Q&A on why an oil burner won't start or won't keep running:
Frequently-asked questions and answers about why an oil burner will not start or will not keep running when it should. These oil burners are used on heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters and some other heating appliances.
This article series escribes how to recognize common oil-fired heating appliance operating or safety defects, and how to save money on home heating costs
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On 2017-04-15 by (mod) re: I replaced an oil burner but the new one smokes badly
The soot situation in the new oil burner case you describe is good evidence that the system is not working properly and is unsafe.
There are a variety of possible causes: improper set-up, combustion air, nozzle, electrode settings, chimney draft, etc.
Sometimes during work on an oil burner some oil is spilled by the worker - in the combustion chamber. Igniting that unburned oil is always scary and can cause an OIL BURNER PUFFBACK explosion; use the search box just above to look for that article to see details.
But if there is a chronic problem such as oil line or nozzle adapter leaks, a bad burner shutdown cycle, air leaks in the oil piping, or other causes of sooty operation, then the smoky conditions will continue. And little white dogs become little gray or even black dogs.
Such oil burner systems should indeed be shut down and the homeowner should call an experienced, trained oil heat service technician for repair to avoid worse trouble.
While I congratulate you for trying to be a generous help to your friend - by replacing their oil burner - in my OPINION, unless you're trained and equipped as an oil heat service technician it is impossible to set up a new oil burner correctly and safely. That's because in addition to knowing where various parts go, the heating system's draft, combustion air, oil line pressure, temperature, CO, CO2 are all measured along with smoke as part of proper oil burner setup.
With older 1725 rpm oil burners one could eyeball the flame, spit on the flue (sizzle rate told old timers if the temperature was in range), and get the burner working acceptably - often. But newer high speed (3450 rpm) more efficient oil burners require equipment, measurements and adjustment for proper operation. Spitting doesn't work any more. I've given it up.
On 2017-04-15 by RickI replaced my friends oil burner unit with one I got through the internet. It starts up and smoked really bad for a little while but did clear up, After a day or so they dad to shut it down because thier little white dog was turning black with soot. What do you think the problem is?
On 2017-04-15 by (mod) re: oil fired heating boiler split and is leaking waterDelaney
On 2017-04-15 by DelaneyOil boiler water jacket split and leaking. Will this stop the central heating from coming on?
On 2017-03-27 by (mod) re: signs of a bad oil burner motor or control or electrical shortsThis sounds like a failed control or perhaps a motor bearing. To avoid a dangerous puffback explosion it's best to leave the system turned OFF and to call for professional repair.
On 2017-03-27 12:25:56.710143 by Bonnie McCartneyI push the reset button and you can hear the electrical power jumping from the transformer, but it won't fire up until I tap it with a hammer on the pump or motor. It will run a cycle or two but then it will not come back on until I push the reset button and hit it again with hammer.
On 2017-03-24 by (mod) re: pussing the reset button repeatedly"Second time" on reset means that there is either a failing control or more-likely a poorly-operating burner that's causing the cad cell to shut down the system.
On 2017-03-24 by Beckett 7505 burner won't start second timeSo my burner will not fire for a second time when either my aquastat or t stat are calling for heat / hot water I use the shut off and click it back on and either or both will fire and work for one cycle and then an hr later the t star will call for heat and I would have to repeat
On 2017-03-16 by (mod) re: the oil burner fuel unit bypass plugMike:
On 2017-03-16 by MikeInstalled new oil furnace & Beckett Burner. Have replaced bypass plug, oil pump, primary control, removed compression fittings, and put device on burner to adjust drip rate. Furnace has run no more than a day at a time, 2 oil leaks from burner. Burner is " new technology" type. What next?
