G&S Mechanical Service Can Repair or service
Oil heating service
By G&S Mechanical Services Of Maryland.
your oil burning heating equipment.
for this same page with updates and images
Warning: there is information that I do not have on this
and following pages that will require separate pages to write about. If
you find any links please let me know. Some of the missing information
is setting the air mixture and testing the ignition transformer. Both will
require at least one or more web pages to present the information properly
We are familiar with most brands of oil burners R.W Beckett, Wayne Home
Equipment, Carlin or Arco. There are other brands of equipment but they
are so rare that there are few left compared to R.W Beckett and Wayne.
The Beckett AFG. burner seems to be the most popular burner in use today.
While many major cities now have natural gas service there are many places
that still have oil especially rural areas and large installations in cities
until some other source of fuel is discovered oil heat will be with us
for a while. Areas like Long Island New York have a lot of oil since natural
gas is not available and the price of electricity is 25c/KWH making heat
pumps not cost effective.
We find that the majority of problems with oil burners is that they need
to be cleaned regularly and have the fuel filters changed. We find that
many problems can be solved by converting systems that are one pipe to
two pipes. This picks up dirt that normally settles in the bottom of the
tank and sucks it into the filter where you can dispose of it.
Nozzles are cheap to replace and can cause lots of problems especially
the lower flow nozzles under 1.0 GPH. They can clog with dirt even though
they have a bronze screen. Higher flow nozzles are less likely to clog
and need replacing.
Problems with the ignition transformer are not as common as problems with
the electrodes getting covered with soot and shorting out the spark, causing
the oil not to light. Cleaning the electrodes with alcohol or solvent will
help restore the porcelain. Cracked electrodes should be replaced. Be careful
messing with the ignition transformer, the 10,000 volts can shock you into
If you run out of oil on a one pipe system you will have to purge the air
out of the lines. This is done by connecting a 3/8" id tube to the bleeder
screw on the burner oil pump and the other end into a container while opening
the valve with the motor running to pump all the air out of the lines.
Once the line runs clear you should be able to close the line and the burner
should fire. You will have to hit the reset several times to get the lines
cleared and it is not uncommon to get an air bubble that stopps the oil
flow in the future.
If you have a two pipe system you will only have to hit the reset button
a few times until the lines are purged (see below).
Hope this helps Scott Meenen
Don't hesitate to replace a nozzle even though they have
bronze screens on them they will still crud up. Match the spray angle,
capacity and air pattern.
Clean the flame retention ring (the thing that look like
a fan) this device locks the flame onto the head of the burner and helps
determine the air pattern.
If the flame retention ring should fall off (a problem on
R.W. Beckett) you will have one god-awful mess so be sure to check to make
sure it has not fallen off if you are having sooting problems.
Clean any soot or carbon off the porcelain insulators so
the spark can't run down the insulator and kill the spark. However I have
seen filthy insulators still fire just fine.
Caution the ignition transformer puts out 10,000 volts at
substantial current and will shock the shit out of you. Please close the
transformer before energizing the burner.
Check the pump pressure by attaching a gauge to the pressure
port. It is 1/8 inch pipe thread and with the right extensions you can
leave it attached. It should read 100 psi (some commercial and residential
burners are set to 140 psi so the GPH of the nozzle will be higher). Please
use a glycerin filled gauge because vibrations from the pump will wear
out a conventional gauge and spray oil everywhere. A refrigeration low
side gauge works great. For the record you should install a shut-off in
the gauge line.
If you have problems with crud and sludge
in your tank and you only have one pipe feeding the burner consider going
to a two pipe system. This will constantly circulate the oil so it will
have a chance to filter out all the junk that is on the bottom of the tank.
To do this you must remove a plug from the bottom of the pump and install
a hex head pipe plug (Available from the pump manufactures or supply houses).
This will force the oil to re circulate back to the tank instead of inside
the pump. This will end the days of opening the bleeder screw after running
out of oil. If you are comfortable working on cars you can make this modification.
If you have problems getting oil to flow out of the supply
line to to crud in the line you can screw with it for weeks or you can
connect the appropriate fittings to it, connect an air compressor and blast
the line clean. If the oil level is above the burner then the oil should
pour out when the line is open. If the burner is above the oil level then
you may need to connect an automotive vacuume gauge to diagnose a problem
but it still won't hurt to blast the line out with compressed air.
Do not keep hitting the "reset button" if you have oil pressure
you are just filling the furnace with oil so when it finally does ignite
it will make one hell of a fire in the combustion chamber and scare you
half to death, fill the house with smoke and shake the house (if this happens
avoid the temptation to shut off the burner, just let it burn itself out
otherwise you will have an explosion once the oil fumes reignite). Follow
the tips above, the furnace should fire within 3 seconds of getting pressure.
