alligator clamp. Been working like a top for the past 10 years.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by browningv308 View Post
Slide the adjustment up or down while it's running and watch the flame, if your looking through the inspection port you want to just barely see the flame tips and they should be yellow, slide the air up or down and watch the flame.
One note. The flame should be bright yellow. Dull yellow means O2 starvation. Make the yellow as bright as possible. Whitish would be perfect, but you are highly unlikely to get that.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:10 PM
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I assume you don't have it conected to a chimney at the moment then?
The chimney will create a draft that will increase fresh combustion air.

Problem should fix itself once installed to a tall enough chimney or flue pipe.
Yes, its just freestanding outside the door right now. That is a good point, it may work fine if it was actually installed.

I was given it for free by someone who got it out of an old building. I didn't even think that it worked and was just going to take it apart and repurpose the squirrel cage etc but I thought I would try to get it running just for the heck of it and yeah, now that I unclogged the nozzle it fires up and seems to run well, if a little smokey.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:16 PM
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you'll need a oil filter as well there are basically two sizes. For a .50 nozzle the small one is sufficient. If your tank is outside, I usually recommend a empty filter cannister to serve as a sump and then have a filter and cannister inside the structure. Is your oil pump a single line or two line? Is the tank above or below the furnace?

I have noticed better performance from a "b" nozzle when I set one up using a combustion analyzer.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:05 PM
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Plumb in multiple fuel filters, and have enough cut-off valves on both sides so you can change any of them without spilling fuel or getting a lot of air in the line.

Keep spare nozzles on hand since clogging is a common problem. If you have spares you won't have to go without heat in the middle of the night while trying to clean one. Sometimes they can't be fixed.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:53 PM
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you'll need a oil filter as well there are basically two sizes. For a .50 nozzle the small one is sufficient. If your tank is outside, I usually recommend a empty filter cannister to serve as a sump and then have a filter and cannister inside the structure. Is your oil pump a single line or two line? Is the tank above or below the furnace?

I have noticed better performance from a "b" nozzle when I set one up using a combustion analyzer.
Its a single line at the moment. I think I want a double line but I need some kind of plug to convert the pump from single to double which I haven't sourced yet.

Filtering does seem to be the challenge. My new nozzle plugged up almost immediately. I cleaned it, same thing a few minutes later.

I took apart the pump and found a ton of very fine silt like gunk half filling up the pump housing on the INSIDE of the internal filter.

Cleaned all that out and installed a new filter and gasket. I built a tank stand and installed a filter on the inside by the furnace.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:20 AM
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The plug is just a set screw, been a while since I changed an oil pump so I don't remember which line it goes into but I'm sure that info could be looked up on Becket's website.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:14 AM
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Here they mix used vegetable oil with fuel oil and call it biofuel. There is a bacteria that lives and multiplies in the fuel and may cause clogging in the filter and nozzle. Sounds like that is what you are experiencing.
Adding Bio Kleen from Power Services keeps the bacteria in check. Other similar products exist but the diesel treatment for motor vehicles will not work.
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:53 PM
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most pumps will have a port that says bypass with a arrow pointing into the pump. There will be a plug on this port. Pull the plug and inside there is a place for a allen screw. Depending on your pump, Danfoss, sunstrand etc. for the price of a stamp I will send you a bypass plug. I probably have several and hardly almost never work on oil these days.

Some of the oil tanks have a 1/2 inch tapping on the bottom of the tank. I would run the threads on a nipple a little longer than normal. When that is screwed into the tank it comes up of the bottom a few inches. This will allow any sediment to settle on the bottom and not get into the line. Eventually it will need to be cleaned but that would probably be a long ways off.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:45 AM
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Ugh...super frustrated.

I can't get the dang thing to ignite now.

I don't understand what is happening. I had to mess with it a bunch to get the gunk purged from the system but finally I got it so it would spray without getting blocking up.

I have the nozzle tube out of the burner tube, but hooked up to the fuel line with ignitor disabled so I could spray into a jar and see what is happening. I repeated this about 20 times so I know its working.

I then unplugged the fuel valve so it wouldn't spray and tested it WITH the ignitor plugged in, which comes on fine.

I adjusted the electrodes as best as I could by eye (I don't have the gauge)

When I put everything back in the burner tube everything comes on, but no fire. It just buzzes until the fuel valve clicks open and then it cycles off from a failure to start.