On 2017-03-11 by (mod) re: oil burner keeps going off on resetAnon:
On 2017-03-11 by AnonymousHi Gentlemen,
On 2017-03-04 18:18:36.684426 by (mod)Unclear what's the question
On 2017-03-04 02:26:37.435056 by AnonymousNo oil on oil filter
On 2017-02-26 by (mod) re: boiler turned itself off, now what?First confirm that there is power to the boiler
On 2017-02-26 by SueHi my boiler has switched off ( No lights are on) I have checked indoor thermostat that light is working, i have checked the digital box where you can programme stuff and tried everything on there, i have checked fuse connection but nothing is making the boiler switch back on..Any ideas please?
On 2017-02-21 by (mod) re: oil burner won't start, no red lights, pushing the reset doesn't workTony
On 2017-02-21 by TonyMy boiler does not start. No red lockout light, when I push lockout button fan runs for a short time then shuts down. The fuel system appears to be functioning correctly and I have already changed the Control box.........Any Ideas?
On 2017-02-18 by (mod) re: oil burner keeps going off on RESETJohn
On 2017-02-18 by johnrun for about 10 to 60 seconds then shuts down ,oil furnace, beckett burner
On 2017-01-28 by Emily@Ruko,
On 2017-01-27 by Rukohigh winds go down the chimney and shuts off oil fired heater.
On 2017-01-27 by (mod) re: oil burner won't fireAnon,
On 2017-01-27 by (mod)Emily,
On 2017-01-27 16:32:05.618266 by AnonymousMy furnace will not fire
On 2017-01-27 by Emily ThompsonI have a Honeywell oil furnace ignition box, the light is a steady red light. I change the thermostat, the electrodes, eye, nozzle. Yes I am getting Voltage. Do I need a new ignition box?
On 2017-01-24 by Rukohigh winds go down the chimney and shut oil fired furnace off.
On 2017-01-23 by Timothy jacksonWill not ignite
On 2017-01-13 by (mod) re: no fuel comes out of the oil burner nozzleSounds like a clogged nozzle tube, nozzle adapter, or nozzle.
On 2017-01-12 by Maurice picardFuel up to side of burner none at nozzle brand new burner and nozzle
On 2016-12-30 by (mod) re: draft regulator door keeps bangingLinda
On 2016-12-30 by LindaWhen the heater kicks on the flapper keeps clapping to the point that it seems like it's gonna choke out and electric flickers in the house
On 2016-12-28 by (mod) re: loose or bad electrical connections on an oil burnerEric:
On 2016-12-28 by EricMy furnace runs fine 98% of the time, but once in a while, the thermostat kicks on, but does not turn furnace on. I checked all wires, and replaced thermostat. Still does it. Please help!
On 2016-12-21 by (mod) re: ask the oil heat service company for an expertReuben
On 2016-12-21 by Reuben A. LarsonOur furnace was working fine until we had it cleaned. Now it runs fine for about 6 hours and then it shuts down. Furnace repair person has put on a new cycle controller but it still shuts down after 6 hours. What do I do now ?
On 2016-12-20 by (mod) re: don't keep replacing parts on the oil burner that keeps going off on RESETBefore replacing parts arbitrarily I'd prefer to call an oil heat service tech. There could be any of several problems but a system that keeps going off is also potentially unsafe, risking a puffback explosion.
On 2016-12-20 by ekj06I'm having to hit the relight button on my oil forced-air furnace every couple of days. I replaced the igniter a couple of years ago. Maybe a relay now?
On 2016-12-20 by (mod) re: oil burner won't keep running, shuts down and needs the reset buttonSounds like cleaning or repair to a nozzle, filter, screen, electrode etc. is needed. DO not keep pressing the reset button or you risk a puffback explosion. Search InspectApedia.com for OIL BURNER PUFFBACK EXPLOSION to read details
On 2016-12-18 by GaryI hit the reset button on my oil furnace it will come up to temp called for it shuts down the when temp drops and heat is called for again it will fire up then shut right down. Any ideas?
On 2016-12-16 by AnonymousMy oil furnace keeps shutting off after 5 min...
On 2016-12-16 by Fred thompso nCarlin primary code latchup
On 2016-12-16 by JenniferMy oil furnace has been running fine but we run out of oil my husband bled the line hit the reset button it come on went back off done this twice but won't come back on what do we need to do
On 2016-12-15 by scottmy oil furnace comes on heats when called to,,heats up to temp called for but after burner is off the blower never shuts off???it cuntinually runs ...
