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#142688 - 01/05/05 07:56 AM oil pressure adjustment on beckett afg burner
stevenm Offline
first timer

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 4
Hi,
first post, need some help. I had my boiler serviced a month ago and while the service man was there I noticed an oil stain on the floor right where the line comes out of the concrete which is about 4 foot from the burner and 10 foot from the tank. It was never there before, I have a feeling the guy stepped on the line accidentally but he wouldn't admit it when asked.

I am (was a licensed plumber in california but oil burners are foreign to me so I am smart enough to call a professional licensed contractor.

I live in vermont, temps reach -30 at times and boilers and oil tanks are often located in the house.

I am new to the upper north east(left 27years ago and swore I'd never return ). came back 18 months ago.

My house was built in 1997. the oil feed line is copper 3/8 runs under the concrete and was sleeved through a piece of 3/4 clear plastic for about 10 foot under the foundation.
somewhere the line got pinched and started leaking. the oil repair man said just run it overhead and abandon the line in the ground as I probably couldn't get by the kinked area .
I ran a new line (couldn't even get the old one out)but had to increase the pump pressure to get good oil flow from the tank.
beckett says the pressure should be 140psi with the burner afg I have.
the boiler seems a little louder but looking in the fire box looks to be burning ok( I looked when the serviceman finished and it looked about the same.
is there any general rule of thumb setting oil pump pressure to get a good clean quiet burn?
I can borrow a pressure guage from my local supply house but I don't know what it should read.
it's a smith boiler with a .65 x 80 A nozzle 2 zone pumped system.
If I have to I'll have the guy who did the service come back out but I'd like to save the $75 dollar service call if possible.
the length of my oil line went from 20 to 40 feet going overhead up 7 feet between the ceiling joists.
any help most appreciated.



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#142689 - 01/05/05 08:24 AM Re: oil pressure adjustment on beckett afg burner
HeatPro Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 28022
Loc: South New Jersey
In reply to:

beckett says the pressure should be 140psi with the burner afg I have.


What does the specification and installation manual for the Smith boiler model say? That is your 'rule of thumb'. The rule of thumb is to follow the specification manual exactly. Imagine having specification manuals for Air Force jets, then setting their engines to whatever someone in the hardware store thinks is a good 'rule of thumb.'

The most difficult idea a tinker has to get over is that he can believe there are better ways to run a machine than what the designer made it to run at. That happens because they can't imagine or accept what amount of learning and experimentation it takes to get a machine to run dependably. The Beckett factory takes an entire boiler and tests it on a test rig in Ohio for more than a week to get the right burner setup; that dependable setup is then published in the specifications to get the GAMA ratings. There is no way for the best of techs to take the same combination in the field and test it as thoroughly as the factories.

The best the tech can do is get a good combustion test kit as instructed by the factory in their maintenance booklets and use it on the boiler to get a good burn that proves that all is placed properly. That is why county and federal governments have combustion testing contracts on their heaters to save fuel and improve longevity.

Retention-head oil burners make pretty much the same 'color' flame in a wide renge of CO2 readings and can actually be 2/3 their efficiency setting and still 'look good.' that is why the factory recommends combustion test instruments as the 'normal' maintenance procedure. A #2 smoke is not seeable with the eye, it will clog up the exchangers made so tightly today to get high efficiencies. Almost any oil heater today can be over 85% AFUE efficiency on the GAMA list.

In other words, the best 'rule of thumb' on modern equipment is to not use a 'rule of thumb' at all and get on with REAL maintenance. Eventually, the older generation will pass away with their memories of what non-retention-head burners used to run like. Retention-head burners have been in use for 40 years now, but old wive's tales about setting the flame to a nice white flame with yellow tips still survive, do that today and you will smoke the exchanger in less than a season.
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#142690 - 01/05/05 09:18 AM Re: oil pressure adjustment on beckett afg burner
stevenm Offline
first timer

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 4
the smith boiler specification manual refers to the specs in the beckett manual .the specifications in the beckett manual states the pressure should be 140psi. (that I've read three times cover to cover) it only states that pressure must be adjusted in certain circumstances to allow for conditions such as lower oil temperature and or ambient boiler space temperature. there is nothing about a difference in pumping head pressure unless I'm missing something.

