Oil Boiler Not Starting Up Smoothly On Cold Start

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
It took a couple tries yesterday before it stayed on. It's done this before. It fires up but fluffs a few times and then shuts off. Like it doesn't hold a flame, I imagine, and then it shuts down. On the second start it held, however. Could it be negative draft in the chimney pipe? It was stone cold since I was using the other boiler. Or could it be that I screwed something up when I replaced the target refractory and put in a nozzle and adjusted pump, per mfr's spec, for a lower output? I'm pretty sure I got that right. I also agonized somewhat about the electrodes position too, but it seems to ignite, just not hold.

The chimney pipe does get a lot of downdraft, and I also have an auto damper that keeps things cool in the chimney as well.

Maybe I'll try starting it when it's not stone cold and see what happens.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
Well, I might have solved it...had one successful cold start. Don't want to count my chickens though.
These are the things I did:
-replaced ignitor-that wasn't it
-replaced nozzle-that didn't seem to be it either since flame looked the same and the first nozzle was almost new
-replaced and regapped electrodes - I think that might have done it, although I'm not sure where the original gap was, but I think it was big-shoulda taken a 'before' pic

There was a slight hint of oil on top of the filter, and I tightened the nut
Also, not sure if the oil shutoff valve at the tank was totally open before I closed it for the above work-didn't seem like it took as many turns to close it as to open it back up-again, should've taken note of the 'before' state.
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,127
Northern CT
Hope you got it - I've been watching to see how it works out.
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,127
Northern CT
You're on a roll! Fingers crossed here...
 

Brian26

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2013
491
Branford, CT
You have air in the line. I dealt with the same cold start issues you are experiencing. It locked out on me when I was away on vacation and had to have my brother go reset it in the middle of the night so my pipes didn't freeze. I got an alert on my phone from my wifi t-stat that it was 45 degrees inside. Not fun..

My issue was I found a compression fitting on my oil filter coming off the tank that I suspect was letting air into the line. My solution was new fuel filter off the tank, new 3/8 copper line to a tigerloop oil dearator with 10 micron spin on filter. Problem solved.

ax8st4jxeiii.jpg 0grsi4dgrm8x.jpg
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,956
NE Ohio
Lower output...so you put in a smaller nozzle? If so, did you adjust the air shutter?
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
4,875
07462
Clean your CAT EYE
 
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velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
I
You have air in the line. I dealt with the same cold start issues you are experiencing. It locked out on me when I was away on vacation and had to have my brother go reset it in the middle of the night so my pipes didn't freeze. I got an alert on my phone from my wifi t-stat that it was 45 degrees inside. Not fun..

My issue was I found a compression fitting on my oil filter coming off the tank that I suspect was letting air into the line. My solution was new fuel filter off the tank, new 3/8 copper line to a tigerloop oil dearator with 10 micron spin on filter. Problem solved.

View attachment 194933 View attachment 194934
Brian,
Can I pick your brain a little?

I just watched it start up (had been using pellet boiler), and it did the same thing. It ran for a little while and then stumbled, but rode through it.

I do believe there might be a bubble.

When I did my fall maintenance I COULD not get the spin on filter off. I destroyed the thing. I didn't want to risk twisting off the pipe, so I went to HD to pick up a new filter setup. I wound up with a large drop in filter thing..a Fulflo copy by Westwood.

I've noticed that the fiber washer is weeping, very very slowly. I went on to heatinghelp. com, and they seem to think the spin ons are better, but that might be mostly from ease of service.

What kind of filter did you have originally: was it the drop in cartridge or spin on type?

Thanks.
 

cableman

Minister of Fire
Sep 26, 2013
708
long island
I saw your post over there. Maybe get the spin-on tiger loop setup.
I installed a new general and garber spin-on back to back at the tank. Cleaned the heck out of the petcock and line to general, lotta stuff in there over the last 38 years!
Seems to be working good so far.


20170116_112637.jpg
 

Brian26

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2013
491
Branford, CT
I

Brian,
Can I pick your brain a little?

I just watched it start up (had been using pellet boiler), and it did the same thing. It ran for a little while and then stumbled, but rode through it.

I do believe there might be a bubble.

When I did my fall maintenance I COULD not get the spin on filter off. I destroyed the thing. I didn't want to risk twisting off the pipe, so I went to HD to pick up a new filter setup. I wound up with a large drop in filter thing..a Fulflo copy by Westwood.

I've noticed that the fiber washer is weeping, very very slowly. I went on to heatinghelp. com, and they seem to think the spin ons are better, but that might be mostly from ease of service.

What kind of filter did you have originally: was it the drop in cartridge or spin on type?

