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How To Clean An Oil Burner

By Edited Apr 6, 2016 1 0

A Clean Oil Burner is a Happy Oil Burner

Get the soot out

Beckett Oil Burner

How to clean an oil burner is something any homeowner who uses oil for heating should know how to do.

This is usually a job that is hired out to an oil company or a maintenance service outfit. We can however with a little insight perform this job ourselves and save a substantial amount of money on an annual basis.

Heating companies will come in and do this for you but even then you should have enough information to assure the job has been done right.

Some companies will perform a more thorough cleaning and if you don't know what should be done then you won't know if your getting your moneys worth.

After you have cleaned your oil burner you will be able to rest assured that your system is ready to provide uninterrupted climate control for your home.

Sleep comes easier if we have this assurance. Fear usually comes from the unknown, gaining knowledge about your heating system will help you sleep better.

Oil burners deal with fuel and people get really nervous when working around fuel burning apparatus. This is a good thing as it can be dangerous.

You should have a good understanding of how the equipment works, prior to attempting to work on it.

The photo below shows the nozzle in the end of the burner.

Gun showing oil burner Nozzle


Understand Your Hot Water Heating System

Get the insight you need into what's keeping you warm

Understanding Hot Water Heating Systems
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(price as of Apr 6, 2016)
This is an inexpensive guide to the hot water heating system. It's jam packed with information for homeowners, or anyone who would like to gain some understanding of how this type of system works.
Follow along as the author walks through all of the components as well as the series of operation for a typical hot water heating system.

Preparing To Clean Your Oil burner

What You'll Need

Preparing To Clean Your Oil burner, will consist of gathering all of the necessary tools and equipment as well as covering anything that may get damaged or dirty in the close proximity to your boiler or furnace.

Starting with a good Wet dry vacuum you'll also need enough drop cloths to lay around the heating equipment. This will make cleanup a lot easier when your done. You'll need the appropriate sized open end wrench to remove the nuts that hold the burner into your heating unit. As well as the right size socket to remove and replace the burner nozzle.

Brushes are available to clean out the heating boiler or furnace and all areas of this equipment should be brushed out and vacuumed to remove all soot and ash residue.

You will be replacing the oil filter and a new one of these should be on hand and ready to go. Getting all of this together ahead of time will help the job go a little smoother and get the heat back on as quickly as possible.

It is recommended that you replace the burner nozzle at the time of cleaning. These are not very expensive and they are notorious for acting up. A new nozzle once a year is a small price to pay to avoid an outage in the middle of the winter.


Instructions for the Kindle

Step by step info right in your hand

How to Clean and Service an Oil Burner
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Apr 6, 2016)
This is another easy to follow guide for performing the cleaning and servicing of any oil burner. Annual service calls for this type of job can be hundreds of dollars. Homeowners can perform this task themselves and put that cash towards fuel or an extra vacation.

Removing The Burner For Service

First things first we always think of safety. Let the system cool before attempting any servicing. Make sure the power supply is turned off. Use an electrical tester and don't rely on the system just not being on. This type of system cycles automatically and the last thing you want to happen is for it to come on unexpectedly while your working on it.

Next we will want to make sure that we have shut off the supply of oil at the tank. There will be a shutoff or a fireamatic at your oil tank.

Shutoffs are usually gate valves and must be tightened down to close. Fireamatics are spring loaded valves that have reversed threads on them. To close this device you must turn the handle back wards and remove it. The stem will spring up wards and close the valve.

There are normally three nuts that hold the burner to the heating appliance although  some do have four. They will all be removed and set aside and the burner will be pulled out of the unit.

Depending on your particular equipment there may be lines and wires that either have to be unplugged or unwired on older units. Make sure you make a note of how this came apart. Tag wires if they are to be taken apart.

After you have disassembled the oil lines and wires the unit can be pulled out for cleaning. Your blast tube should be inspected for any burnt metal that has been eaten away. If none is present then this can simply be wiped down.

The nozzle is in the end of the burner. This can be removed with a ratchet and the proper sized socket. Replace the nozzle with a new one exactly the same in size and angle. These numbers are marked on the nozzle itself engraved in the brass.

While you have the burner out inspect the electrodes that are protruding from the end. These two wires spark the oil into ignition. If thy are burnt looking or uneven then they may need replacing. Otherwise the burner is now ready to reinstall in the heating unit.

Using a catch pan remove the oil filter housing. Replace the oil filter and reinstall the housing. Open the oil line to the burner and your cleaning is complete.

The boiler or furnace will always need to be cleaned at the same time that the burner is done. Replace any filters in hot air systems and purge any air out of hot water boilers. This concludes the annual service that must be provided each year if your going to keep your system working at top efficiency.

How's Your Vacuum?

You'll need a good one for this job

Vacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum, 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP
Amazon Price: $129.99 $97.17 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 6, 2016)
If your cleaning an oil burner then you'll need a really good vacuum to avoid the mess that goes along with the job. Inferior vacuum's will create soot dust and ash residue throughout the dwelling. Be sure you have the right vacuum on hand to keep the job going smoothly.


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