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sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6

2 edits

Oil Furnace not staying on and appears to be leaking

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It's a chilly rainy and very windy evening here on Long Island, NY and I noticed the temp in my house dropped some so I turned my thermostat up and then noticed I didn't hear my oil burner turn on....

I went down to the basement and hear a slight buzzing noise as if it wanted to turn on and then checked the electrical panel and no fuses were tripped. I then felt the furnace with my hand and it felt cold...I had taken a shower mid afternoon and the hot water was just fine...

So I push the red re-set button on the furnace and it kicked right on..But after going upstairs I could just tell it was not heating like it normally does..So I go back to the basement and then I noticed something leaking under the furnace itself...I immediately thought fuel oil but when I touched and smelled it I didn't get the smell of fuel oil so now thinking water leaking from it?

My hot water heater is next to the furnace but none of the leakage is coming from that..It is coming from the very front and each side of the furnace....The furnace stopped but it did not heat up the house like it normally does but I don't see the leaking spreading..

Any ideas where this leaking is from? Should I turn off the furnace by the emergency on off switch until I can call the burner man tomorrow? Is this a dangerous situation?...If I hit the red re-set button it will more than likely fire right up again to run but I am thinking that might not be a good idea?

I took some pics and would appreciate any and all advice.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6

Re: Oil Furnace not kicking on and seems to be leaking

In the above pictures I took one of the hot water heater to show that the leaking I see on the floor is not coming from the hot water heater but the furnace itself..


SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3
I'm not a boiler guy, so this is just a guess. Do you think the water is from condensation when the burner kicked on? You didn't see it before resetting the boiler, right?

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
Thanks but I don't know if the water was there or not when I hit the re-set button...It was quite dark and only noticed the water after I went back down to the basement after I realized the house was not heating like normal and then turned on more lights.

Since posting, I went back down and hit the re-set button and it fired right up again..Everything seemed fine..pipes starting getting hot but after I came upstairs and left the door to the basement open so I could hear it, I thought I heard like a rattling or even banging noise so I immediately hit the emergency off switch at the top of the basement stairs...

I'll just leave it off till tomorrow when I can call...What I find strange though is when I went back down to re-set it again after posting here, most of the water had dried up...

I don't know what to think but I best leave it off for the evening..It is a little chilly but not cold at all.

Thanks again.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
I just got this crazy thought. Since it has been raining quite hard off and on all day and into tonight and been very windy is it possible that rain got into the chimney on top of the house and some water made its way down into the furnace? I know crazy but I just have to ask as my knowledge of burners/heating systems/hot water heaters is zilch.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6

1 recommendation

Its a little after midnight and just want to give an update before I call it a night...I waited some time after turning the emergency switch off and then I went and turned it back to ON..The burner immediately fired up and was running like normal..pipes were getting hot and heat was coming through like it normally does....

I stood close by listening for any noises and sure enough after about 15-20 minutes of running, it started like sputtering..Like it was shutting or I should say sputtering off but then it would catch its breath and keep running and then sputter again..Kind of like a car running out of gas..

So I shut it down for good by turning the emergency switch once again to OFF..

Once I get whatever wrong with it repaired I will post back what the problem was in the event anyone else ever runs into this same problem.

Tyreman

join:2002-10-08
Canada

1 edit
reply to sailor
could be a water leak and its making steam as the unit tries to get going.
Cast iron boilers can have a sectional leak and its hard to fix.
Although bran(the stuff that makes muffins) works for awhile on some jobs.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6

2 edits
Thanks....I left a message and am waiting a call back from an oil burner repairman...

I have not seen anymore water since what I had when I took the pictures last night..I turned the emergency off switch to on this morning and once again, it fired right up and ran great for approx 4-5 minutes but then started sputtering and making a slight noise so once again I turned the emergency switch to off...But no signs of water leaking any longer...

Fortunately this is happening in May and not in the middle of February...Brrrrr

Tyreman

join:2002-10-08
Canada
reply to sailor

Re: Oil Furnace not staying on and appears to be leaking

There is usually several sections put together and they can leak at those points or just a hole in a section.

used to be boiler solder seal to would get you by or actual bran in a pinch.

you let off pressure and add through the 30lb relief valve opening on some units after you remove the valve of course
having shut off water inlet and removed pressure.

cast iron boilers give great heat but if its leaking well who knows.