On 2016-12-13 by (mod)Gola,
On 2016-12-13 by (mod)AUTHOR:Gola (no email)
On 2016-12-11 by (mod)It sounds to me like a wiring or a control error. However if the motor homeless and is tripping a reset button then the problem could be a seized motor or a seized fuel unit that the motor cannot turn.
On 2016-12-11 by PeanutsHave changed all components,igniter,fuel pump, control box. Motor will not come on. I have checked the motor and it runs smooth and quite. Will not start while installed on boiler. What's up with it?
On 2016-12-09 by (mod) re: Beckett oil burner won't start
To debug I'd scan the suggestions in the article OIL BURNER WONT RUN. It'd be helpful to know more about what happens: in particular, when the TT calls for heat, does the oil burner not run at all? Or does it run but the burner doesn't ignite?
If the latter, do not keep re-starting the burner as you risk a PUFFBACK EXPLOSION (Search InspectApedia for that term for details).
If the former, could be a loose wire, bad control, or a motor that's seizing up or overheating and shutting off on thermal reset.
On 2016-12-08 by jimdregMy Beckett oil burner won't start when the thermostat calls for heat 'some' of the time. Every once in awhile I have to turn the power switch to it off and on a couple times to make it start. I replaced the Intermittent Ignition Oil Primary unit but that made no difference. What is causing this?
On 2016-12-06 by AnonymousWhy does igniter on becket burner bridge with gunk
On 2016-12-06 13:00:13.940354 by derekthere is a mix between water and oil squirting from the right hand side of the burner? is this dangerous
On 2016-12-05 18:45:00.357900 by MarkThe wind goes down the chimney, and shuts the burner down, causes?? fixs??
On 2016-12-01 by AnonymousOil burner lights stays on for approx 4hrs then goes into lockout
On 2016-11-23 by MattI have a Smith oil burner. The burner shuts off at the aquastat high temp but the temp and pressure continue to rise.
On 2016-11-22 by (mod) re: furnace won't re-start and no red or green lights show. and re: oil leaks at the oil burnerSounds like a tripped breaker or blown fuse, Anon.
On 2016-11-22 by AnonymousFurence shut off wont start no red or greene light on reset
On 2016-11-16 by TjI have a Beckett forced hot air furnace and fuel is coming out off the ignition box? Just put new nossell in. Why would it do that
On 2016-11-11 by DanielBecket burner - boiler has shut off several times over the past week , but starts right up after the reset button is pushed
On 2016-10-20 by (mod) re: Circulator pumps run but boiler wont' heat upJoe,
On 2016-10-20 by Joe
I have a New Yorker furnace oil hot water it comes on when hot water is turn on and needed . But when you turn on thermostat for heat (three zones ) there circulator comes on but the furnace does not turn on to heat up .
Changed the control box put a new one it turned on for few seconds then shut off . still have same problem . Circulator comes on but does not turn on furnace shut off all thermostats circulators shut off . Could you tell me what the problem could be
On 2016-10-12 by Bobby WellsI have a oil birner furnace and it kicks on but wont ignite. Then shuts off after a min. Or so. I forgot to shut the valvn the tank when I had it filled. Mine burns diesel. Well not knowing, all the fuel leaked out of the unit . Now it wont fire up.......
On 2016-10-01 by Donald
OilBurner won't start
On 2016-08-28 by (mod) re: dirty oil burner nozzle causes system to go off on RESET
THe most common reason that an oil burner goes off on reset is a dirty or clogged nozzle assembly.
Another common problem is air leaks in the oil piping.
On 2016-08-28 by RickFor a oil hot water heater,After pushing re-start red button,ignition runs for a few seconds and stops.Would the problen most likely be th eHoneywell controller or dirty nozzles?
