adjusting oil burner electrodes

How should the electrodes for an oil burner furnace be adjusted?
I looked at mine today, and they were a trifle, 1 mm. or less, behind the face of the nozzle. I have notes somewhere but I thought they were supposed to be about 2 or 3 mm. ahead of the nozzle face (and above it) to insure good ignition.
It's running now, seems fine, after I swished the nozzle around in soap and warm water, and wiped off the electrodes, but I'm afraid the electrodes are in the wrong place and will cause trouble later in the season, because this nozzle was new last January or February and yet evertying was already so dirty with what seemed like lumpy oil. And it wouldn't start.
I disconnected the oil, and pulled out the thing with the nozzle and the electrodes. They were covered with oil, lumpy oil it seemed. Before I ever had a contract, I tried wiping the nozzle off but I think I either missed the opening, and left lumpy? oil clogging the opening; or I rubbed over the opening and forced lumpy? oil back into it, and ruined it. Could that be? Why does the oil look lumpy?
This time I dipped it in a soap and warm water, and swished it around and the nozzle looked pretty clean afterwards. I wiped off the metal and ceramic parts of the electrodes, put everything back in, and connected the oil line, and it started right up.
I don't have a maintenance contract for my oil furnace at the moment, and my oil furnace wouldn't start when I tried this month. I have a third of a tank of oil.
It may be that it didn't run at the end of the season last spring but I didn't notice it, because it was warm enough for me.
Thanks,
Meirman
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Electrode settings are based on the nozzle spray angle, ex. 45deg=1/4" in front to 90deg=directly above. Btw the electrodes themselves should be 1/8"-3/16" apart and 1/2"-5/8" above the center of the nozzle. I noticed you mentioned cleaning your nozzle, do yourself a favor and replace it and keep a few spares around.

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In alt.home.repair on Sat, 18 Oct 2003 02:26:29 GMT "Joe"

I'll have to check. It's marked somewhere iirc. BTW, does 90deg, for example, means 45deg on either side of the midline?

I'm sort of embarrassed to try to buy them. The only place I know that sells them are oil companies, and I think I should, or least they want me to, hire their service men instead of doing it myself. They won't mind?

Meirman
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In alt.home.repair on Sat, 18 Oct 2003 02:26:29 GMT "Joe"

BTW, thanks to you and houseslave.
(I suppose houseslave already has a master?)
Meirman
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If this is an older burner you may want to do yourself a favor and replace it with a newer Reillo. The Reillos burn very clean and will solve your soot problem and save you money on oil. If you have a newer unit then your air/fuel mixture needs to be re-set. You'll need to call in a tech with the proper equipment. A burner that runs dirty will eventually kick out on you on the coldest day of the year and you take a chance of a puff back, frozen pipes, etc.

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In alt.home.repair on Sat, 18 Oct 2003 02:44:56 GMT "houseslave"

The thing is supposedly I had a tech with the proper equipment just last January or February. That's who put the last nozzle in. IIRC, I didn't run the furnace at all in May, and probably not part of April. It didn't run this month either when I first tried it (and I've been stalling for the last two weeks.)
So after professionals set it, it ran for no more than 3 months before it would not run anymore. Maybe he didn't have the proper equipement.
One guy from this company a year or two before that told me he had been delivering heating oil until a month earlier. Of course he could have gone to school in his spare time, and "apprenticed" with an experienced guy in the month between delivering and working on my furnace, but I'm thinking maybe I should look for another company.

Meirman
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With the correct tool, that is made simply for this job, according to the specs for the burner and nozzle pattern being used.

Most Beckets actually are behind the nozzle, and so are many other brands of burner...some are dead in line with the end of the nozzle, and others are in front, but fewer are in front than you expect.

Humm..new nozzle LAST season..but you have a crudded up burner... Ok.. Sounds like: Too little combustion air, combined with a wrong spray pattern on the nozzle, but what do I know on a unit I cant see from here, even though we see this about 300 times in a season..:)

Normally, thats called soot, and if you think it looks bad there, you might have others places it is worse.

You really dont want water on or in those parts..