there is a company out of Rhode Island called Superstor that supplies high efficiency hydronic hot water heaters they sell as boilers out west and their company tech " who teaches their class on installation troubleshooting their gas valves actually told students that if you didn't have the proper test equipment to test the negative gas pressure run the pressure screw all the way in and out 1 and 1/2 turns and you'd be fine if all other conditions were met with the amount of fittings used in the intake and exhaust lines. he also said to LISTEN to it fire this is of course a horse of a different color but there was a general guideline for setting natural gas or propane pressure.

nothing personal but I have a problem calling the guy back who probably caused the line to leak in the beginning by stepping on it and not admitting it. he also said it was no problem to just run the 3/8 feed line overhead. could be just coincidence the line started leaking the day he serviced the boiler. we all know how honest service men are.

before touching the pressure adjustment screw I made sure I knew exactly where it was. it took 1/2 of a turn to get good flow.

I have every copy of every service test ever done on this boiler and oil burner.
I'll pull out my bacharach kit and see how the numbers compare with previous service readings.

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#142691 - 01/05/05 09:35 AM Re: oil pressure adjustment on beckett afg burner
HeatPro Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 28022
Loc: South New Jersey
You won't get an adjustment to allow for head pressure because the positive displacement pump inlet pressure tolerance is within a small range and should be less than 5 psig negative and positive so the seal isn't damaged, so won't affect the outlet pressure which is regulated by a pressure reducing valve. The greatest affect will be from a leak in the oil line, so that has to be eliminated.

http://www.suntecpumps.com/PDFs/Installation%20and%20Service%20Manual%20-%20Section%20IV.pdf


Gas is a different animal, but it should still be tested with combustion instruments. Who can transfer 'what it sounds like' from person to person? The Bacharach kit and pressure gauges will tell you if your screw-setting by sight is accurate.
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#142692 - 01/08/05 08:04 AM Re: oil pressure adjustment on beckett afg burner
stevenm Offline
first timer

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 4
thanks for your reply. I sure learned something. I'm going to go replace and go back to the under the slab line once I get by where the kink is. it removes all my problems, I should have done it at first.
live and learn. I just didn't want to break out the hammer drill, oh well.
I wish the oil service guy had told me at first to run a two pipe system overhead. I definitely would have went for removing the obstacle underground.

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#142693 - 01/08/05 09:02 AM Re: oil pressure adjustment on beckett afg burner
HeatPro Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 28022
Loc: South New Jersey
A two-pipe system can make problems in itself as the flow of oil becomes many times more than that just used by the nozzle tip. A single overhead line could be enough.
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#142694 - 01/09/05 09:57 AM Re: oil pressure adjustment on beckett afg burner
stevenm Offline
first timer

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 4
again thanks for your reply. I realise looking at the pump (webster) it takes more work than I want to do the two pipe setup. however I would be interested(DB ratings) in how much quieter the system would be with the oil pump intake air coming from outdoors instead of inside. the numbers look fine to previous readings and so far no problems. I will still have it checked out as a precaution. the boiler is worth a 10 minute $ 70 dollar service fee to hear someone who works on them all the time say it was done right and properly adjusted.
thanks again for your advice, while I can do lots of things and have an AS degree in HVAC however I still know my limits and when to call the pro. if I hadn't been told this was a no brainer and anyone could do it by the guy who originally serviced the boiler last month I would have had him do it while he was here. I had a feeling he didn't want to because it would throw his days schedule off.
my thing is radiant floor heating and baseboards(worked for a guy named Bill Clinton for years in Sonoma Ca.) and in the past have only installed gas or propane boilers, personally I don't know how anyone can get used to the smell of fuel oil.

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#142695 - 01/09/05 10:33 AM Re: oil pressure adjustment on beckett afg burner
HeatPro Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 28022
Loc: South New Jersey
In reply to:

worth a 10 minute $ 70 dollar service fee


A frequent recommended practice is that if a person calls and it only takes 10 minutes, to do a thorough combustion and safety control checkout procedure. It helps the customer feel they have paid the hourly or half-hour's worth and assure that there will be no oil smell if the tech gets the burner back in shape before he leaves.


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