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How often to service oil boiler?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by jslinger, May 14, 2013.

  1. jslinger

    jslinger Member

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    Now that I am burning pellets to heat my house, I only use my oil boiler to heat my water. I was initially instructed to have the fuel company service my boiler every 6 months.
    Do I still need to have it done that often, since it doesn't run nearly as much as it used to?

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  2. Chain

    Chain Feeling the Heat

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    It would depend upon how much the boiler actually burns throughout a year. If, say, you burn a couple hundred gallons or less per year, I'd say maybe every two years at the most. I'd say 500- 600 gallons or more per year and I'd have it cleaned and serviced once per year. Anything over 1,000 and yes, maybe twice per year. It also depends upon what the "service" actually includes. Filters changed? Nipples replaced each service? What, exactly, is included in a service call?
  3. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    I'd say once a year, regardless of usage....
    iceguy4 likes this.
  4. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I use mine for some heat, and all the hot water.....once a year is fine.
  5. PoolGuyinCT

    PoolGuyinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Yup, don't skimp on maintenance. Murphy's law will have you waiting for pellet stove parts and oil burner service at once.
    slvrblkk likes this.
  6. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Once a year... Sitting idle can be just as hard on equipment as heavy use. Our Carlin 701 that we use for maple syrup sometimes gets corrosion on the ignitor from sitting. This causes hard starts and sometimes burner lockout. A once a year tuneup catches these things.
  7. smalltown

    smalltown Minister of Fire

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    I have ours cleaned once a year. We time our cleaning for the spring and get a small discount for cleaning at that time of the year.
  8. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Out of curiosity how much are you guys paying for service? I'm being quoted around 170 including parts from multiple companies around me. Not sure how that price compares.
  9. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

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    I service mine myself twice a year. One big clean where I vac out all tubes, change out porcelains, nozzel, wipe the eye clean and change all filters then a spring cleaning where tank filter is changed, porcelains, nozzel and eye checked and cleaned, no vac. Seems to keep it running good for a 20 year boiler. Just used mostly for hot water.
  10. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the reply. I'm considering doing it myself, but I know little about oil burners. Any tips? Seems to be as straight forward as changing oil on a car, but I'm not sure if I'm bring too naive. Where do you purchase the parts?
  11. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

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    Yep, find someone that is licensed and is a friend that can show you how to do it right. My understanding is you are not supposed to be doing you own as it is not "legal". You inherit the risk if something happens as a result of you messing something up. If unsure, hire a professional. IMO. Having issued the disclaimer, there are some videos out there in internet land that show you some basics.

    I have purchased parts on ebay and at my local plumbing supply.
  12. bdaoust

    bdaoust Member

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    I've always heard service the furnace once a year. I personally would never do it myself. Some insurance policies are funny. If you ever have an issue due to the boiler and can't provide proof that you had it professionally serviced, you might have a claim issue.
  13. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

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    If you aren't comfortable / lack know-how, once a year is a safe bet. Expect around 200$, and I would demand a combustion analysis.

    I check my stack end of season, and mid-season to check if anything is wrong / will need a sweeping.

    My specific boiler is very easy to clean because it was made with cleaning in mind, so I do all that myself. (Takes less then a hour to brush/vacuum, I spend more time prepping/cleaning up)

    I clean and test my own photocell, and I have a new set of electrodes / nozzles photocell on hand.

    Whether you do it yourself or hire someone is up to you, I've been doing my since before I was a boiler operator. The main benefits of having someone tune-up up your boiler in my opinion is they can use a combustion analyzer to fine tune your flame for best efficiency (Not to mention they likely have some experience with burners/boilers =D )
  14. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Annual tune up and inspection should be done regardless of the actual hours of run time. Some parts dry out, get brittle, crack, corrode etc. others gum up, get dusty, rusty and otherwise stuck even if the burner never runs. Bottom line is, when you want it to run, you want it to run and good maintenance is key to that.
  15. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Thumbs up on the analyzer recommendation. Any tech who attempts to "adjust" and oil burner with a combustion analyzer is not worth of the title.
  16. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    once a year.

    my oil company does it free for people on auto-delivery.
  17. moey

    moey Minister of Fire

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    $140 around here Id suggest every year if your using it for hot water. The good thing about paying someone vs doing yourself is they recognize problems that are starting to creep up that you may have been oblivious to.

    On a happy note, the whole oil boiler and tanks are going next week..... Geo after that.. Not many pellets next year for me stove will be there still but would not make much sense to run.
  18. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    The tech that works on mine suggested it was a waste to have it worked on every year, he supports every other year. I usually run a brush through the heat exchanger on alternate years
  19. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    If the OP is using his furnace for DHW it will cycle the burner approximately every 1/2 hr. to maintain water jacket temperature..

    Ray
  20. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    The techs that service my oil fired hot water heater and hot air furnace all say every other year is fine for my <200 gallons each burns per year. Both have been running fine for 25+ years.
  21. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Hunh? There may be issues with insurance if it blows up and burns the house down, but illegal? Time to move to a different state.

    Anyhow, I do my own, but I will throw in that I am an equipment mechanic who fixes commercial ovens. If you are comfortable doing a full tuneup on a lawnmower you should be able to tune up an oil burner.
  22. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    depends on the furnace/heating system/relays, etc......you're thinking of a hot start system, but there are systems out there, like mine, which are cold starts.....my boiler only comes on when the hot water storage gets below the set temp....and since its well-insulated, mine generally doesn't come on more than a few times per day.....hot start systems are better for fast hot water, and hotter hot water.....
  23. bdaoust

    bdaoust Member

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    This is probably off topic - but how do you know if you have a hot start or cold start? My hot water is fast (almost instant) and it is tankless. I hear the boiler come on a few times per day.
  24. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

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    Yep, you have to have a license in MA to do that type of work. Wish I could move. Insurance will always be an issue no matter what state you are in if they find out you do it yourself and the boiler was the cause of the loss.
    raybonz likes this.
  25. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    well, you'll be sitting there on a hot summer day, watching tv and sweating yer butt off, no one running water, taking showers, laundry, etc., and what was that noise you heard? The dang furnace is running?! Why?! What the heck?! THATS how you know.......

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