House wife with Odd Furnace Problem


Hi everyone,
Before I get into my problem with the furnace I ask that you keep in mind that I know absolutely nothing about a furnace and it's upkeep. My husband and I just moved in to our first home and with us is our lovely eleven month old and my terminally ill father. Maintaining heat is definitely a must. We know that the furnace in the basement is ten years old, and was serviced in November of 2006. It is well kept , there is nothing on it that 'appears' to need any major repair just to look at it.
I took some information from it that I thought might help those of you who know anything about furnaces, give me advice on what to try or ask my husband if he can fix or watch me while I ty to fix it.
It's a Burnham oil Furnace it's lowest model efficiency is 80, its highest is 88.7 There is a part that has the following information on it, reading....RWB Beckett Model "A" "AF" Series Oil Burner 960227-66410
The Switch is a Honeywell R8184 G 4009 Burner Motor 7.4 Amp Full load 44.4 Amp locked rotor
Ignition 360 VA 150 F Thermostat load 24 vac 0.2 Amp 45 sec.
The Problem:: Oddly enough from around 8 am to around 12 midnight the furnace runs on and off as it should, but after 12 midnight it shuts off and the red light comes on to where it has to constantly be reset. I have not slept in a day and a half to make sure I am up to continuously restart the furnace so everyone is warm. My husband does alot of over time and I dont want to worry him so I do it without him knowing. I called the company that serviced the furnace, but because we are not within their credit bracket , they will not service the furnace. Before we call someone to come in. I would like to trouble shoot and see if it is something I can take care of myself and not burden my husband. I was wondering...this problem has only started to occur once the weather here in Pennsylvania dropped so low. Is it possible that the furnace is reacting to the cold in the basement?
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What??? Not in their credit bracket??? What nerve!
Think of everyone you can talk to: -Neighbors -Lawyer who helped with your house closing -Realtor -Friends
Ask them all "Is there a heating contractor you've been happy with for a number of years?" When you find a good one, make sure they're the only ones you call. Good ones will keep track of previous repairs, so there'll be some continuity from one visit to the next.
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On Wed, 07 Feb 2007 20:44:16 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

over the records to the new one, like you can with a doctor or dentist.
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wrote:

I can't help with your problem but suggest you switch to an oil supplier that does maintenance and offers a warranty. They way it worked when I lived Bucks County PA was they came out once a year to clean and adjust the furnace and warranteed it for one year, price was $175 IIRC in 2002. Well worth it because I never went a year without some type of problem. The warranty covered up to full replacement of the furnace or in-ground tank. Oil-fired units are not typically DIYer repairable and best left to a knowledgeable repairman.
Unless you are out in the middle of nowhere you should have some competition between suppliers. Company I used was Meenan and they were always great.
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Also, get electric heat in at least the two critical bedrooms, for emergencies.
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You may have to reset your furnace because the flame sensor is shutting the furnace down because it senses no flame/heat.
The flame sensor may be a heat sensor called a thermocouple that is put close to the flame and must sense the heat before furnace operation continues. If you have this type of sensor the cold weather could be effecting it if it was marginal to begin with. The sensor looks like a bulb attached to a small copper pipe. It is the size and kind of looks like a wooden match head. Two things you can do to remedy a thermocouple problem.
1. Clean the bulb of any insulating oxidation. 2. Position it slightly closer to the flame.
The flame sensor may also be a light sensing device that must see a visible flame in order to continue operation. It will have a lens or see through glass window that faces the flame. If this is your type of flame sensor then just clean the glass or whatever it is that faces the flame.
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Mrs.JComer wrote:

(Good job listing the details of the furnace innards:-)
My guess is that outside air temp is in fact influencing burner ignition or fuel delivery on start-up.
Probably not a very serious problem for a tech familiar with it, but way beyond what a homeowner can be expected to do.
If you don't connect with a good repair outfit right away, the problem might just resolve itself when weather turns a teeny bit warmer.
Jim
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Heh. In some places, that could mean April.
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You may be correct here.
Where is the oil tank? Inside or out?
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wrote: ...

Hmmm...what do you have to do to reset it, and does how long does it run when you do so?
I'm struck by the time portion of the symptoms -- the coldest hours typically are from just before to just after dawn, and the time lag in the basement where the furnace is would delay that even further, so while there may be some relationship to the colder weather, doesn't seem directly correlated w/ the 12-midnight to 8AM time frame. Is this a digital thermostat by any chance, and is there perhaps some time setback function set that could have accidentally got activated?
I also like the question of the location of the oil tank -- perhaps there's some ice forming in a low spot in the feed line or a low flow from sludge? Perhaps the sun shines on it and clears it after about 8AM? But, would then seem it wouldn't run at all...
The time-related portion of it (unless it's just pure coincidence) seems puzzling...
W/ an invalid in residence, perhaps there is some state (actually, PN is the other Commonwealth, right?) regulation that requires a service company to provide prompt service...wouldn't hurt to check w/ the Health and Human Services or Utility Corporation Commission or whoever/ whatever they call it/them there....
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I am catching this post late. Did you say your oil tank is outside. If it is, as cold as it has been in PA, the oil could be jelling a little at night. What part of PA are you in? The oil company you are dealing with sounds like it's sole business is selling oil. You couldn't get their service plan so they won't service you. You might be better off calling a company that doesn't sell oil but does service it. Everyone accepts COD without a credit check.
The oil is probably only jelling in the supply line which is 3/8 or 1/2". You could probably solve it with some heat tape.
--
Bob Pietrangelo
snipped-for-privacy@comfort-solution.biz
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On 7 Feb 2007 12:34:46 -0800, "Mrs.JComer"

Sound like you have one of those (flakey) programmable electronic thermostat controllers. May I suggest that you replace that with a simple ON-OFF thermostat controller. You and your father are at home most of the day anyway and you don't need to program fuel saving hours. The simple controller will maintain a set temperature. If this doesn't solve the problem you are not out by much in money or in work done to change the thermostat.
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Get your dad an electric blanket today! Those things are great and use very little electricity too. Once you have gotten that you can stop resetting the furnace all night and get a good nights sleep and take care of your furnace problem at your leisure.
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