On 2016-07-02 by (mod) re: bad ceramic insulators on the oil burner nozzle assemblyAnon
On 2016-07-02 by Anonymousspark not reaching the top of electrodes
On 2016-06-25 by (mod) re: no spark visible at the oil burner electrode assemblyCertainly; if you don't see a spark between the igniters and the head is clean, not shorted out, and the unit has power, then that's a good guess.
On 2016-06-25 by DaveI have a Wiel Mclain oil burner. It's getting fuel,the motor is running but it doesn't ignite.I can hear it click,but it won't ignite. Could this be the ignition transformer?
On 2016-04-26 by DavidcHave one 2 pipe if it sits they have to reset does not do this every time I try to catch it
On 2016-04-24 by craigLooking at the electrodes through a Crack I can see what appear
On 2016-03-14 by (mod) re: noisy oil burner startupTodd
On 2016-03-13 by toddburner rumbles on initial firing then quiets down. i have a new nozzle and filed electrodes to a sharp point and adjusted .
On 2016-02-25 by John scifoAfter reseting it runs reaches desired temp & turns off normal hav to reset before it turns back on
On 2016-02-21 by (mod) re: check oil burner fuel unit output pressure / flowa service tech would probably check for pump output on the burner side
On 2016-02-21 by PeterAir in fuel line. Every few days.
On 2016-02-16 by (mod) re: seized oil burner fuel unit (oil pump)Sounds like a seized or failed fuel unit. The burner should be going off on reset.
On 2016-02-16 by AnonymousI have a fuel oil furnace that won't do anything it has high and low voltage at primary control, have jupered r and w still don't run have individual tested components all good solenoid valve has small amount of fuel leaking around shaft what can I do next?
On 2016-02-15 by (mod) re: possible bad oil burner controlThat sounds like a bad control. Before replacing it, turn power off to the heater, wait a couple of minutes and turn it back on. Try once more.
On 2016-02-15 by RobbieThanks for the feedback, yes I left it sit and turned the power off to it for 6 hours came back turned the power on still locked out, pushed and held reset for over 1 minute still just keeps flashing, I'm going to get a new primary control as soon as possible and replace it and see if that helps, I have a R8184G 4009 I might hook up and see if it works because it'll be a week before I can get a new R7184B or I'm some place I can get someone on to look at it, thanks
On 2016-02-14 by (mod) re: oil burner reset button won't re-set
Good question Robbie. My answer is ... as my mentor Mark Cramer (Tampa FL home inspector / educator) says: ... it depends.
When a primary control trips off on reset, if you depress the re-set button rather quickly (say a minute or two) after it has tripped, it may not re-set. Depending on the particular control's design it may need to be off and left alone 5-10 minutes, as some controls include a thermal device that heats up to cause the tripping, and it has to cool.
If after a good wait - say 10 minutes or longer - the control won't reset then something else is wrong.
Watch out: don't keep pressing the reset button. If you press it and it resets and the burner runs for 10-20 minutes or longer you can have heat while waiting for the repair technician. But if the burner tries to start but trips off on reset quickly, you're sending unburned oil into the combustion chamber. Light that off after a few button presses and restart attempts and you could cause a dangerous puffback explosion.
Search Inspectapedia for PUFFBACK EXPLOSION to read details.
On 2016-02-14 by RobbieHave a question, my R7184B will not reset, if u hold the reset button for 1 minutes 5 minutes however long it won't reset, sounds like to me it's gone bad because it should atleast reset and then if there's a problem lockout again right, but since it won't reset at all its probably gone bad??
On 2016-02-08 by (mod) re: I hit the oil burner reset button three times and now it won't startJulie
On 2016-02-08 by JulieHit the reset button three times and it came on but now will not come on at all only makes a click sound
On 2016-01-24 by (mod) re: oil burner goes off on reset once a dayI would call for repair - any of several problems could be the cause but the risk is ultimately loss of heat or a puffback explosion.
On 2016-01-19 by Tom GrecoOilburner shuts off on its own once every day have to keep turning it back on every day
On 2016-01-17 by DeeMy furnace starts up then stops. I have to press the reset button every time I want heat. Help me fix this it's getting cold.
