Oil Furnace problems - need help

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Not sure why I can't get my posts to go through, but this is my third time trying.
I have a Bryant oil furnace - 7 years old. Problems with it since it was installed.
I have a 550 gal. oil tank underground. I have a single copper pipe to the furnace (not sure why installed that way and not double pipe) A filter on the side of the furnace. New nozzle, cad cell eye, and primary control.
I keep losing the prime in the line. I was told to dig up the tank to check for a leak in the line at the tank side. Before I did up the tank and my deck that unfortunately covers the tank, I am wanting to find out if there is a way to pressure test this line to check for a leak?
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I tried to post this before, but it never showed up. If it gets duplicated, I appologize.
I have a 7 year old Bryant oil furnace. I have had problems with this furnace since the first 3 months it was installed. Prior to this one, there was an oil furnace that was 13 years old that blew a hole in the heat exchange and subsequently blew oil and soot all through my house resulting in total restoration.
I have this furnace serviced every year, and within the last 13 months have dumped over $1000 into it in service/repair....not to mention the fuel costs.
The last service date was 2 days ago. After spending almost $500 on it, it still is not working.
I have a 550 gal oil tank that is underground. I have a single copper line that runs from the tank to the furnace (not sure why it wasn't installed with a 2 line system.) I have a filter on the outside of the furnace. A new nozzle, new cad cell eye A new primary control A new 5" elbow (replacing 7 year old one that was corroded through)
When the service man left on Friday, the unit was working and all diagnostics came out passing or better. One hour after he left, I lost the prime in the copper line. I bled the unit until the fuel ran solid, no sputtering or bubbles. This took a little more than half a gallon to do. I hit the reset, the burner lit, the blower started, I heard the burner go out, the blower kept running, I killed the unit before I killed myself or anyone else.
I do know how to bleed the line to get the air out, but at this point I am not sure where to go. I know better than most people who have posted on alt.hvac....I leave the repairs to the pros who know what they are doing.
The service company told me I probobly have a leak at the tank since I can not keep a prime. To check for this leak, I am told I have to dig down to the connection. This would entail digging up my deck and part of the tank. Before I do this, I just need to know.....and no one seems to have an answer for me....is there a way that I can check the copper line with pressure? I would assume that there is a way to pressurize that line to check for an air leak without digging up my yard and demolishing my deck?
Any help or suggestions?
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Is the tank also 7 years old?

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Don't be nasty when you do, but call the company and explain to them exactly what you explained here. It sounds to me like there IS something wrong with the oil line. Maybe a bad flare at the pump? SOMETHING is causing it to suck in air. Was your old furnace on a 2-line system? If it was, is there a second "abandoned" line nearby that you switch to to see if that helps? Did they kink the oil line (where it comes through the wall) when they installed the new furnace?
I'd try to get them to resolve the problem before you try to tear up your deck.
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The tank is about 15 years old. I know it needs cleaned -- getting estimate on that today. There was only one line from the start.
Thank you for the response.
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The tank may need cleaning, but that has little or nothing to do with your problem. The oil line and/or tank can be pressure tested, but both would require digging. The tank probably isn't leaking, or you'd be using a whole lot of oil. It sounds like you have a suction leak in your oil line, allowing the oil to drain back to the tank when the burner is off. Did any of the service techs ever put a pressure gauge on the system to see if the pressure dropped when the heater was off? This is a basic test for this type of problem.
Before you spend any money on getting your tank cleaned and/or your oil line repaired, consider getting a basement tank. If your underground tank ever starts to leak, you'll have real problems.

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I have never seen them test the line that way. I used to only have to buy fuel once every season and a half, but now it is almost twice a season. The tech told me that was because of the way the furnace was running?
I will research the basement tank. Can the oil that is in the current tank be siphoned and drained into a new tank easily?
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If you watched them every time, and they've never put a pressure gauge on the oil line, then the tech either doesn't have the proper training, or is lazy. If you are correct, then you went from about 350 gallons a year to 1100 per year. This is not possible unless you doubled the size of the home, or left the windows open. Each year (depending on the temperatures) the home will need about the same amount of BTUs. Telling you the increased oil usage is caused by your heater is plain and simple BS. IMO, there's a very good chance that your underground tank is leaking. It may be time to start looking for another service company. Call several for a price to install a basement tank and pump the present oil into that tank. Then pick the one you have confidence in.

