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AIR CONDITIONING & HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
BACKUP HEAT for HEAT PUMPS
BANGING HEATING PIPES RADIATORS
BLOWER FAN OPERATION & TESTING
BOOKSTORE - InspectAPedia
BTU USAGE MONITORS
CARBON MONOXIDE - CO
CIRCULATOR PUMPS & RELAYS
DIAGNOSTIC GUIDES A/C / HEAT PUMP
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-BOILER
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-FURNACE
DIRECT VENTS / SIDE WALL VENTS
DRAFT REGULATORS, DAMPERS, BOOSTERS
DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS
ELECTRIC HEAT, DIAGNOSIS, REPAIR
ELECTRIC MOTOR DIAGNOSTIC GUIDE
FAN, AIR HANDLER BLOWER UNIT
FLOODED HEATING EQUIPMENT REPAIR
FLUE SIZE SPECIFICATIONS
GAS BURNER Flame & Noise Defects
GAS PIPING, VALVES, CONTROLS
GEOTHERMAL HEATING SYSTEMS
HEAT PUMPS, DIAGNOSIS, REPAIR
HEATING COST SAVINGS METHODS
HEATING OIL PIPING TROUBLES
HEATING OIL TANKS
HEATING SYSTEM NOISES
HEATING SYSTEM TYPES
LP & Natural Gas Safety Hazards
MANUALS & PARTS GUIDES - HVAC
MIXING / ANTI-SCALD VALVES
MOTOR OVERLOAD RESET SWITCH
NOISE, HEATING SYSTEMS
ODORS FROM HEATING SYSTEMS
OIL FILTERS on HEATING EQUIPMENT
OIL FILL PIPE LEAKS
OIL SPILL CLEANUP / PREVENTION
PLASTIC HEATER VENT
PUFFBACKS, OIL BURNER
RELIEF VALVE LEAKS
Reset Switch - Heater Primary Control
RESET SWITCH - ELECTRIC MOTOR
Reset Switch - Stack Relays
SAFETY, HEATING INSPECTION
SAFETY RECALLS CHIMNEYS VENTS HEATERS
SOLAR HEATING SYSTEM DESIGNS
SOOT on OIL FIRED HEATING EQUIPMENT
STEAM HEATING SYSTEMS
THERMOSTATS, HEATING / COOLING
VIDEO GUIDES: Heating System Videos
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
WOOD, COAL STOVES & FIREPLACES
WOOD STOVE SAFETY
Oil burner carbon dioxide level testing, which in turn reflects combustion air & temperature adjustment is necessary for safe, efficient and reliable oil burner operation: this article explains and illustrates how an oil burner CO2 test is performed - a key step in oil burner adjustment. An oil burner adjustment of combustion air, operating temperature, oil pressure, and other factors such as nozzle spray pattern selection all affect the completeness of combustion which in turn is reflected in the CO2 level measured in flue gas exhaust sampled in the breech. Page top image: the traditional Fyrite CO2 tester from a Bachrach oil burner tuning kit.
This article series answers most questions about central hot water heating system troubleshooting, inspection, diagnosis, and repairs. We describe how to inspect, troubleshoot and repair heating and air conditioning systems to inform home owners, buyers, and home inspectors of common heating system defects.
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If the oil burner is not working, start your diagnosis at OIL BURNER INSPECTION & REPAIR.
The basic measurements made by any competent oil heat service technician include the stack temperature, draft, smoke level, and carbon dioxide level.
Along with OIL BURNER SMOKE TEST, the second common test performed by an oil heat technician evaluates the oil burner efficiency by measuring the carbon dioxide level or CO2 level in the oil burner exhaust.
While there are electronic sensors used by some technicians for this purpose, many oil heat service tech's continue to use the time-tested Bachrach Fyrite™ oil burner tester shown below.
Our photos above show the rubber bulb and tubing used to pump oil burner exhaust gases into the CO2 level tester (the bulb and tubing atop the smoke tester, above left), and a closeup of a well-used CO2 tester (above right).
Measurement is made at the same flue vent connector location as we discussed above.
Shown at left, a modern approach to measuring CO2 using the Fyrite II from Bachrach.
Watch out: if your heating oil company does not provide working test equipment for the service technician, setting the oil burner adjustments is going to be done by guesswork. The result is likely to be either higher heating costs over the season for a system that is running too hot, or higher heating service costs for a system that runs too dirty.
In fact when the author (DF) attended oil burner school we were taught to make two openings into the flue so that smoke level and CO2 measurements could be made through one opening while a thermometer or draft gauge monitored those two additional data points at the second opening.
The Carbon Dioxide vs Oil Burner Efficiency chart below explains how the percent of carbon dioxide in oil burner exhaust gases translates into oil burner efficiency. Bachrach Fyrite instructions and Oil Burner efficiency chart below, source: Audel's Oil Burner Guide.
[Click any image or table to see an enlarged, detailed version.]
Watch out: It's easy to make it look as if oil burner has been set for very high efficiency: just stand with your leg blocking the air intake at the oil burner air shutter while making the CO2 measurement.
But that nonsense, while it may make the burner adjustment look "good" is likely to waste fuel during the heating season and may result in smoky sooty operation leading to a loss of heat.
We want good oil burner efficiency, up to the point of improper operation. The illustrations at left and below, from our Bachrach manual, explain how the Fyrite CO2 analyzer is operated and give a chart useful to read oil burner efficiency levels for different CO2 levels at different operating temperatures.
Combustion Analyzer Recommendtions & Sources of Oil or Gas Burner Combustion Testing Kits include CO2 Measuring Devices
Also see COMPLETE COMBUSTION, Stoichiometric for an explanation of complete fuel combustion and boiler or furnace maximum efficiency.
The articles at this website describe how to recognize common oil-fired heating appliance operating or safety defects, and how to save money on home heating costs. Readers should see HEATING SYSTEM INSPECTION PROCEDURE. There we explain an organized approach to inspecting the entire heating system, beginning outdoors, continuing indoors, and ultimately in most detail in the boiler or furnace room. Also see CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR for details of chimney inspection, diagnosis, and repair, including blocked chimney flues, chimney backdrafting, leaks, and odors from flues.
If you have not done so, read OIL BURNER SMOKE TEST.
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