If you have problems with fuel leaking into the combustion
chamber during the off cycle and rumbling when it starts you can add a
solenoid to stop this problem. When the pump pressure drops below 80 PSI.
a valve should stop the flow of oil, if it doesn't oil will continue to
flow if the tank is above the burner.
When trouble shooting problems you need to know exactly when
"When" is. A few seconds can change a diagnosis. Intermittent problems
have to be caught in the act.
Setting the electrodes can be tricky the burner manufactures
recommend different settings but here are some guide lines that usually
work fine. Set the electrodes flush with the plane of the nozzle (the air
from the combustion blower will blow the arc plasma into the oil), Set
the gap from 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch. A good field setting is to just be
able to slide two pennies through the gap. The height of the electrodes
will usually take care of it self, but if not try to set it between the
top of the nozzle and the flame retention ring. The spark must not jump
to the ring.
If you have a conventional ignition transformer it should
draw 2.0-2.2 amps on the primary circuit, anything else and it is not firing.
More about this later.
Setting the position of the nozzle assembly (also known as
the "gun") in relation to the flame retention ring should be referred to
the factory specifications. When you take apart the burner you will notice
an adjustment where the oil line attaches. Try to mark that position and
place the line in the same place again. According to R.W. Beckett this
setting for the AFG. burner is 1 and 1/8 of an inch from the flat of the
flame retention ring to the flat of the nozzle.
If the fuel pump goes bad be sure to replace it with one
of the same RPM and direction. Most modern burners are 3400 rpm and clockwise
(SHAFT END) if the pump is on the left. Older burners are 1800 rpm
and have a larger fan wheel. Be sure to replace the coupler too at this
If your system does not have a filter please add one. They
can be bought at the local hardware store sold under the brand name General
Filter. The model 1-25A will work fine for most installations, connections
are made by 3/8 inch flare connections and 3/8 inch OD. tubing. If possible
locate the filter outside so when you change it the mess stays outside.
Try to change your filter at least once a season (more if you have a dirty
There are two types of protection controls (called the "primary")
. The older ones measure the stack temperature and expect to have hot flue
gasses with in a certain time period. Most modern burners use a photocell
to detect light from the flame. These devices rarely give any problems
but if they do you can replace the photocell (White
Rodgers and Honeywell cells are interchangeable). If you have the old
stack mounted control consider upgrading it to the Cad Cell system. Loose
connections at the photocell socket can cause intermittent tripping of
the Primary while the burner is firing normally.
Finally if you are unsure of your abilities please leave
the job to someone experienced with oil burners or mechanics and expect
to get dirty.
If you want add to this text please e-mail me or feel
free to link to here and I can advertise your service.
For all your oil equipment repairs, questions
and answers contact us. When filling out this form please keep in mind
that the oil burner and the furnace are two separate entities. I don't
need details on the furnace if you are looking for parts to your burner.
Just the brand of the burner and the parts you need. Please try the supply
house list first. To learn what the photocell does and how to diagnose
it click here.
If you have air conditioning or a forced air furnace consider adding a
pump also known as a fossil
fuel kit to save you money if oil prices get high this winter (the
same goes for natural gas). Sold mainly on Rheem
and Ruud. but can be used on other brands of heaters. If you have gas
furnace questions try this page.
Looking for repair books: I have found
that the public library usually has a very good selection. Audel Publishing
puts out some really nice books which you may be able to order online.
here for this same page with updates and images
here for the Q&A section.
We service and repair the following brands:
American Standard, Amana, Arco, Arco-Aire, Bryant, Carrier,
Coleman Evcon, Comfortmaker, Day/Night/Payne, Dunham-Bush, Fedders, Fredrich,
Goodman, General Electric, Hotpoint, Heil, Intertherm, Janitrol, Kenmore,
Lennox (Armstrong, Johnson Air-Ease), Miller, Modine, Nordyne, Rheem/Ruud,
Sears, Stewart Warner, Trane, Williams, White-Westinghouse, Whirlpool,
York, (Frasier Johnson/Borg Warner Luxair) and others.
MARYLAND DC. VIRGINIA AREA
Written By: Scott Meenen
G&S MECHANICAL SERVICES.
Specializing in Mechanical, Controls
and Electrical Modifications Of
Heating, Air conditioning, Refrigeration,
Ice Production and Food preservation.
Anything having to do with Heat
Serving MD, DC, and Northern
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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This text written by: Scott Meenen * G & S Mechanical
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