Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Ignition Transformer

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QUESTION: Hi J Cook
After the company that installed my New Yorker furnace 3 years ago, cleaned it this year on Thursday Jan 17th, the fire just dropped or cut out upon trying turning the furnace back on. The person cleaning it, newer to the company but with years of experience, had a look of shock on his face when the flame just quit after a matter of less than 20 seconds. The fire quit before the thermostat or boiler temp was satisfied.

The service guy made the comment that the furnace was not seeing the flame. He loosened two screws on what I think is the ignition transformer which is hinged to the top middle of the burner. Flipping this ignition coil up on its hinges allows one access to where the oil pump line connects to the tube that feeds the noozle. He wiggled a cylinder device that “sees the flame” on the top inside of the “hinged transformer” several times. He pulled the engine out of the tube again to check it after the fire dropped and noted the flame retention head was wet on the engine near the nozzle. He put it back together and seemed to be satisfied it was fixed.

In the process of cleaning the furnace, he removed the motor from the burner, cleaned the blower wheel fan in the motor and pulled out the oil coupling. The oil coupling (only 3 years old) had notches around its cylindrical outside in once spot like a person tried to turn it with a pair of pliers that slipped marking up that are of the coupling. He said the damage was not bad enough to replace and it was a low cost part anyways. He also filed and set the electrodes that are near the nozzle. He installed a new 0.65 W 60 degree nozzle. He tried a different one before that, but the flame was somewhat flat and not very bright. The W nozzle had a MUCH brighter fire.

I woke up the next morning after he cleaned the furnace to no heat in the house. The company sent out the same cleaning technician to fix the problem. He told me he set the ignition to continuous because the oil was too cold to ignite and that was the problem. I have a 1,000-gallon underground tank in front of the house with at least 400 gallons of oil. The two-line system runs from the tank through the concrete floor for about 26 feet before surfacing by the furnace. Up until this cleaning job, the igniter only stayed ignited for less than 30 seconds. I live in south central Pennsylvania just east of Harrisburg, PA.

Here is what I don’t understand. The New Yorker FRHGS Serial Number 65205361 was installed in October 2010. The Interrupted Ignition Oil Primary Control is #R7184B. The furnace has NEVER failed to ignite and stay ignited since it was installed 3 years ago in October 2010 until after the service man cleaned the burner last week.

We’ve had MUCH colder days in those three years since the new furnace was installed but the burner did not have to be set to continuous ignition. Why would the ignition need to be set to continuous when for the past three years it worked fine? Why did the burner work fine the day before he cleaned the furnace and then need to be set to continuous all of a sudden? What’s going on, J?

Many Thanks for your help,

Mike

ANSWER: The ignition control should only energize when there is a heat call and the pump begins to put fuel in the burner so it can ignite it and it is a split second action that the pump starts and the ignition sequence begins. After the burner ignites, there is a device called a cad cell that is very similar to a photo eye that controls lighting to energize at night and turn off when it " sees " daylight. In this case it keeps the pump providing fuel to the furnace as long as it " sees " a flame. After the initial ignition there should be no need for continuous ignition, so forcing it to remain on tells me the cad cell is either malfunctioning or the circuit board it is connected to which is the brain of the control is malfunctioning. In either case there needs to be more diagnostic time spent on this unit to detemine the actual problem. Thanks J

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks J for you reply and information. I plan to call up the company that cleaned my furnace.

In reflecting up this matter, I remember the service man removed the little U shaped copper jumper wire from the two T terminals on the Interrupted Ignition module while cleaning the furnace. Why would he remove that?

Since the furnace was working fine before he cleaned it, what are the chances that he damaged something while cleaning the burner motor?

Hope you don't live in a part of the US that is as COLD as Pennsylvania is right now!!

Thanks,

Mike

Answer
I am in NC and its in the low 20's this morning, so not as cold as where you are but cold enough. I am not sure what the jumper he removed is for but this may have been removed to keep it firing continuous. I agree it appears something was damaged during the cleaning process that is causing this problem, but it may be the cad cell failed or the circuit board that controls it was damaged and this is the only way he knew how to leave it operating, but in any case the technician should have made a recommendation for a permanent repair instead of leaving it this way permanently. Thanks Mike and I hope they get it repaired correctly. J

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J Cook

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With 25+ years experience, I am familiar with residential, commercial, and industrial HVAC equipment including but not limited to boilers, chillers, reciprocating and screw compressors. I am trained in all manners of control wiring.

Experience

I currently have three HVAC licenses and Refrigeration license by the State of North Carolina. I have been in this field for over twenty years. I have been a service technician for a contractor and also worked at a state college in the repair and maintenance of steam lines and equipment. I am currently the Building Maintenance Superintendent for a municipality.

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