Get one, with a company that knows what in hell they are doing with oil...combustion tests and all....not some snot nosed kid that thinks he can set up a burner.

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How old is your burner?

of
in
pattern
might
can
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FWIW
The reason for position of electrodes: Burners use different degree of nozzle spray, depending on the heat exchanger usually but other factors also can determine spray angle. Usually they are 80, 60, or 45 degree angle spray. If you had two electrodes and applied the 10,000 volts to them the "arc" would go straight across, but if you add the primary air velocity which exist when you start the burner, the "arc" will be curved in the direction of airflow. You want the electrodes to be positioned so they will not be impinged upon by the oil spray (bad results) but, allow the "arc" to contact the spray. This is why different settings for different nozzle spray angles.
Another consideration in nozzle selection is type of spray, solid, hollow, simi-hollow, and others. One thing that has to happen to insure a smooth start is the "arc" has to ignite the spray before it fills the heat exchanger, that is the oil has to be at the "kindling point" on start up. If the "arc" does not contact the spray or the oil spray at arc contact is either to dense or moving at to rapid a rate to reach "kindling point", you will have a delayed ignition. For example, if you had a starting problem with a hollow spray nozzle, you may could replace it with a simi-hollow nozzle and slow the spray down at "arc" contact (just an example to show principle), or you could decrease the velocity at "arc" point by decreasing the primary air setting (again just to show principle). Having the oil reach "kindling point" on start of flow at "arc" is what produces a smooth start.
John Willamson
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john williamson posted for all of us....

Just goes to show you, let the pro handle it.
--
Tekkie

Politicians & diapers are filled with it & both should be changed regularly.
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Re: adjusting oil burner electrodes Group: alt.home.repair Date: Sun, Oct 19, 2003, 6:42pm From: snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Tekkie) john williamson posted for all of us.... FWIW The reason for position of electrodes: Burners use different degree of nozzle spray, depending on the heat exchanger usually but other factors also can determine spray angle. Usually they are 80, 60, or 45 degree angle spray. If you had two electrodes and applied the 10,000 volts to them the "arc" would go straight across, but if you add the primary air velocity which exist when you start the burner, the "arc" will be curved in the direction of airflow. You want the electrodes to be positioned so they will not be impinged upon by the oil spray (bad results) but, allow the "arc" to contact the spray. This is why different settings for different nozzle spray angles. Another consideration in nozzle selection is type of spray, solid, hollow, simi-hollow, and others. One thing that has to happen to insure a smooth start is the "arc" has to ignite the spray before it fills the heat exchanger, that is the oil has to be at the "kindling point" on start up. If the "arc" does not contact the spray or the oil spray at arc contact is either to dense or moving at to rapid a rate to reach "kindling point", you will have a delayed ignition. For example, if you had a starting problem with a hollow spray nozzle, you may could replace it with a simi-hollow nozzle and slow the spray down at "arc" contact (just an example to show principle), or you could decrease the velocity at "arc" point by decreasing the primary air setting (again just to show principle). Having the oil reach "kindling point" on start of flow at "arc" is what produces a smooth start. John Willamson ++++++++++++++++++
Tekkie wrote
Just goes to show you, let the pro handle it.
--
Tekkie
+++++++++++++++++
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In alt.home.repair on Sun, 19 Oct 2003 04:48:40 -0400 (EDT) snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (john williamson) posted:

This is the total arc, right? So that only 40, 30, or 22 degrees are on each side of the midline? Or is it a totall of 160 etc?
Also, when I lifted the round door, I can't see the nozzle or the electrodes of course, but I thought I would hear the crackle of the arcing. I don't hear it. Could that be because the dirty oily electrodes and insulaters that I had allow the spark to travel down to the base plate? Something like that?

Maybe they are in the right place, and the whole problem has been the combustion and the soot. If that's the case, it's going to stop working again in 2 or 3 months or less.

Everyone is supposed to be using the nozzle recommended for the furnace, which I think is embossed or scratched into the spec plate on the furnace. i'll check now.

