Beckett Oil Burner Shuts Off After 10 secs.

I have a GF who lives hours away and has returned home to find only lukewarm tap water, a cold house (hydronic baseboard) and a Beckett oil burner that will run for only a few seconds before it shuts off. She has tried resetting it to no avail. She has detected a small water leak (slight drip) which does not seem signiicant as she describes it over the phone. I realize that many things could be wrong, but is anything most likely? I'd guess something in the safety mechanism is causing this (low water pressure?), or that the burner is not getting oil, but I just don't know. Help much appreciated!!!! Frank
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First off,
QUIT PUSHING THE BUTTON!!. If the pump is working all she is doing is flooding the fire box with oil!
It may be any one of a bunch of things. If it trips off it is because it is probably not firing. No oil in the tank, bad pump, no spark, bad cad cell, bad electrodes, improperly adjusted electrodes, broken pump drive, and probably a dozen more I cannot remember right now! time to call someone! Greg
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"First off,
QUIT PUSHING THE BUTTON!!. If the pump is working all she is doing is flooding the fire box with oil! "
That's about it. The burner control will shut it off in 15 secs or so, if it fails to ignite and burn properly. Otherwise, you'd have a fire box full of oil.
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Greg hit on all of the causes, and yes! STOP HITTING THE RESET!! When someone comes out to fix it, TELL them you hit the reset a bunch of times!! They may have to soak up some of the oil and then burn off the excess.
If the boiler is cold, that can cause some of the gaskets/seals to loosen up thus the water drip.
If she can live with a cold shower tonight (tell her to come by your place for a shower...;-] ), tell her to call someone out tomorrow. Have then go ahead and do a "clean and service" while they are there. That way she'll have it "up to par" for the winter....
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Thanks Greg! She's calling someone ASAP. I will let you know what it was! Frank P.S. No more resetting!
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times is no big deal, but if it was a bunch, oil collectes in the fire box and the damn boiler will just about come off the ground when he fires it. I burn the oil off by lighting it with a burning piece of paper before running the burner. Greg
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The motor starts up when she hits the reset button- she now says as much as 30 seconds- and there is no indication of ignition before it shuts down.
On Sun, 16 Oct 2005 21:46:25 GMT, frank1492

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Thanks to all for your kind advice! Will let you know what happens! Frank P.S. I am about to say a prayer. It will go something like "Thank you Lord for not alerting the sweet folk in the HVAC group to this question. Amen."
On Sun, 16 Oct 2005 21:46:25 GMT, frank1492

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As the other fellows mentioned,t hat's an oilman's nightmare. An oil burner where someone keeps pushing the reset button and the system is cram full of unburned oil.
Good luck, sounds like it need the annual maintenance, anyhow. I've taken two oil burner courses (Riello and Carlin). But I've not had the field experience to really feel comfortable with them.
--

Christopher A. Young
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The problem was a bad transformer, hence no spark. The call cost $140. The firebox was OK (not seriously flooded) but the tech reiterated that the reset button should not be pressed more than once. Water leak was due to boiler going cold, as you stated. The help you all have given was most invaluable. Thank you all again for your time! (Pam thanks you too.) Frank
On Sun, 16 Oct 2005 21:46:25 GMT, frank1492

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Glad she got it serviced right away. She got a good price too! The call would have been over $200 if the company I work for came out! Greg
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Greg- Pam wonders what area of the country you are from and whether that would affect the service rates. She live in northern RI ( rural.) Thanks. Frank
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I live in Fargo, ND. Our after hours rate is 1-1/2 times our regular rate, which would be $70, so 1-1/2 X $70= $105. Plus we charge a minimum trip charge, (fuel charge basically), of $10, plus a $1 a mile over 15 miles. Then we start adding parts on to this. so the minimum would be $115 just to show, with the first hour of labor. I don't recall what an ignition transformer lists for so maybe my $200 was a bit high, but the $140 she was charged would be a bit low for us.
The area you live in effects price greatly. Also if the shop is union or not. One shop in my city charges $125 per hour for service. Bigger cities, metro areas seem to get higher rates. Rural RI may get a better deal than if she was south in the metro area.
On a side note, has she has the boiler serviced thoroughly lately? I mean a GOOD cleaning? Oil boilers can be a pain if ignored. I did a major cleaning, and pretty much a rebuild of a couple years ago. The boiler had been ignored and was sooted terribly! Charged 8 hours labor plus about $200 in parts to get it back online. I had to strip off the housing for the venting and get into the flues of the boiler with a long 1/4" rod, then with a small wire brush to get it all cleaned out. It turned out the owner was so pleased with his fuel use afterwards that he had me do the same on another boiler for a different property he owns. the second one was not as bad, but it did need a good once over!
Oil furnaces and boilers are a pin for the most part. Most techs will not spend the time needed to properly tune them up. They really need to pull the gun and open the fire box on them every couple of years to ensure they are running properly. I told my boss last season to allow four hours for a oil tune up. It may be less, or more! I am a bit prejudiced against oil burners because of the generally poor service they receive. New LPG or natural gas boilers and furnaces are almost matainance free. Greg
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Hi Greg- Thanks for your detailed reply. I personally am a fan of gas also, but there are no gas lines in her area. I live in Worcester MA and use natural gas with a Putnam Boiler (circa 1930) and a Powerpyle. Whereas I know at least 50% of my heat goes up the chimney, I have virtually 0 maintenance except for an occasional cleaning of the burner. It is a one-pipe steam system. Someday soon I will get around to replacing "the beast" with new technology as I realize I will be able to cut my heating bills in half. With gas prices surging up to 70% this winter, the moment may be at hand! What gas boilers do you favor? Thanks. Frank
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She does not have natural gas available, but don't forget about propane!
We sell Buderus, and a couple others. Buderus makes a high efficiency gas that gets up to 98% efficiency depending on use. Expensive, but if you plan on staying in your home it maybe worth it.
http://www.buderus.net/Default.aspx?tabidw&cid &&ctitle=wall%20hung%20heaters
You can also add a indirect water heater for your domestic hot water use. My boss has one on his home and has an unbelievable amount of hot water available. He can wash clothes, take multiple showers and not run out of hot water. with the boiler he has he gets something like 185 gallons per hour recovery.
http://www.buderus.net/Default.aspx?tabid5&cid &ctitle=multi-purpose
Greg
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I'd pick the installer over the boiler. Go with the boiler they recommend. A good place to start is http://www.heatinghelp.com/getlisted.cfm
Whatever you do, don't get rid of the one-pipe steam. Properly tuned, they do not get any better.
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Not bad. That's even a little less than we would charge and we are CHEAP!

I've seen techs write it right on the realy with a Sharpy!

So she didn't have to come to your place to take a shower and/or keep warm???
;-]
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