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a boiler dilemna that can't be fixed.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by mikeyny, Jan 19, 2008.

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  1. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

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    upstate ny
    I have an old style tarm combo boiler. Wood in the front and oil in the back. I have not used the oil side since I put it in years ago. I know tho oil side is not too efficient. Now all I need to do is fire it with oil for 1 hour in the morn. from 530 to 630 am to be sure the house is warm in the morning on those real cold days. Here is the problem. The boiler is in the unheated unattached garage out back. I use a mixture of #2 oil (salvaged from some neighbors old oil tanks) used and filtered vege-oil and some other waste oils with a little kero to thin it all out a bit. It burns great in the right environment but when the boiler and combustion chamber are cold in the morning it fire's real smoky and barely runs for the first 15 minutes. Once it all heats up it is fine. I think the problem is that the fuel doesn't atomize enough in the cold. This seems like a situation I can't fix. Any thoughts?

    Mike

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  2. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    1,882
    Loc:
    Ashland OH
    How about a magnetic heater on a timer? Just a thought.
  3. slowzuki

    slowzuki Feeling the Heat

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    New Brunswick, Canada
    Add some more thin oil to thin her out, add a ceramic combustion target for the gun to shoot at, preheat the oil before the burner, hmm, thats just the quick stuff I can think of.
  4. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    SW Missouri
    preheters are used on Clean Burn waste oill burners. There are some issues getting used synthetic to burn. Oil manufacturers have engineered the flash point of the oil so high to extend it's life in the crankcase. Clean Burn has had to really crank up the pre-heater temperature to get the stuff to ignite.

    I know a few Greasel folks around here that need to keep that cooking grease/ oil really warm come winter. I'd wonder about the emissions from a witches blend like that when it burns in the cold mode?

    hr
  5. Tarmsolo60

    Tarmsolo60 Feeling the Heat

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    what about turning up your pump pressure. older oil burner pumps were set to 100 psi. newer oil burners are set for 140 psi for better atomization. If you turn up your pump you need to put in a smaller nozzle to get the same btu rating. oil nozzle ratings are for 100 psi. Example .85 nozzle is about a 1.10 at 140 psi(don't have a chart in front of me, you can probably find one online if you do this.
  6. Reggie Dunlap

    Reggie Dunlap Feeling the Heat

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    Northern Vermont
    If your oil storage is in the building could you run some fintube off the boiler to heat the building? That and a little insulation may solve the problem. If your tank is outside maybe encase it in foam.
  7. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    The filtered/heavy oils are not the right viscosity for the burner and are not atomizing properly. They just splat on the cold surfaces and smoke until things are heated up. You may even be clogging the nozzle making the problem worse. Just trying to figure out what nozzle-pressure combination would work at the varying temperatures you lite off at would seem to be an excercise in futility. Just using the correct fuel would seem to be the easiest since you don't seem to use enough to warrant applying some extreme fix. I would suggest getting rid of the waste oil since your appliance is not EPA approved for it. If you have a supply of vegetable oil you may want to think about making your own biodiesel and build up a bulk supply over the off season. If you insist on trying to burn an unknown mixture, just heating the oil supply line may help. I am not sure what is approved for that-maybe a pipe heat tape and well insulated. Let us know what you end up doing.

    Yes-there is a fix. Nothing time and money can't solve.
  8. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Nothing like the smell of French fries in the morning . . .
  9. Jersey Bill

    Jersey Bill Member

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    I think that you need to keep the starting oil saparate from the running oil. thats what the conversion kit for cars does.
    tie in both tanks with a Y valve, start up with the good stuff, then switch to the cheap mix after its hot.
  10. IowaBrian

    IowaBrian New Member

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    NE Iowa
    I agree start with the good stuff and switch over there are a lot of ideas on the car forums for switches and preheaters search WVO forums there are 2 forums that are really good but they deal mostly with cars and trucks.
    If you need some links let me know they are on my home computer and I am at work so no links right now.
  11. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

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    upstate ny
    Thanks for the advice. I turned up the pump pressure (not sure to what pressure) and adjusted the air. I let it warm up for 15 min before making adjustments. It starts much better with less rumble and gets up to temp a bit quicker. As mentioned before I only need it for a short time in the am and only on real cold days so it not worth investing too much time and $ into it. I think it will work fine for me for now unless it gets way below zero, then I may have more problems. One funny but obvious thing I did observe was the best way to separate any water from the oil. Normally I would filter it and let the water settle out the bottom of the tank and drain it off, but since it got so cold the water freezes no mater where it is in the solution. Some water does seem to stay suspended in the oil. At this point I just filter out the chunks of ice and end up with de-watered (and de-iced) burnable oil.

    Mike
  12. Hbbyloggr

    Hbbyloggr New Member

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    NH
    Sounds to me like the fuel mixture you are using is '"Waxing " up in the cold weather. The paraffins in the fuel turn to wax and plug up the filters and jet. Solution: 1. Keep the fuel warm. 2. Add " 911" fuel treatment to the supply to keep the parrafins in liquid state. 3. Cut the mixture with 20% kerosene. Any one of these will keep the fuel flowing.

    Hbbyloggr
  13. mtaccone

    mtaccone New Member

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    schenectady, NY
    wvo has glycerin that waxes up I beleive also leave a lot of reidue after combustion so I have heard from someone who burns it in a waste oil furnace
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