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OH my goodness. Time to make those calls.
Thank you so very much for your help!
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The best way to find someone is to call friends and neighbors who have oil heat for recommendations. If you end up having to dig up and dispose of your underground tank and contaminated soil, it can be extremely expensive. Check your home owners insurance to see if they'll pay for some of the work.

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Yes, it can. Tank removal and remediation can be very expensive it there is a lot of contamination. This is shy underground tanks are a thing of hte past.
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Just an update.....I had a good conversation with the owner of the service company...he sent someone back out the very next morning and they found the air leak right away. The tech that was here last Friday did not tighten the fittings for the oil filter and that is where it was sucking air. All is running well for now, and I didn't have to dig anything up.
Thanks to all of you for being so helpful!
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Good!
Now you really should have them come out once a year. Check and see what kind of maintenance contracts they have.
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Good advice really...they are here once a year....but as I found out yesterday from the tech that came to rescue was that the guy they sent on Friday they yanked from plumbing, he's not from the heating side. Even so, if he was from plumbing, wouldn't you think he would know how to properly tighten a fitting????
I think it is time I find a new service company and find out what contracts they have.
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What did they say about the amount of oil you're using?

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The tech that was here yesterday didn't say too much about it other than if there is a noticable difference of how often I have to purchase fuel, to check for a leak in the tank to make sure the fuel is not coming out of the tank. They don't test underground thanks, nor does the company that I purchase the fuel from. There is yet a third company that I would have to deal with to have the tank tested.
I really need to weigh out my options on this. After researching the basement tank idea, I read so many things where the underground tanks were leaking and the unsuspecting homeowner got fined and stuck with all kinds of fees. THAT scares me!! I haven't decided if I want to stick with the oil heating or move to a different type of heating.
The closest gas connection is caddy corner from my property. About 8 years ago my ex-husband was quoted approximately $3K to have a gas line run to the house, but that didn't include having any hookups installed. We got that quote shortly before the last furnace blew the hole in it and ruined everything in the house. I was stuck being that it was below zero outside and I had no other source of heat, I had to hurry up and get another oil furnace.
Any thoughts on propane heat? Any thoughts on keeping an outside (above ground) oil tank vs. basement oil tank?
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"Any thoughts on propane heat? Any thoughts on keeping an outside (above ground) oil tank vs. basement oil tank? "
Usually outside above ground tanks are far more problem prone than ones that are underground or in the basement. Outside tanks are exposed to wide temp swings which results in condensation. That in turn can lead to the line freezing in winter, premature nozzle problems, pump failure, etc. I would either go with gas or else a basement tank. Plus a basement tank avoids having an ugly tank sitting outside your house.
How old is the existing underground tank? In most cases, you'll have to deal with it sooner or later, and sooner is better if it's already old and you can catch it before it starts leaking. If you go to sell the property, it's pretty likely a buyer will want it tested to verify it's not leaking. Even if you switch to a new system and no longer use the old tank, most buyers will want a certification that the old tank was not leaking and was properly shut down. How you do that depends on your location. Some places allow them to be pumped out, an opening cut in the top, then have it filled with dirt. Others may require the actual removal. Local companies that do this type of work can tell you the options.
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Which ever way I decide, I will more than likely call someone who knows the laws, rules and regulations in my area for shutting this tank down. The tank is as old as the house (25 years old).
I am asking only because I really have no idea...how much space would a basement tank use? My basement is unfinished right now, but we had plans to finish it next year.
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"I am asking only because I really have no idea...how much space would a basement tank use? My basement is unfinished right now, but we had plans to finish it next year. "
You can find the exact dimensions with a web search. Off the top of my head, a 275 gallon tank, which is the most common, is roughly 6 ft long, 2 1/2 wide, 5 high
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It should be against an outside wall with easy access from the street for the delivery man.

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