I don't know how much insides would be if available or if it would pay to do we usually just replaced it unless a warranty.

if there's water in there and the unit can fire on a heat call for a bit it tries to make steam in the combustion area with not to good a result.


HRM
God Bless America
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-03
Darien, CT
kudos:1
reply to sailor
Water in the fuel will cause a sputtering and the thing to stop, but it wouldn't cause a leak. It looks like you have radiators and not steam, if I am wrong, lots of things in a steam system can shut off and leak.

There could be two issues, water in oil and chimney leak at the same time, but it isn't as likely.. That wouldn't be too bad. You might want to pay for a tune up at the same time the guy is there. Have him clean it also. Perhaps it would save money vs a seperate visit.

The chimney has some blowby I can see by the soot ont he furnace top. A good cleaning and having the chimney resealed seems to be called for.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
reply to sailor
Click for full size
Underneath
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Underneath
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Underneath
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gauge with system shut down all day
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gauge after system ran good for 5 minutes then starting coughing
Thanks for the suggestions..

It is around 11PM Sat evening and I had the system shut down all this time. No return call as of yet from repair guy I left a message for...

I just went down to the basement and a little water coming from underneath again..not bad..I never looked underneath but did and just looks a little wet...I took a couple of pics and also one pic of the gauge with it being off all day and then I turned it on to run until it started coughing again which was about again in 5 minutes and then another pic of the gauge...

Emergency switch is back to off now and will stay that way..


Tursiops_G
Technoid
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-06
Norwalk, CT
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Have the Service Tech check it out...

The 'Sputtering' and shutdown of the Burner may be due to a dirty Nozzle, or a fouled Fuel Filter (Both easily replaced)... When was the last time that you had it Serviced?

The Water Leakage issue may also go away, once the Furnace core comes up to Normal Operating Temperature... A "Cold" Furnace may develop slight water leakage, due to Contraction of it's Cast-Iron core segments... As it warms up, they will expand slightly, and that may be all that it needs to stop the leaking.

-Tursiops_G.
--
If You're Unsure, "RTFM"... If You're SURE, "RTFM" Anyway.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
The previous owner told me she put in the system in 1995 and had it serviced yearly.

I bought the house approx 4-5 years ago and had it serviced each fall the first two years..On the second service, the guy told me it didn't really need to be serviced as it was running good and was very clean inside so for the last 2 years I skipped having it serviced annually. This coming fall would be 3 years so when this repair guy gets back to me and comes out to fix whatever the problem is I have going to have him clean it as well. And go back to yearly getting it serviced...

Thanks for your suggestions and advice.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6

1 edit
reply to Tursiops_G
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Regarding a possible fouled Fuel Filter..Is that filter you referred to in here. Almost 2 AM in the morning and I'm screwing around down in the basement taking more pics.

If yes, do I just unscrew that nut to put in a new filter?

I did get a fuel oil delivery approx 2 weeks ago..My tank in the basement is full...Maybe I will put in a new filter if that is easy enough.


Tursiops_G
Technoid
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-06
Norwalk, CT
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Yes, That's the filter assembly, and the bolt on top will need to be removed in order to access the Filter Element (once the Oil Supply line is Shut Off...)

However, I'd STRONGLY Recommend that you leave that job to the Service Tech, as he will have the tools and experience needed to check and Adjust your Burner for proper Air/Fuel Mixture, and to check and replace any other components (Burner Nozzle, Transformer, etc.), that may be required to ensure that your burner is operating properly.

-Tursiops_G.
--
If You're Unsure, "RTFM"... If You're SURE, "RTFM" Anyway.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
Ok..will do..
Thanks!


HRM
God Bless America
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-03
Darien, CT
kudos:1

3 edits
reply to sailor
I have no problem with you servicing every two or three years. My comment was just that it was time for the next one. I don't do it every year, but also two or three. This year I will do it again. I usually tip the guy 10 bucks when he gets here and ask for the old nozzle (I know the size, and I don't want or need a bigger nozzle installed) You can just watch him and when he takes it out you can ask what size it is.