The only thing that I can think of that is different is that the fuel I have in my tank (just five gallons right now) is on road diesel instead of red off road diesel.

Could that make a difference?
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:07 AM
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Road diesel or dyed shouldn't make a difference. Probably your electrodes aren't set right, though you should get something. You don't need a gauge, just get the numbers off the burner (you might have to google) and use a tape measure.

Your control box might be on lockout due to cycling without running.

ETA: If you had a sludge issue in the nozzle, your fuel solenoid might be gummed up. Had a similar experience on mine. Unplugged the wire to the solenoid, gave it a some wiggling and it fired up after. Been working ever since.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:36 PM
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I figured it out. It was really stupid.

The internal nozzle part was not screwed in, probably because I forget it during one of the numerous times. When I tested it, I had the fuel tube pointed down into a jar, so the little internal cone part would fall into place and work, when inserted into the burner tube, it would fall back and the nozzle would just straight stream and not atomize.

Dumb, I probably spent three hours trying to figure that out.

Anyway....still having trouble with it clogging every five minutes. The sintered metal filter on the nozzle seems to do nothing. Whatever is clogging the tip just keeps getting past it.

I take out the nozzle, spray it out with brake cleaner, put it back together, cycle the furnace a few times to flush out the fuel line, put the nozzle back on, reassemble the whole thing. It fires up...but then chokes out after a few minutes and when I test it, the nozzle is clogged again. I've probably been through this cycle a dozen times.

Is there a way to bypass the controls so that the pump just runs continuously? I'm thinking its just a matter of needing to flush the system more. Maybe if I could just run five gallons threw it and keep dumping the fuel back in the tank a few times I would get whatever little bits of crap are getting into my nozzle out?
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:58 PM
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Dumb, I probably spent three hours trying to figure that out.
That's why I suggested always keeping extra nozzles on hand.
You can run a new one while trying to figure out what's wrong with the old one.

You will need to add more more and finer filtration to make things reliable.
I'd plumb in at least two.

Then cycling it through a few times can clean it unless the contamination is coming from your tank itself.

Quote:
I built a tank stand and installed a filter on the inside by the furnace.
I'd add 2 more outside and only change the one inside when absolutely necessary.
Diesel/fuel oil stinks too much to take a chance on it leaking or spilling inside.

Use the smallest micron rating you can find for the second and third filters in the line.
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:08 PM
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That's why I suggested always keeping extra nozzles on hand.
You can run a new one while trying to figure out what's wrong with the old one.
I actually had three, and they all plugged up in succession.

The tank is new. I just built it, and everything is filtered at this point right before it goes into the furnace. The only sources of new gunk has to be in the pump itself, which I took apart and thought I cleaned, or in the little bit of tubing in the furnace between the pump and the nozzle.

Quote:
Diesel/fuel oil stinks too much to take a chance on it leaking or spilling inside.
Yeah, that ship sailed. I have that crap everywhere after three hours of trying to purge the system.

Any ideas on how to over ride the pump shut off so I can just run the pump continuously for a while to flush it? Right now it only runs for about five seconds at a time unless it ignites. I see there is a photocell sensor but not sure how to trick it into thinking there is flame.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:22 PM
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Depending on the system, but pump really doesn't shut off. There is a soienoid that runs on 110 that the control box opens after a delay to make sure the motor is up to speed. You can wire that up to stay open constantly. That's not a great idea though because it will constantly pump and subsequently leak fuel into the chamber and it can explode and damage the furnace.

I would take that line off and change it or run a pipe cleaner through it. It's an easier option that possibly damaging your pump or cad cell (though they are cheap).

Are you totally sure it's gunk, though? Are you actually getting particles out of it?
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Old 01-26-2020, 01:04 AM
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That's not a great idea though because it will constantly pump and subsequently leak fuel into the chamber and it can explode and damage the furnace.
I was going to re-route it so the tube was going into a bucket instead of the combustion chamber.

Quote:
Are you totally sure it's gunk, though? Are you actually getting particles out of it?
No, I'm not, I can't really see anything, but the internal metal cone that the oil goes through just has three nearly microscopic scratches in it to allow the oil to get around it so they could be plugged with something to small to see with the naked eye.

And that is what has to be happening, I don't know what else it could be stoping the oil flow in the nozzle.

Which is a bad design IMO as its sintered metal filter should be designed so that nothing larger than its orifice can pass through.
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