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oil furnace ignition problem

4792 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Jackfre
I'm running out of ideas-3-4 year occasional ignition issue on a Burkett burner. Nozzle and electrodes were replaced long ago. It might work well for a day, then time out a couple of times in one day. often times it times out in the middle of the night.

when I reset the ignition module it wasn't firing up, so I lifted the cover over the electrodes and noticed the spark gapping from the spring to the electrode was faint. On this particular time, it timed out again, but after another reset, it finally fired. Lots of smoke as would be expected, the oil is getting in fine.

Today I lifted the cover to observe the spark, the spark was strong and it fired almost instantly.

Do transformers fire weak at times, strong others? Any other leads on tracking this down? I've had a furnace guy out before, but he just tuned it up and it worked for awhile.
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I have had the same issue with mine every once in a while.

Turned out it was loosing prime from a dirty fuel filter. My oil is gravity fed.

Yes, the discharge can vary. I have a gas fired boiler and keep igniter and ignition coil in stock.

Yes, a transformer can hav a strong spark one time and a weak spark another time.

You said the nozzle and ignitors were changed a long time ago. The oil filter and nozzle should be replaced yearly.
an IGN problem

after more troubleshooting, I determined the transformer probably wasn't an issue (good spark when shorting the terminals). This led to poor spark from the electrodes. All though I used the specifications and the handy tool to set the electrode depth and angle, I surmised the spark wasn't in making it to the nozzle spray. Maybe that is due to a dirty nozzle (???), but regardless, I moved the electrodes out into the spray a little and hope it continues to fire :thumbsup:
A cold weak transformer will often have a good spark. but once it warms up, it isn't as strong. A bad nozzle spray can also cause ignition problems.
You are working on the "I shot an arrow into the air…" method here. If you have the hand plastic electrode setting piece you are not going to outsmart it. You had the unit serviced long ago. I would suggest that you need a thorough cleaning, filter change, new nozzle and then the unit needs to be serviced by someone with the combustion analyzer to see that it is functioning properly. When set up properly, oil burners are good heat. With the cost of #2 today, you need to get it set up right. With a crapped up nozzle, dirty filter and cold oil, all of which are likely contributing factors, you will continue to have ongoing issues. BTW, the cost of the service call will be repaid in oil savings.
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