In the past, some unscrupulous techs would put in a bigger nozzle than needed to cause people to use more oil than needed. Most of the extra heat just goes up the chimney. You don't need a 800F stack temp to heat water in the boiler.

Ask him if the thing can use a smaller nozzle or if he has any recommendation. I prefer to have well established, union men work on the system since they are often factory trained.

Also, a leaky boiler may not be the best news. He might recommend replacing it, but even if he doesn't, it may soon be time. When it was hot, all leaks might turn to steam and go up the chimney, so this may be the first sign of a leak that occured all season.


way2evil
Premium
join:2007-09-14
New York, NY
kudos:1
reply to sailor
where on LI are you? who is your boiler guy? let me know if you need someone, probably one of the best and nicest people on this island

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
said by way2evil:

where on LI are you? who is your boiler guy? let me know if you need someone, probably one of the best and nicest people on this island
I'm way out east and the guy that I left a message for called me today, Sunday. He'll be here tomorrow afternoon and servicing, repairs and installations is all he does and he came very highly recommended so I'm all set but thank you!

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
reply to HRM
Thanks for that info!

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6

1 recommendation

reply to HRM
One other thing I forgot to mention is when I was talking with the guy earlier today, he said the filter should be changed at least yearly even if the boiler doesn't get a full cleaning yearly..Especially when one has an older fuel oil tank in the basement such as I do....

I'll post back tomorrow after its back up and running as to what the problem was.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6

1 edit

3 recommendations

reply to sailor
UPDATE:

Man it feels good to feel heat again as well as hot water..Damn cold here last night especially with the wind blowing like crazy...

Turns out there is sludge in the oil tank itself...Filter was clogged up so he replaced that. Oil Boiler itself was looking decent inside being that it has been a couple of years since being serviced but he gave it a tune up and good cleaning...

Recommended I have my oil delivery people add sludge treatment when they come to fill up my tank...I could also allow tank to get down to near empty and then have the tank itself cleaned out but that will be in the fall as I will need none or maybe just 1 more fuel delivery between now and the fall.

He had one of his sons with him and both he and his son were very pleasant people to talk with and to deal with..Was here approx 2 1/2 hours with the last half hour to 45 minutes we were just shooting the breeze about the heating system etc..

Did also tell me the Peerless Oil Boiler I have was installed in 1995 and it could very well last 30-40 years.

So bottom line is $173.00 and now its nice and toasty in my home once again...

Thanks for the help and suggestions and advice given..I sure appreciate it all.


HRM
God Bless America
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-03
Darien, CT
kudos:1
reply to sailor
What did he say about the water? Just condensation?

With the rain, I wondered if there was water getting in the tank. You might want to buy a new cap if the fill is in or near the ground. They are often 1/2 turn caps that have a simple O-ring to seal the tank. Come to think of it, a new O-ring probably would do it. Then lastly make sure the delivery guy uses the fill wrench to tighten it. Often it is just finger tight and they can be torqued a bit to get a better seal.

sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
Yes, condensation and thanks for that regarding the O-ring and cap as it is near the ground and very accessible.


Sweet Witch
Be the flame, not the moth.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-07-15
Gallifrey

1 edit
reply to sailor
Glad it wasn't a bank-buster repair! Our oil company here does the service work so I can usually have someone out in a few hours. Last time it was about three hours after the annual cleaning and I noticed it sounded like an angry dragon had taken up residence down there. Called and the guy came out, replacing a bad 'injector' that the other guy had replaced earlier that day. Got charged for the visit but a simple call had that removed.

About six months later (after not running the furnace all summer due to a new hot water heater) I had the oil guy come do the annual cleaning and fire it up for me . Good thing too because it wasn't venting properly. Turns out that some time over the summer the chimney internals had disintegrated. Thankfully our contractor knew a great chimney company and they came out the next day and rebuilt it, adding a cap, bringing it all up to the new codes, for about $1500.
--
"While you can teach an old dog new tricks, you simply can't teach him to be a cat."

wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA

1 edit
reply to sailor
nm


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to sailor


Damn, $173.00 sounds like a heckuva good deal, especially in your area.

Good boiler techs are hard to find; sounds like you have one there.