First the question. I have an oil burner in the attic. Its relatively
new, couple months old. It recently started to lose prime. It has about
a 20 ft vertical lift and a horizontal draw of about 50 ft. The 5th
HVAC person to work on the system (hence the saga) says they can fix it
by replacing the 3/8" single line with two 1/2" lines and a two stage
(B) pump. Is this reasonable?
To start, I learned as much as I could about HVAC from the net, books,
this news group and the HVAC news group. I thought I was prepared to
fined a good HVAC contractor to install what I wanted. The only
requirements were, metal runs, oil as one of the sources, and two
zones. This was a new installation in a new house.
I secured three estimates and only one payed any attention to my
requirements, and this person came highly recomended from my neighbor,
a commercial HVAC person. (This had been his primary work but had
transitioned to other work at this time.) He proposed 2 heat pumps to
work at 40+ degrees with oil kicking in below 40 degrees. Sounded
reasonable. Also suggested a oil hot water tank which I agreed to. He
started before Thanksgiving last year and by Feb 2005 was not half done
and none of the burners working, with temps in the single digits. He
would show up once in 3 weeks. I was about to start drywall and I had
a huge amount of 3/4 pine paneling delivered that required a stable
heated environement. He told me to find someone else.
Now I was in a bind. So I tied again to find a HVAC contractor. Most
would not return my calls or were booked months in advance. I finally
found some who said they could get one of the burners up and running in
3 days. 5 days later I almost fired him for not having it running like
he had promised. 6th day he finally had one running. To shorten the
story, he got everything up and running by warm weather. We're not
confident of his work and would not use him again.
Summer we moved in to the new house and the air worked fine. Cold
weather showed the flaws in the new system. The hot water line was teed
off the main oil burner in the basement. It started to loose prime.
After the first time the tech that came out to trouble shoot it showed
me how to prime it which I had to do several times. Also the heat pumps
would run 5-10 minutes and then the oil would kick in no matter what
the outside temps were.
So I was talking to a friend and they thought highly of their HVAC
contractors. ( I did call the orginal guy 3 times with no response). So
I called them and they came out and after a day and half they ripped
out the fossil fuel kits the previous person put in and run a new line
to the hot water. The bill was a shock. They explained this was because
we were not their customers and the call was considered an emergency!!
was not happy. I guess I should have known. The next day the burner in
the attic lossed prime. We called them out again and they primed it.
They said it would need a two stage pump.
It continued to loose prime and I primed it myself. But Christmas eve
it failed again. Monday I called Agway and they came out twice and told
me there was no solution. Oil would not work and they would not install
propane because we did not get our oil and propane from them. (I had
tried to get a hold of the folks who did supply us but they were not in
on that Monday.)
Wednesday I was able to get the folks who supply us and they said it
should work with the two line method. So thats where we are now.