Subscribe or Renew Membership Subscribe Renew

Oil Burner delayed firing

Hubedube's picture

 Oil Burner furnace (Beckett afg burner) has a delay of sometimes 2 or 3 seconds before igniting. the odd time it will go into "lock-out" and has to be re-set. Its only 5 years old and has been serviced and tuned, etc, faithfully every year.

Lately ,this firing delay has started and is quite aggravating (unburned oil smell, fumes, etc.

Could this be the ignition transformer that breaks down and does not deliver the 10,ooo volts its supposed to at times.? I have heard of a "electronic Ignitor" that can be added to in place of the standard ignition transformer, thereby delivering 14,000 volts and thus giving a more reliable and "smoother light-up"

 Any one have any input on this aggravating problem ?  

(post #62699, reply #1 of 7)

That sort of delay sounds normal.

In terms of reset;

Is it possible you have air in the line?  Water in the line? Clogged filter?

(post #62699, reply #2 of 7)

 Like i said, its been well maintained every start of the season, new filter, new nozzle, tank conditioner, etc, etc. A delay in a start is not normal. As soon as the burner motor comes on there should be oil coming in, and a instantaneous, smooth start should occur.  (no delay)

This late or delayed firing sometimes will occur from 2 -3 seconds after the burner kicks in,  and sometimes (although no very often) it will take 15 seconds and that is when the "lockout" kicks in.

Edited 9/20/2004 3:53 pm ET by Hube

(post #62699, reply #3 of 7)

The symptoms you describe sound to me like it may be time for a new set of electrodes or a new nozzle.

Even if the nozzle is new, it doesn't mean it can't have a problem causing it to throw a pattern slightly outside the "firing zone". That would cause delayed firing.

If the electrodes are worn down, they can't truly be set to specs. Frequently, depending upon how much they're worn down, you can get them positioned close to right....close enough to work for a while longer. But if they're worn just a tad too far, you can end up with a delayed ignition.

Also.......if the original electrodes were replaced with generics and not a set specifically for your burner, they will frequently wear down and need replacing again in a year or two. Maybe your furnace guy had one crack on him and he tossed in a set of generics. If the set isn't just right, the tips get consumed altering the gap. And once enough is consumed, they can't be set within specs again.

Another possibility is the flame retention ring on that Beckett. Sometimes those come loose and fall down in front of the nozzle. You can imagine what that would do to the pattern and ignition.

Another possibility is too rich of a mixture. This can be caused by a bit of lint/dust bunny blocking the air ports on the pump assembly. Pretty common occurance really.

Edit: If I was a betttin' man, I'd suspect problems with the electrodes and their setting first. But looking for dust bunnies is even easier.

Knowledge is power, but only if applied in a timely fashion.

Edited 9/21/2004 9:49 pm ET by GOLDHILLER

Knowledge is power, but only if applied in a timely fashion.

(post #62699, reply #4 of 7)

I had a similar problem with mine once, it turned out the electrode had cracked and was shorting to ground.

Ya gotta love when they backfire and belch out a hunk of raw diesel.

(post #62699, reply #5 of 7)

Delayed ignition is designed into the system; however, 2-3 seconds yes, 15 seconds signifies a problem.

By powering the boiler, but delaying ignition, the firebox's draft increases. This "softens" ignition (read: quieter/smoother).

Why 15 seconds? That is the root of your problem. All previous suggestions were great.


(post #62699, reply #6 of 7)

Thanks for your reply

 Like i said, sometimes the delay is long enough to put it into "lockout". That has to be approx 30 second without fire.

However, all components are set properly ( nozzle, electrodes,etc)

 Can a transformer spark sometimes be weak? We have tested the juice from it and its approx reading 4600 V each terminal. Input is 118 V 

(post #62699, reply #7 of 7)

Would suggest repalcing transformer with a known good one.

If that doesn't resolve your problem, you may have a cracked insulator under the hold-down bracket where it's difficult or impossible to see. This can cause transformer current bleed-off leaving you with reduced spark at the electrode tips.

How's the over-fire draft? Does the problem occur mostly when it's windy outside? If the over-fire draft is too high, it can pull the fuel away from the ignition zone.

Knowledge is power, but only if applied in a timely fashion.

Knowledge is power, but only if applied in a timely fashion.