DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   HVAC (
-   -   Oil Burner Acting Up. Help! (

mikelbeck 11-19-2008 12:32 PM

Oil Burner Acting Up. Help!
Over the last few days my oil burner has been acting up.

First, it would run normally, but while it was running the flame would go out. Then it'd come right back on. It only seems to do this when it's hot, when it first starts up it runs fine until the temp gets up around 180 or so. Yesterday I replaced the oil filter (on the line that comes from the oil tank), bled the whole thing and got it fired up again.

Overnight, the burner shut down and this morning it was around 50 degrees in the house. I went down to check the burner, it was off and the temp was low. I hit the reset button and it fired right up, heated the house up. But after it while it shut down and didn't automatically restart even though the temp was lower than the thermostat settings. So today I changed the nozzle and the the filter on the motor.

It's still doing the same thing... once it heats up the flame goes out then comes right back on. And once it's warmed up, it shuts down and then doesn't automatically restart

Any ideas about what else to check?

glennjanie 11-19-2008 01:23 PM

Welcome Mikelbeck:
Check the photocell that detects the flame. Clean the face of the photocell.
There may be a limit switch that keeps it from overheating or a wire shorts out when the heat is high. Check the ceramic around the ignitor prongs for cracks.

mikelbeck 11-19-2008 02:47 PM

Ok, checked that and it's nice and clean.

Before the flame went out, I cracked the bleeder valve on the fuel pump and some fuel came out, but then it stopped when the flame went out. It started up again a second later and the flame re-ignited. I checked the (new) fuel filter, it seems nice and clean and appears to be getting fuel without an issue. So I don't think there's any restriction in the fuel line itself, I think it may be the pump. Especially since it runs fine for a while, then dies after running for a few minutes... it pulls enough to keep going for a little while when it first starts, but may be too weak to pull enough fuel to keep it running. Does that make sense?

Blue Jay 11-19-2008 03:31 PM

I had some what the same thing at a rental house, turned out that the fuel was gelling, put a heat tape on the line outside from the tank to the house and all is fine so if your tank is outside I would look at that first before replacing the pump.
Good Luck

glennjanie 11-19-2008 04:26 PM

Yes, that makes good sense to me. The pump is a very expensive part though, take it to the supplier and ask if they can check it before selling you a new one.
The heat tape sounds like a good idea too.

mikelbeck 11-19-2008 08:27 PM


I changed the fuel pump and also a relief valve that was leaking. Primed and bled the system, it fired right up. Let it run through one cycle, towards the end of the cycle it started doing the same thing was doing before.

I opened up the line before the fuel filter and found that it was dry. I opened the fuel filter and it was only about half full. I opened up the line on the tank side and fuel came pouring out. So... I disconnected both ends of the fuel line, hooked up a line from my air compressor and let it rip. A whole bunch of crap came flying out the other end. Black sludge. So I guess my initial thought that there wasn't any restriction in the fuel line was wrong!

After doing that, I put the lines back together, bled it again and fired it up. It's been running fine ever since. Plus I've got a new fuel pump, all new filters, a new relief valve, etc...

Oh, BTW my fuel tank is in the basement, about 10 feet from the burner. So the heat tape wasn't necessary.

glennjanie 11-20-2008 09:55 AM

Hey Mikelbeck:
I'm glad you got that worked out. Its only going to get colder from here on. Stay warm and comfy this winter.

mikelbeck 11-20-2008 12:23 PM


Originally Posted by glennjanie (Post 25389)
Hey Mikelbeck:
I'm glad you got that worked out. Its only going to get colder from here on. Stay warm and comfy this winter.

Me too. It was 33 degrees outside this morning. ;-)

baldy 01-04-2010 06:56 PM

lets not forget depending on what type of oil pump you have there is a strainer in it if it was a strainer you just spent 100 plus dollars on a pump compared to 5.00 for a strainer

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:45 AM.