Robert wrote:Do you still need help ?
Yes and no.
I replaced the nozzle and adjusted the electrodes (by dead reckoning), I tried to keep all the other adjustments identical for the most part. However I am still tempted to see if I can find a professional to tune and inspect the furnace as a precaution.
I never did find a service company in my area that would work on my furnace let alone at a reasonable price.
I even have a neighbor a couple doors down that is a heating and air conditioning service man by profession and he said he wouldn’t work on my furnace and didn’t know of anyone that would work on my furnace. He says he wouldn’t even work on his own oil furnace because he is unfamiliar with this type and he doesn’t normally work on oil furnaces; though the main reason is that he rents his trailer and his electric is included with the rent so he uses electrical space heaters for heat.
Since I’m an owner, that pays his own electricity; it is more cost-effective for me to heat with oil at this time.
I called about 1/3 -½ of the furnace maintenance/repair companies in my area and they all had some reason to exclude me. Either they did not service my location, or they did not work on oil furnaces, or they did not work on trailers/mobile homes. I left many messages and even sent a few e-mails not to get any responses. The people that I talk to on the phone did not know of anyone that worked on oil furnaces in my area in trailers.
So in my frustration I stopped trying to find a serviceman.
I had a couple of offers from handymen that claimed that they would give it a shot; but I declined their offers because I know them and have seen their plumbing and electrical work; from what I’ve seen their work wouldn’t pass code let alone my standards. I can be pretty forgiving when it comes to appearances; but when it comes to safety, function and integrity I’m not very forgiving.
In my frustration of not being able to find a professional service company to work on my old oil furnace on my trailer; I decided to try to do it myself.
I was initially intimidated because I’ve never done this type of work. Though I do have experience on automotive, trucking and aviation injection systems. I’ve heard stories that replacing the nozzles can be extremely dirty and potentially dangerous as far as a fire hazard.
When I initially looked at the exploded view of the furnace and oil burner I was under the impression that the oil pump, furnace blower, and motor entire assembly had to come out to get to the nozzle. This looked like quite a bit of work and look like it could be heavy for a person with a bad back like myself.
It was further complicated by my bad back because it limits my physical and mental abilities. Basically the more pain than I’m in: the stupider I get, the more angry and depressed I get. I don’t have any pain medication thanks to the Bible thumpers and bureaucrats and their witchhunts. So regrettably I’ve had to resort to alcohol to try to attempt this repair; alcohol does to some extent help the pain but it is very limited and has a very narrow window of the effectiveness. In other words it’s a delicate balance between controlling the pain to increase intelligence; but not to use alcohol to the point that intelligence decreases.
On New Year’s Eve I decided to consume alcohol and work on the furnace. I had prepped the area with an old rug and plastic in case oil and carbon became a mess. After consuming a few beers and literally shedding better light on the situation and studying it more closely; I realized that it looked like it was designed so I could remove the nozzle and the electrodes without having to R&R the entire pump, oil burner blower, and motor. Pleasantly to my surprise it was a lot quicker, easier, cleaner and lighter than I was afraid it might be. I thought it might be a nightmare, but it turned out to be a piece of cake.
I didn’t bother to bench check the spray pattern of the old and new nozzle. The old nozzle had so much carbon buildup on it that the spray pattern had to be lousy. The new nozzle met the factory specifications; and I assume the new nozzle was bench checked before shipment.
After I installed the nozzle I tried to start the furnace and it wouldn’t start which sent a scare down my spine. I had been suspicious that there was also an electronic ignition problem as on previous occasions when the furnace failed to start I didn’t hear the spark. But I wasn’t sure if the sound that was missing was spark or the spray pattern. I looked at the wiring schematic and it showed that the ignition unit fired whenever the furnace blower motor was running and also noted that it was 120 VAC. So for a test I removed the ignition coil and jumpered 120 VAC, I used an insulated screwdriver to see how big of a gap that the spark would jump. The spark would only jump equal or less of the distance that I could that I could dead reckon the electrodes were set. So I set the electrodes slightly closer and tried to start the furnace. The furnace promptly started.
I was quite worried about the start up because I was a novice at oil furnaces and have heard many warnings about amateurs working on old furnaces and the related fire hazards. I had taken the precaution of setting out phones so that I could call 911 if a retreat was necessary. I also strategically placed fire extinguishers and readied a garden hose so I could make a safe fighting retreat.
When I first started the furnace after the service (replacing the nozzle and adjusting the spark gap) the fire was unusually loud and ferocious. Before I started working on the furnace; the furnace completely failed to fire ( would not start). So there was several failed starts worth of fuel within the furnace firebox, I knew this and expected that it would be ferocious and possibly dangerous until the excess fuel burned off. I repeatedly stepped outside to make sure there wasn’t fire coming out of the smokestack. The furnace seem to be putting out more heat than usual and I was concerned that it might overheat the heat exchanger or some other component of the furnace so after a couple minutes I shut it down as a precaution and let it cool for about 30 minutes. While it might have been a good idea to shut it down to prevent components of the furnace from overheating it did allow the fuel and carbon to heat soak and become a vaporized/potentially explosive state; so when I started the furnace again there was somewhat of an explosive start. I was afraid it might happen and that it could potentially be a lot worse; it wasn’t that bad but in my concerned/paranoid state it was enough to constrict my sphincter valve (and make me feel like my heart skipped a few beats) to hear a fairly loud thump when the furnace started. After about another minute or two of rather ferocious burning the excess fuel and carbon had burned off.
Now the furnace seems to be running normally. It produces no smoke; the flame seems more stable than it was prior to replacing the nozzle; and moving the electrodes closer together has made the furnace start more reliably. So far it has started 100% of the time. It seems to put out the same; perhaps a little more heat than previous.
Sometimes when it starts (The blower pump motor) there is a slight roar or rattle for up to about 5 seconds. It could be normal; but perhaps in my heightened state of alertness/paranoia may be making me think it’s unusual. It could be normal startup noise; but it makes me concern if there is an out of balance or burner/flame issue/tuning.
So I think if I can find someone in my area to inspect and tune my furnace; that I might do it as a precaution and for peace of mind.
Though for the last 24 hours it seems completely normal. There seems to be in no unusual noises or vibrations from the furnace.
I suspect in the future I will probably have to buy a new ignition coil because of the apparent reduced ability to jump a gap. However I thought I might postpone such an expense, because if the price of oil goes up again as I suspect it will; it might be more cost-effective to heat with other means.