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Old 12-20-2011, 12:27 PM  
funnygal
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Default Oil Furnace Issues - Suggestions

We have been having issues with our forced air oil furnace. I am waiting to hear from the repair company as I type this, whether they will make it today or tomorrow.

In October, we had the yearly maintenance done with full cleaning, replaced the nozzle, adjusted electrodes and changed all filters. About 2 weeks later, the furnace died early morning. We had a service call, which we disocvered it was not the furnace but rather the tank out-take area was plugged with slugde, not letting the fuel get to the furnace. He ran a new line out the top of the fuel oil tank, as we didn't want to replace the tank (we are moving in the spring).

The furnace has been working great, sounds better than it has since we've lived here. Every once in a while, though, I thought I would catch a whiff of burned fuel oil, but it was so fleeting I couldn't tell. Yesterday, it became more apparent. It was coming from the vents. It only emits the smell after the burner kicks off while the blower is still running. The repair company said something may not be set correctly or it may be a cracked heating exchanger and advised I stop using the furnace until they check it, which I have done.

If it is the heat exchanger, we do not want to replace the furnace. We are moving from here in the spring, as our house will be done. We currently live in an old mobile home that we don't plan on selling...we plan to have it "torn down" as it is worth nothing. It would need moved from its current location, and it probably wouldn't be able withstand that.

I'm at a loss as to what I should do. We obviously need heat but will not use a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger. We live in Pennsylvania and the winters can get quite cold. Our mobile home is 14 x 70, 2 bedrooms (each at the opposite ends of the trailer), 2 hallways (leading from the bedrooms), 1 bathroom that opens into main bedroom and hallway; the kitchen, living room and living room extension (had been a third bedroom but wall was taken down) all connect together in a fairly open space.

Does anyone have any suggestions how we could heat our home for this one winter? Or should we "throw away" money on a new furnace?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!



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Old 12-20-2011, 01:41 PM  
oldognewtrick
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First off to House Repair Talk!

Now, what are your plans for the mobile home when you move? Sell?



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Old 12-20-2011, 01:59 PM  
funnygal
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Hi there!

No, not planning to sell it. We are going to literally tear it down after we move out. We were trying to give it away to a guy who runs a mobile home park, and he didn't even want it! That should tell you how little this place is worth LOL.

We just need to make it through this winter and be done with it!

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Old 12-20-2011, 02:28 PM  
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Originally Posted by funnygal View Post
Hi there!

No, not planning to sell it. We are going to literally tear it down after we move out. We were trying to give it away to a guy who runs a mobile home park, and he didn't even want it! That should tell you how little this place is worth LOL.

We just need to make it through this winter and be done with it!
Might ask him if he would have oe know of a used furnace that could be put in if needed.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:13 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funnygal View Post
Hi there!

No, not planning to sell it. We are going to literally tear it down after we move out. We were trying to give it away to a guy who runs a mobile home park, and he didn't even want it! That should tell you how little this place is worth LOL.

We just need to make it through this winter and be done with it!
Have you called a couple of heating co. to see what a new heat exchange would
cost, if they are available? Have you had it check out with a co2 tester?
Paul
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:10 PM  
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Might ask him if he would have oe know of a used furnace that could be put in if needed.
Thank you for the suggestion. Never crossed my mind to hunt for a used one. We've done that this afternoon, and he knows of none but is going to check around for us.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:32 PM  
funnygal
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Have you called a couple of heating co. to see what a new heat exchange would
cost, if they are available? Have you had it check out with a co2 tester?
Paul
We have called several different places, and they have all said to replace the entire furnace as the heat exchanger would cost almost as much as a new furnace.

The repair company tested for carbon monoxide, and it was normal, even with the smell. We have a tester positioned low on the wall by a vent, and it is normal (although I don't how reliable it is). I even went as far as to ask our wonderful fire department to test for it, and the levels were well within the safe range according to them.

