oil furnace will not start

crackers8199July 25, 2010

i guess i'm out of oil because my furnace will not start...so i went and got some kerosene to put into the tank (as i've done previously when i ran out of oil...or thought i did) but i can't even get the pump to kick on. i had the same problem last week, and while i initially couldn't get the pump to come on it eventually did and then i was able to bleed the line and get the furnace running...

right now it's as if there's no power going to it. even turned the thermostat all the way up...can hear it click on, and there is noise coming from the stoker...but the pump won't turn on. opening the bleeder doesn't really release any air, or oil. pretty much does nothing.

any thoughts? obviously i need to call and schedule an oil delivery, but i can't figure out why i can't get the pump running to bleed the line so i can have hot water until i get the oil truck out here...

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should point out, i have an oil hot water baseboard heating system. obviously with it being 100 degrees outside the thermostats are currently turned off, but i still need the system running for hot water. tank gauge says i still have oil left, but i guess it's either A) wrong, or B) below the exit level...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 5:52PM
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The primary control is probably kicked out and needs to be reset. You can do this ONE time before you get a qualified person out there. It's unlikely you can prime the line in 15 or 45 seconds, unless everything is cleaned up and you gravity feed the oil to the pump bleeder and wait for the air bubbles to stop.

If you ran your tank empty, your tank filter is probably sludged up and needs replacement. Your oil line could also contain sludge as well as the filter in your oil pump.

Running the tank empty is probably the worst thing you can do to your system.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 6:03AM
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it's not as if i was trying to run it empty, the gauge says i have oil. back in november we had a power failure and blew the fuse on the stoker...replaced it, bled the line and restarted the system. a few days later, had my oil tanks filled for the winter.

got 340.8 gallons delivered, for a 500 gallon (two 250s) tank. i.e i still had a little under 160 gallons left...and the gauge was at the same spot it is now (before the delivery). so, when i go down once a week to check the oil gauge (it's summer, i don't use the hot water for anything but dishes and a shower once a day) i figured i was in the same spot now...but threw some kerosene in just in case. either way, i guess now i'm out since it stopped again.

anyway, oil guy is coming on wednesday to deliver oil and restart the system...and getting a system tune up and tank/line cleaning on the 10th. live and learn, i guess...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:14AM
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It's funny that you call your unit a stoker. A stoker is a coal burner, something I am extremely familiar with.

Maybe you should "stick" your tank and see exactly where the level is right now.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 4:20PM
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You know, an oil boiler should have a qualified service person look it over annually. That is what a lot of people that deliver fuel oil do in the summer. I strongly suggest that you just get a service call and kill two birds with one stone.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 6:15PM
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LOL, i call it a stoker because i grew up in a house with coal heat actually...just never switched what i called it.

and i actually had the yearly service scheduled before this latest episode of running out of oil even though i didn't think i was out of oil. august 10th was the earliest they could get me in...i was planning on getting the tank filled after the tune-up and tank cleaning was done. the last week has necessitated me moving up that timetable...so i'm just getting 150 gallons delivered wednesday, and i'll get the tanks filled in late september / early october for the winter.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:17PM
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at least i know now that i need to get oil when i get down to 1/4 tank, rather than waiting til i get below it. given that this is my first house and i just moved in back in october (have only gone thru one winter), i had nothing to go on really.

at the very least, i'm happy that a full tank of oil got me thru the winter (a very, VERY cold and harsh one for us here in PA) and then some...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:14PM
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Could have been you grew up with an efm stoker boiler, if you live in PA?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 6:29AM
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quite possibly. i just went on what my mom called it...

i do have an efm boiler in my basement right now, though...at least it has an efm sticker on it :-)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 11:11AM
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good boiler, it must be the oil tank then :-)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:15PM
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tech was just here...ready for this?

cold water inlet pipe was leaking on the electrical control box for the pump. he replaced the box and replaced a fitting in the pipe...fired right up.

he also asked how much oil i had delivered this morning...told him 150. looked at my tanks and the gauge...he said it's likely that i had oil to begin with and the moisture getting into the box and causing electrical problems is the likely culprit.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 11:47AM
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Now that I re-read the post, I see you were talking about a pump in the beginning. I am assuming you mean the oil pump, which is controlled by the primary control, the only electrical component on the burner, except the motor.

Is that what the water was leaking on to? The primary?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 6:43AM
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depends what you mean by "the primary"...the white box that houses the reset button is what the water was dripping onto. once the tech replaced that, it started right up...

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 3:00AM
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That's the primary.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 6:17AM
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here's an interesting follow-up to this (wanted to put it in the same thread even thought it's a different issue because it has all my info in it already): i recently turned off the thermostats for the summer, but the radiators in my kitchen (on a separate zone from the rest of the house) are still getting warm even though the thermostat has been switched off for about a week now. what would cause this?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 1:08AM
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How warm? Heating season warm? You might have some gravity heating taking place due to a leaking flow valve or open zone valve.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 5:50AM
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yeah, heating season warm...hot is a better term, not warm.

i did have a frozen pipe on that segment over the winter that was successfully thawed, but they ended up having to replace the circulating pump for that zone.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:33AM
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Check to see if the circulator is shut off. If it's a TACO 007, you will have to put your ear directly against it to hear it. Or use a wooden dowel if it's really hot.

If the pipes to and from the radiator are hot in the basement, the circulator is stuck on, maybe because of a stuck relay, or it's circulating by gravity, in which case you need a check valve or have a bad existing check valve.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 5:43PM
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