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Old 08-31-2009, 05:07 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,405
Why would our oil-burner be shutting down?

We're going to call the oil company as soon as we figure out who can stay home one day and when, but I'm curious. Our oil-burner (heat and hot water) keeps shutting down. I've had to reset it at least once a day for the last week or so. We'll wake up to no hot water (the heating function is kind of moot in the summer) and I'll have to hit the reset to get it running.

Why would it be shutting off by itself?
Old 08-31-2009, 05:37 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Las Cruces
Posts: 5,035
Sounds like it is tripping out on a safety. It's a matter of finding out which safety it is and then correcting the problem from there.

Edited to add: A safety monitors the functioning of the heating process. For instance, a proof of flame sensor looks to see if the flame is still buring. If it can't determine that, it shuts off the burner (rather than keep throwing oil into the boiler).

Last edited by Dag Otto; 08-31-2009 at 05:41 PM.
Old 08-31-2009, 07:18 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: San Francisco area
Posts: 16,135
My top two things to look at would be either a temperature-based sensor or a visual flame sensor - something's not telling the controller that there's an actual bright and hot flame there. Which you have would depend on your particular boiler.

The repair may be nothing more than wiping off the sensor's "eye" or maybe replacing a thermocouple. One's just labor, and the other's a (usually) inexpensive part. Worst case scenario is the controller itself is failing, which could be a several hundred dollar part.
Old 08-31-2009, 07:22 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,405
We're covered by a service contract with the oil company, so it shouldn't cost us anything to get fixed. Thanks, all!
Old 08-31-2009, 08:44 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
What about a dirty filter?
Old 09-01-2009, 08:22 AM
the first supraliminal the first supraliminal is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 1,093
Oil is a dirty fuel, so cleaning each part along the path, starting from the burner, will solve that problem. A yellow flame means you are lacking air, so check for dirt in the airways.
Old 09-01-2009, 09:44 AM
Rocketeer Rocketeer is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 6,918
My guess would be a clogged nozzle. Not too expensive to fix.


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