The repair company came today, but it wasn't their top oil furnace repairman, as he is out of town until tomorrow. The man that came today did a diagnostic check and inspected the heat exchanger but didn't notice anything. All the settings seemed correct, although he wasn't sure which type of nozzle would be the best for my furance (like I said, he's not the normal oil furnace repairman). We were able to pinpoint the smell even further than I had. It only emits the burning oil smell the last 5 to 20 seconds that the blower is on. The more experienced oil furnace repair man is coming tomorrow to do another thorough inspection of everything and see if the younger gentleman missed anything. I didn't have to pay for today's visit, so that is a plus! The repair company even brought some space heaters for us to use tonight.

Even though the CO testing came back okay, we are not using the furnace, as I don't want to take the risk.
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Old 12-21-2011, 04:36 PM  
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Default Oil Furnace Issues - Suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by funnygal View Post
We have called several different places, and they have all said to replace the entire furnace as the heat exchanger would cost almost as much as a new furnace.

The repair company tested for carbon monoxide, and it was normal, even with the smell. We have a tester positioned low on the wall by a vent, and it is normal (although I don't how reliable it is). I even went as far as to ask our wonderful fire department to test for it, and the levels were well within the safe range according to them.

The repair company came today, but it wasn't their top oil furnace repairman, as he is out of town until tomorrow. The man that came today did a diagnostic check and inspected the heat exchanger but didn't notice anything. All the settings seemed correct, although he wasn't sure which type of nozzle would be the best for my furance (like I said, he's not the normal oil furnace repairman). We were able to pinpoint the smell even further than I had. It only emits the burning oil smell the last 5 to 20 seconds that the blower is on. The more experienced oil furnace repair man is coming tomorrow to do another thorough inspection of everything and see if the younger gentleman missed anything. I didn't have to pay for today's visit, so that is a plus! The repair company even brought some space heaters for us to use tonight.

Even though the CO testing came back okay, we are not using the furnace, as I don't want to take the risk.
I serviced mobile home and oil furnaces for many years. When i walk into a mobile home, i can tell right away if they heat with oil, you can smell it.
A mobile home furnace has a very small fire chamber, so when it first fires it build up too much pressure until it gets a up draft started. this only takes a couple of seconds. This pressure buildup can come out around the inspection
door or out the burner air intake, and since your return air is right there, it picks it up.
When they use that furnace on gas they use a step oping gas valve so that lets the updraft get started before it come up to full fire.
They never did figure out how to do this with oil.
The only way that might work, is to put a delay electric valve on the oil line between the pump and the burner.
If they did check the heat ex changer good, then it should be ok to use it.
Check the gasket on the inspection door to make sure its is in good shape and fitting tight over the opening. Paul
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:21 AM  
funnygal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul52446m View Post
I serviced mobile home and oil furnaces for many years. When i walk into a mobile home, i can tell right away if they heat with oil, you can smell it.
A mobile home furnace has a very small fire chamber, so when it first fires it build up too much pressure until it gets a up draft started. this only takes a couple of seconds. This pressure buildup can come out around the inspection
door or out the burner air intake, and since your return air is right there, it picks it up.
When they use that furnace on gas they use a step oping gas valve so that lets the updraft get started before it come up to full fire.
They never did figure out how to do this with oil.
The only way that might work, is to put a delay electric valve on the oil line between the pump and the burner.
If they did check the heat ex changer good, then it should be ok to use it.
Check the gasket on the inspection door to make sure its is in good shape and fitting tight over the opening. Paul
Thank you so much for your input! We have started using the furnace again. The more experienced oil furnace repairman came yesterday, and he made a few slight adjustments and replaced a gasket (I believe the one you refer to above). Things are now back to normal with no "extra" oil smell. (I agree with you, I can walk into someone's home and know immediately if they use oil to heat - there is a distinctive smell to it, even with things functioning correctly).

Happy Holidays...thanks again!


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