Proper Adjustment of Air and Retention Ring on Oil Furnace

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Richard S.
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 4:40 pm

Oil furnace died. We've had more problems with this damn thing than I did with coal boiler in 25 years.

Tried the easy stuff first, new filters. Checked the flue, No go. After some research I tried the eye and that worked for few days. Wasn't the problem and I really have no idea why it worked.

Onto the burner, took that apart and found the nozzle was covered with an oily/carbon mixture. So much that it was actually touching the igniter at one spot. The furnace had the specs listed for nozzle, the one that was installed was of course the wrong one. Wrong GPH, wrong angle AND wrong spray pattern. Since we don't know the history of it and have no idea who installed the different nozzle or why a smaller one was installed we went back to recommended one.

The manual had the recommend adjustments for the nozzle and igniter. Adjusted the igniter to the specs they had. The recommendation for the air was 30/100 on the air and 4/10 on the retention nozzle.

After firing this produced a lot of smoke. After some experimenting right now I'm at 60 on the air and 6 on the ring and I see no visible smoke. I should note we took off the side panels which gave you access to inside the firing chamber. Lot's of scale but I'm not touching it until the Spring. I'm guessing I needed to exceed manufacturers settings because of back pressure cause by the scale.

Now my question is anybody really familiar with these? Like someone that actually knows what they are doing? My biggest trouble I think is trying to wrap my head around how the air and retention ring interact.

We're probably going to keep this boiler and use in tandem with the coal boiler so when the Spring gets here I'll be doing full maintenance on it. Don't really want to mess with it anymore now because it looks like its working fine for the moment.
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Rob R.
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 5:27 pm

Richard, can you post the make and model of the boiler and burner? Have you checked the fuel pressure and draft?

-Rob

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Richard S.
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 7:22 pm

If you're not aware I had a house fire a year ago, the Van Wert is in storage and will be operational by Fall. :D This would be the first time in my life I lived in a house with anything other than coal for heat and I'm not liking it one bit, I miss that sweet sound of coal crunching as it's going through the auger.
Richard, can you post the make and model of the boiler and burner? Have you checked the fuel pressure and draft?
It's a H.B. Smith 8 series S/W 5. The burner is a Carlin 99CRD.

Haven't checked the fuel pressure but there is no gauge. Manual says it preset at factory to 100 PSI and you need extra attachment if you need to regulate it.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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Rob R.
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 7:30 pm

It should have a tapping for a pressure gauge. If someone has messed with the fuel pressure the factory settings will be "off the mark". It might be a good time to have a burner tech. set it up and check it over with combustion test equipment.

Edit-what are you running for a nozzle?

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Richard S.
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 7:40 pm

1.65 60 ES. It specified R but apparently ES is same type. At least this is what I'm told by plumbing guy.

I'm thinking I'm going to do some major cleaning and have someone with right equipment and knowledge come do it. Apparently you need right testing stuff to get it perfect.

Just looking to see if there is something I should be doing before then.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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whistlenut
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 7:45 pm

I agree Richard. The days of 'eye-balling the flame' and arbitrarily adjusting the air are over. You would be well advised to find a burner tech you can trust, and probably the nozzle will be smaller that the specs, and the pump pressure may have been modified for efficiency. Please do this very soon, because you are wasting fuel as long as it is 'huffing along'.
....and to defend you, it is a very good idea to have another form of heat maker whether you burn coal or not. It is like a spare tire for your vehicle. I KNOW you miss the Van Wert, and it is probably lonely stored away after being such a loyal friend for so long, but warmer weather is coming, so please call the tech to make your sleeping much easier.
PS: Not a big Carlin fan, but they do make some nice stuff now. Copied Riello enough, and they are now on the right track.
You sure need to clean that boiler as well...... :idea:
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Rob R.
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 7:51 pm

That air setting of 30% seems pretty low to me. I looked up Burnham's recommended settings for the same burner and nozzle, and they are calling for 80% on the air band. http://www.oiltechtalk.com/pages/carlin.htm

If you have it running alright, leave it until someone with the right equipment can check it out. Make sure the heat exchanger is thoroughly cleaned before they try and take any readings, and check the condition of theme firing chamber.

As you have discovered, it isn't as simple as checking for a proper ash ring.

-Rob

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Berlin
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 10:37 pm

The 99CRD is a pretty good burner. Although I don't "know" them as well as becket, just because that's what I've typically played with. As far as MFG'r reccomendations, eh, I usually don't pay too close attention to them for certain things. In short, if you want the best performance out of your oil burner, downsize the nozzle to less than what is required to heat the home, increase the pump pressure to 140-150psi (you'll pick back up gph this way and MUCH better atomization) and set the baro to deliver the lowest draft setting it can -01,-.02 at the baro, fire the boiler so that it's almost going positive, and allow a decent safety margin of excess air to prevent sooting.

