any oil furnace experts out there?

I’m currently freezing to death, so any help/advice would be soooo appreciated.

The furnace is only a year old and I’m not detecting any clanking or other obvious signs of distress. But every once in a while I have to go down a press the reset button because it’s as if it ‘forgets’ to start up and heat our house.

Normally, when I press the reset, the furnace boots up and a bunch of oily smoke wafts out of the little peep hole and out the exaust pipe leading to chimney. This morning; no boot up. It tries, but there’s no flame.

Any idea what it could be? (I have suspicions that the chimney needs cleaning)

Thanks again for any replies.

Hey, Dewt… not an expert here, but I used to live in Maine (FRIGGIN’ BRRRRRR!!), and once had a similar problem… turned out that there was an air bubble in the fuel line, which interupted the flow of fule from the tank to the burner…
Could that be it? If not, we need more info. What kind of furnace do you have? What kind of fuel? Etc.?

Umm… fuel

Does the fuel line have some sort of filter that may be clogging?

So sorry… very good point. It is a Brock Oil furnace.

I have doubts about clogs in the fule <g> line. I have no idea of any filters, but there’s a red reset button and when I press it, a little pump comes on, presumably to provide fule (can’t stop) to the combustion chamber thingy. The pump seems to be working fine - no straining or other out of place sounds.

It seems like an over temperature cut-out somewhere on the system.

It should cut in and out on the room thermostat and all would be fine but it the boiler gets too hot then it won’t relight.
It is possible that the water is not circulating properly, if so you will hear a boiling water sound, like an electric kettle and the boiler shuts off.

There should be an adjustable control somewhere on the boiler, more than likely incorporated into the ignition unit, this might be set too low or another possiblity is that the thermocouple is not lined up with the flame correctly, if this is true than it will not start up at all.
Thermocouples do go duff fairly frequently.

There are a number of things that can cause your problem including a restriction in the exhaust - leaves in the chimney - for example.
If it were me, I would get an oilburner tech in to troubleshoot the problem. Just to insure everything is set properly and there is no carbon monoxide floating around.

Thanks so much for your replies.

I sure am no furnace expert and have no intention to open up the thing and start looking to adjust things. (I type this so that my wife can relax) Logic seems to point to a restriction in the exhaust. We haven’t had the flu swept since we arrived here and that’s been 2 years. The lady who sold us the house said lots of things that weren’t entirely accurate and it is possible that she er… mistook the date she said she’d had it cleaned last.

As for mechanical probs inside the unit, I don’t think so. But the good sense in calling out a qualified tech has won out. I’m waiting for the dude now.

Similar symptoms on the ancient furnace in Mrs. R’s old house were caused by a clogged fuel nozzle. Oil fumes all through the house, wouldn’t stay on, exhaust stack belching smoke from every seam…

Aye-aye Capn’ Rocketeer. You were right on the money. (although it turns out I was right about needing the chimney cleaned)

Thanks all for your help.

Dewt, I DO live in Downeast Maine and if my furnace went out I’d be dead before morning. Anyway, just wanted to tell you to get your chimmney cleaned and have your furnace serviced every fall. The tech would have checked that nozzle. God, I can’t wait until Spring.