On 2016-01-09 by (mod) re: suttering starts at the oil burnerI've seen complaints about on-off stuttering starts with oil burners before, usually traced to either a loose wire or a failing control.
On 2016-01-09 by Bruce
We were having a problem with the furnace which was that upon startup, it would click off and on again in rapid succession, and after doing that, I'm guessing about 6 or 8 times, it would then stay on. It didn't do this every time, but seemed more apt to do it when it had been off for several hours, particularly in the morning. I believe it did this for at least 2 or three weeks, and seemed to be getting worse.
We finally made an appointment to have it looked at, and two days before the appointment, the problem vanished (we cancelled the apt.). It has been fine now for about two weeks. We are under no illusion that it has fixed itself, so expect the problem will come back sooner or later. Any idea on what could have caused that, and how the problem could just disappear (even if temporarily) on its own? It's rather bizarre.
On 2015-12-30 by (mod) re: compare oil burner temperature with aquastat settingsCheck the boiler temperature and pressure when the boiler turns on - compare those to the aquastat settings; the low limit may be turning on the boiler for a tankless coil;
On 2015-12-30 by JeremyIt is a forced air furnace. I will check thermostat wires. Any other ideas of forced air fuel oil furnace?
On 2015-12-28 by (mod) re: oil furnace comes on even when room temperature is above the thermostat settingJeremy,
On 2015-12-23 by JeremyMy fuel oil furnace works with thermostat but will come on even when temp is above the setting. The burner and pump run for 60 seconds a few times an hour even when not needed. Put new filter, nozzle and flushed lines. Still does it, any ideas?
On 2015-11-27 by (mod) re: just hit reset one timeTry the reset button ONCE. that might get you heat whole you wait for a repair technician.
On 2015-11-27 by Anonymousburner wont start up was running before but is now not ignting . it was filled with 400g of fuel and we let it settle for four hours and was working
On 2015-11-23 by (mod) re: then check the oil burner aquastat settingsAnon/Steve:
On 2015-11-23 by AnonymousThanks for your response. Yesterday I shut off all the thermostats when the boiler was hot and watched it throughout the day as the temperature dropped...right past the low limit set point, so my best guess at this point is a bad limit or other control part. Does that make sense?
On 2015-11-23 by (mod) re: possible chimney or draft problem fouls the oil burnerIf the problem only occurs on windy days I suspect there may be a draft regulator order after adjustment problem or possibly something as simple as a missing chimney cap
On 2015-11-22 by SteveAny ideas? Boiler occasionally goes cold despite calls for heat. After reset it comes on and runs fine, for a while (last time for a week) before going cold again. It's like it does not recognize a call on temp drop. Could it somehow be flue related (maybe superstitious but it may happen on windy days). Any thoughts on what it could be are appreciated. Thanks!
On 2015-11-17 by (mod) re: do not keep pressing the oil burner safety control RESET buttonCameron:
On 2015-11-17 by cameronMy oil burner turns on only when I hit the reset button the fan will turn on for 30 second but the burner will not ignite
On 2015-11-01 by AnonymousMy oil burner comes on for less than a second and goes off at odd times. Runs and heats great though.
On 2015-10-19 by FrankMy burner won't come on upstairs zone but it work in downstairs zone.I changed the zone valve, checked the thermostat. What else should I check?
On 2015-10-19 by AnonymousI have a blinking green light?
On 2015-10-15 by SteveTurn breaker on reset does nothing Stat all the way down motel or pump does nothing help
On 2015-09-30 16:24:08.595857 by rickfurnace hums but will not come on
On 2015-09-18 13:08:26.253843 by BrettMy boiler wont start by itself i have to keep hiting the reset button
Continue reading at OIL BURNER WONT RUN - home, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Or see HEAT WON'T TURN ON
Or see PUFFBACKS, OIL BURNER
If the oil burner starts but does not run properly see these diagnostic articles
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