I recently replaced the oil filter, oil pump strainer and nozzle on a
relatively new Becket burner in my home. The burner appears to be
functioning normally. I am wondering if it would be worthwhile to have an
oil burner technician perform any final adjustments (i.e., adjust the air
Stating my question another way, if I burn roughly 500 gallons of oil per
winter, would the cost of bringing a technician in be justified in terms of
oil savings, or any other advantage.
thanks in advance.
That question is best answered around 11 pm on a Sunday night during a
February blizzard. If the furnace is working you didn't need the tech. If
you have to call out a tech in those conditions the results and cost will
answer the question
>> Remove "zz" from e-mail address to direct reply. <<
"Robert Rifkin" < email@example.com> wrote in message
This is NOT a scare tactic, since I stand to gain nothing from this..
I replace on average, 10 to 20 oil burning units a season. I have one in the
morning that I am going to start on..it has a hole in the heat exchanger
that is so bad, that I can almost put my fist into it.
The unit was serviced by the homeowner, who, for only a period of 10 years,
refused to allow a professional to adjust the air, and fuel mix to a proper
level, since in his own words, it always worked..
It was NOT working CORRECTLY.
He almost did one, of two things:
Killed himself, and his family.
Burned his home to the ground.
As far as savings go, possibly. I doubt seriously you will save around $250
in oil by having it set correctly. I have saved a FEW that, but only a few.
As far as advantage.....you really need to ask? One, you will be assured
knowing that you have a system that is working to its full potential.
Two, you have the assurance that the heat exchanger is not developing hot
spots that will pop on the coldest day and allow CO and CO2 and soot to
enter your living area.
Three, you have the assurance that the unit is not burning too rich, and
sooting up the flue, and combustion chamber to the point that you are
wasting fuel until the day it simply will not burn any longer.
Three, the electrodes will be set PROPERLY with the proper tool, and thus,
burn cleaner, longer and more efficently.
Four: Your local tech will, or should have, the combustion tester that will
allow his to insure all is working right in the unit, and will maintain
proper heat settings for the rest of the season.
I can go on...but suffice to say, oil, and gas units are not like they used
to be. They all need particualrs, however, the adjustments are more
critical, and unless you have an extra $4500 to toss into the proper setup
tools, in some cases, then yes, its worth it to hire a professional that is
NOT working for the oil company to set it up.
Remember, not all nozzles are .75GPM, and not all nozzles are the same,
regardless of what is printed on them. Cone patterns, burner head positions,
etc, all change, and if you use the right SIZE, but the WRONG cone, you have
created a problem.
No one, not you, not me, not your neighbor, can set up oil by sight. It
takes tools, and the proper knowledge of those tools to properly do the job.
From a licenced, and insured professional that CAN set up oil....get someone
local to you to do it....and remember..if he comes out and does not smell
like oil, look like oil, then he does not KNOW oil. Be prepared to pay in
excess of $100 for it to be done correctly.
Yes...its worth it...
Well, since you're a DIY guy, you probably won't call a techie till it
But, the techie should also do a good cleaning of the burner head, and
inspect the heat exchanger. and should also check the oil PSI and set the
electrodes. And a techie with a good set of equipment will bring a
combustion analyzer to check the air in the flue.
What's it going to cost you if the burner cruds up in the deep winter, and
you have to call someone at 2 AM cause you're freezing?
If you recently paid a tech to setup your new burner then it probably only
needed the parts you changed. It shouldn't be out of adjustment unless it
wasn't setup right the first time. Also, the boiler will tell you if it's
tuned properly. If there is an excess amount of soot, inside the boiler,
then you will need a pro to tune it up. If the inside of your boiler is
relatively clean then you probably don't need a tuneup. I've had two
different techs come out on different occasions and they both setup my
system by eye. My old burner was 28 years old and was an old low pressure
Beckett head. One guy did a smoke test but I had to beg. They were both
trying to get in and out and to the next appointment. I finally got tired
of trying to get my old buner to run right and had a Reillo installed. And
yes this guy used his eye to set it up too. So I don't know if my burner
is really setup right. I'll wait a few months and look inside the boiler to
see what kind of soot build-up I have.
The tech also put in a smaller nozzle then was suggested by my boiler
company. He used a 1gph solid nozzle and Utica suggests 1.30gph. We
haven't had any frigid weather so I don't know if I would benefit from the
larger nozzle. The new head seems to get the house heated a bit faster then
the older unit.
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