Thanks.
From what I read the line is under suction/vacuum when the burner is running and air can get into a microscopic leak where it wont leak oil out but will draw in air. I guess when the air gets in and the burner shuts down and the line loses vacuum the air bubble expands greatly. Here's a link from Tigerloop explaining it. http://www.westwoodproducts.com/images/tigerloop_is_reliability_us.pdf

I originally had just one of those old general canister felt filters at the tank with a 3/8 line right to the burner. I installed a new felt canister filter at the tank then ran a 3/8 line with compression fittings to the tigerloop that had the 10 micron spin on filter built into it. I read the 2 filter setup is best as the cheap $2 felt cartridge one gets the big chunks and sludge out and then it goes down the line to the 10 micron spin on.

I spent so much time messing with fittings and the filter on the original setup trying to figure out where the air was getting in. I just did the above install and have been running 100 percent all winter. Total parts was less than $200. The tigerloop claims to also preheat the oil for much smoother starts which I did verify it does with my flir imager. Another thing I love about it is never having to touch the bleeder during service ever again. Its not fun hooking up hoses and bleeding manually. Especially when it makes your whole basement smell like fuel oil.
 

Brian26

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2013
491
Branford, CT
I saw your post over there. Maybe get the spin-on tiger loop setup.
I installed a new general and garber spin-on back to back at the tank. Cleaned the heck out of the petcock and line to general, lotta stuff in there over the last 38 years!
Seems to be working good so far.


View attachment 195656
That's pretty much the same setup I did. Let the cheap felt filter catch the big stuff and sludge and then it goes to the 10 micron filter. According to all the pros that is the best setup. Many say nozzles can last for years as just about nothing can get to the nozzle.
 

cableman

Minister of Fire
Sep 26, 2013
708
long island
Brian26 i saw your post over there too, they said tiger loop for you was over kill!
Their mean over there lol i had a hard time finding someone that wanted to tune my boiler with a combustion analyzer, theres only one Guy on that site thats local to me and he never got back to me, one was saying i must of done something to steer them away!
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
Thanks Brian and cableman.
Yeah, I got one meaningful reply over there, and I tried to be as personable as I could, within my capability. :)
In the past I had no problem on startup, as I can recall, with the Garber spin on but I didn't do the changing.
In the past I have had problems changing oil filters on cars, and found that a fluted filter end cap wrench worked best-I'm gonna look for that on any new spin on that I may or may not get.
I wonder if the spin on filters for heating fuel have a bypass in them like I recall car filters did/do? I wouldn't think that would be good for this application, would it?
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
I just replaced the element in the Westwood F80 filter, which I guess is similar to an F4, along with new fiber washers. It started real smooth no hiccup at all. Thing is, I'm still getting a tiny bit of weepage at the large fiber washer. I have no idea how hard to crank on it. I wonder if this might be the source of any possible air entrainment?
 

Brian26

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2013
491
Branford, CT
I just replaced the element in the Westwood F80 filter, which I guess is similar to an F4, along with new fiber washers. It started real smooth no hiccup at all. Thing is, I'm still getting a tiny bit of weepage at the large fiber washer. I have no idea how hard to crank on it. I wonder if this might be the source of any possible air entrainment?
Probably is. Are you referring to the air bleed screw on the top of the Westwood filter?

My advice is to just drop the money on the Tigerloop with spin on filter and be done with it. I would also redo the fuel lines as well.

Would you trust it now to run if you were away on vacation? I travel a lot and having a reliable oil burner to keep the pipes from freezing was extremely important to me. Mine has run hundreds of hours since I did the work with zero issues.

Also, you might want to look into purchasing your own combustion analyzer. UEI has one for $300 that has a 5 year sensor warranty that I have been using. Going rate for a service around here is 220$ so the payback is quick and you now the job was done right.
 

cableman

Minister of Fire
Sep 26, 2013
708
long island
Hey velvet, couple weeks ago i noticed that top felt washer was weeping on my general also, i just cranked on it some more and it stopped. Looking at the design i believe you can go pretty tight with out breaking anything.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
I think I might have finally stopped it, but now the gasket area is leaking. Can it actually leak around the gasket? Maybe cranking too much on the bolt doesn't help?

There's a possibility it could be coming from the inlet to the filter, but I don't know. That'll be great if I try to fix that: orient the filter vertically-maybe put some tape on it so it seals when vertical.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
Also, you might want to look into purchasing your own combustion analyzer. UEI has one for $300 that has a 5 year sensor warranty that I have been using. Going rate for a service around here is 220$ so the payback is quick and you now the job was done right.
I already bought the Bacharach old school liquid type last fall, but that's a pretty good deal. I wonder how much a sensor is (I'm assuming for CO2)?