Meirman
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Re: adjusting oil burner electrodes Group: alt.home.repair Date: Sun, Oct 19, 2003, 11:11pm From: snipped-for-privacy@invalid.com (meirman) In alt.home.repair on Sun, 19 Oct 2003 04:48:40 -0400 (EDT) snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (john williamson) posted: FWIW The reason for position of electrodes: Burners use different degree of nozzle spray, depending on the heat exchanger usually but other factors also can determine spray angle. Usually they are 80, 60, or 45 degree angle spray. This is the total arc, right? So that only 40, 30, or 22 degrees are on each side of the midline? Or is it a totall of 160 etc? Also, when I lifted the round door, I can't see the nozzle or the electrodes of course, but I thought I would hear the crackle of the arcing. I don't hear it. Could that be because the dirty oily electrodes and insulaters that I had allow the spark to travel down to the base plate? Something like that? If you had two electrodes and applied the 10,000 volts to them the "arc" would go straight across, but if you add the primary air velocity which exist when you start the burner, the "arc" will be curved in the direction of airflow. You want the electrodes to be positioned so they will not be impinged upon by the oil spray (bad results) but, allow the "arc" to contact the spray. This is why different settings for different nozzle spray angles. Maybe they are in the right place, and the whole problem has been the combustion and the soot. If that's the case, it's going to stop working again in 2 or 3 months or less. Another consideration in nozzle selection is type of spray, solid, hollow, simi-hollow, and others. One thing that has to happen to insure a smooth start is the "arc" has to ignite the spray before it fills the heat exchanger, that is the oil has to be at the "kindling point" on start up. If the "arc" does not contact the spray or the oil spray at arc contact is either to dense or moving at to rapid a rate to reach "kindling point", you will have a delayed ignition. For example, if you had a starting problem with a hollow spray nozzle, you may could replace it with a simi-hollow nozzle and slow the spray down at "arc" contact (just an example to show principle), or you could decrease the velocity at "arc" point by decreasing the primary air setting (again just to show principle). Having the oil reach "kindling point" on start of flow at "arc" is what produces a smooth start. Everyone is supposed to be using the nozzle recommended for the furnace, which I think is embossed or scratched into the spec plate on the furnace. i'll check now. John Willamson Meirman If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
++++++++++++++= John wrote
Meirman, I think your best plan would be to continue looking for a good oil tecnician, if I gave you any more information, some here would make both our lives miserable, I have found out again it is just not worth it.
good luck to you John Williamson
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In alt.home.repair on Sun, 19 Oct 2003 03:08:10 GMT "houseslave"
It's old, I guess. 24 years. I just don't have the money now to replace it.
And I think the guys I've had could misadjust a better one too. Maybe?

Meirman
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In alt.home.repair on Sat, 18 Oct 2003 17:27:01 -0400 "CBHvac"

I'm beginning to think he didn't have the correct tools after all. Below where you brought up combustion air.

Most guys have left the air adjustment alone, but I had a lot of soot 2 or 3 winters ago, so much in the galvanized pipe leading to the chimney that my carbon monoxide detector went off, and I awoke with a headache. Either that time, or last winter, or maybe both, someone did adjust the air, but this winter at least, he didn't use any gauge, just looked at the flame. At the time he sounded very convincing, like those who used to adjust a car's engine by listening to the sound.
Years ago, someone took the swinging damper, the one with the adjustable counterweight, and taped the whole thing shut. That didn't seem right. Why did they put it in in the first place? The guy this past winter, took off the tape and said it was right now. I don't think he used any gauge or adjusted the screw-on weight at all. But I figured it was right because it had been right before it was taped.

Dang, I'm sure you're right.

I guess not, but years ago I had tried wiping off a nozzle that was nearly new, and it didn't help at all. I sort of concluded that I had pushed the lumpy stuff, which I now know was soot then too, into the nozzle hole, and clogged it worse than it was. I wiped off everything that got wet, except the center of the nozzle, but I put it right in the furnace then and turned it on. No harm done?

I've been stalling around, avoiding what I would find to be an unpleasant conversation, and planning if I could to make up with the old company. But you've convinced me some/most of the guys who work for them don't know what they are doing. I have a recommendation from someone for another company, a widow who took their word about what was needed, and didn't argue about cost, but she always had heat.

Meirman
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