Yes you can set up a burner by eye without much of a problem, even using a bach kit, you don't run a burner at it's most efficient state, sooting is a huge efficiency killer, often anything over 11% CO2 may lead to trouble if everything doesn't cooperate (cold fuel, barometric pressure etc. etc.) and anyone who has a good idea of what they're looking for can still set a "modern" burner bye pretty damn well. The mythology that it can't be done is pervasive and unfounded. Yes, proper testing equiptment is great, but it's not necessary
Burning western Pennsylvania Bituminous in WNY using model 77 stoker furnace. BITUMINOUS equiptment: 2 hand fired stoves of my own design, Many Combustioneer Model 77 stokers, stokermatic furnace, Many Will-Burt stokers, & and Two Iron firemen.


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Richard S.
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Post Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 11:14 pm

whistlenut wrote:.
You sure need to clean that boiler as well...... :idea:
There was some cast side panels held on by wingnuts, I took one off and there was a lot of scale. The boiler has a design with not much clearance. The plates inside have little pimples so there is more surface area. These are pretty close together and it didn't look good at all. Need a long thin wire brush...

There is two fire places in this house but we will keep the oil boiler too. It's bit old though, maybe late 80's.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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whistlenut
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Post Wed. Mar. 02, 2011 9:07 am

"The dreaded PIN Boiler"! It is great for heat transfer when squeaky clean, but oil does not burn very cleanly unless 'tuned' to the max. (look at a NG or Propane fueled boiler...) The pins start to collect soot...after some time the passageways are restricting air flow and heat transfer. Ever wonder why folks love tube boilers? Add turbulators and the heat transfer situation really improves.
As you note, several different style brushes make the cleaning job a ten minute affair. If it was done once a month, you would really see a difference. It is no more work than keeping the stoker boiler working at peak efficiency also. I clean the plate surfaces one a month on a warm day and take the exhaust pipe off, clean and vacuum the pipes and chamber, and make sure the damper is clean and moving freely. Same thing for AHS, AA, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame. Also, clean the accumulation from the clean out door also. Fly ash loves to settle in for a long winters rest wherever it lands.

PPPPPPP :idea:
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a 'piece of human solid waste' by the clean end." More true today....

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SMITTY
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Post Wed. Mar. 02, 2011 9:22 am

I eyeball mine all the time. Haven't had a burner tech here since I moved in (just so I could buy oil from the place). I use a tank per year with the coal stove running.

Don't forget to change the filter at the oil tank. Change the nozzle, make sure the electrodes are at the proper gap & everything is nice n clean. I shine a bright flashlight through my baro damper, and open the air up until I stop seeing smoke. Been working for me for nearly 8 years. I got lazy this year & didn't even run a brush through the exchanger.
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Richard S.
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Post Wed. Mar. 02, 2011 1:03 pm

whistlenut wrote:"The dreaded PIN Boiler"! It is great for heat transfer when squeaky clean, but oil does not burn very cleanly unless 'tuned' to the max.
One good thing is there is very easy access to clean it. It looks like all this crap will fall into the firing chamber though and I'll have to take off the burner plate to access it. I don't see any easy access to that.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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steamup
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Post Thu. Mar. 03, 2011 8:18 am

Richard S. wrote:
whistlenut wrote:"The dreaded PIN Boiler"! It is great for heat transfer when squeaky clean, but oil does not burn very cleanly unless 'tuned' to the max.
One good thing is there is very easy access to clean it. It looks like all this crap will fall into the firing chamber though and I'll have to take off the burner plate to access it. I don't see any easy access to that.
I have an HB smith oil boiler with carlin buner on it also. The thing is a soot generator. You cannot guess at the settings and get a clean burn. You need the right tools to measure combustion and they are expensive, so I never bought them. They make brushes to clean the boiler but I found the first pass requires a simple steel rod to knock the big clumps of soot out. The brush has to be just the right size or it won't make it through between the pins.

Yes, you have to take off the burner plate to access the fire box. Disconnect the electric. Disconnect the oil piping if it is not flexible enough to allow the burner to be set to the side. Also take off the flue to access the flue connector on the boiler. Pain in the a**.

I brush down the boiler from the side first, then take off the buner plate and vacuum out the soot and then brush the inside surface of the fire box. The flue is done last.

My boiler is now strictly a backup boiler and sits there unused.
Steamup

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Post Thu. Mar. 03, 2011 8:45 am

steamup wrote:Yes, you have to take off the burner plate to access the fire box.
Be very careful in the firebox, some of that refractory can be like cotton candy. If you bump it with a vacuum hose it can disappear! :shock:
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

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SMITTY
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Location: West-Central Mass

Post Thu. Mar. 03, 2011 9:00 am

Yeah that stuff is very fragile!

My boiler is a Burnham. Has a door that swings open so you can clean the chamber out without removing the burner unit. There has to be access to the chamber somewhere ... otherwise it would fill up after several years of cleaning.
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Door removed
Coal stove coil install 028.jpg
Under the stack, looking top down.
Last edited by SMITTY on Thu. Mar. 03, 2011 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
The laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are
neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. ...Such laws make things worse
for the assaulted and better for the assailants, they serve rather to
encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with
greater confidence than an armed man."

- Thomas Jefferson, quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in "On
Crimes and Punishment."


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