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Thread: Oil Hot Water Heater Shuts off every two days! Help!

  1. #1

    Default Oil Hot Water Heater Shuts off every two days! Help!

    Hi, I am new to the forum, and I am very frustrated with my problem:

    Every two days, my oil fired hot water heater shuts down. I have to hit reset manually, and then it works perfectly for two days. Then it shuts down again.

    (I don't know if this is related, but I also have the problem of hot water coming out of the cold faucet for the first 15 seconds from every sink in the house, but I am not worried about this right now, unless these two problems may be related.)

    BUT MY MAIN CONCERN IS THAT I GOTTA GET THIS BOCK OIL HEATER TO RUN CONSTANTLY, AND NOT TURN OFF EVERY TWO DAYS!! ANY IDEAS????

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    If it was gas, I'd suspect the thermocoupler, but I don't know if an oil fired heater uses one.

  3. #3
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    It sounds like you might have a bad thermostat and the high temp cut off is working and shutting it down...if it is over heating and you don't have a expansion tank your thermal expansion may be the reason why you are getting hot water on the cold side of the faucets for 15 seconds...

  4. #4
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    If you're hitting the re-set button to get it started then there's a problem with the oil burner and you need to call a service tech. It could be any one of about 20 different things.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I would concur with NH Master that you need an oil burner service tech.

    The hot water for the 1st 15 seconds is hard to say why. Do you have a hot water recirculation system?

  6. #6

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    i have had multiple service calls to deal with this. they have all tried different things - cleaning the lines, pumping oxygen through the fuel lines, etc. but it hasn't worked.

    the interesting thing about the problem is that it usually happens when the heating furnace goes on. (i.e. it doesn't happen over the summer, only during the winter months when i am also using oil heat)

    i suspect that somehow the two machines are competing for the same supply of oil, and the furnace "wins" the fight, therefore causing the water heater to shut down as if it didn't have fuel.

    does this make sense? i am not a tech, but i suspect this...

    anyone??

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by truthfreesyou View Post
    i have had multiple service calls to deal with this. they have all tried different things - cleaning the lines, pumping oxygen through the fuel lines, etc. but it hasn't worked.

    the interesting thing about the problem is that it usually happens when the heating furnace goes on. (i.e. it doesn't happen over the summer, only during the winter months when i am also using oil heat)

    i suspect that somehow the two machines are competing for the same supply of oil, and the furnace "wins" the fight, therefore causing the water heater to shut down as if it didn't have fuel.

    does this make sense? i am not a tech, but i suspect this...

    anyone??
    There is a single oil line that tees off to each unit? That doesn't seem right, if one was on and the other off it could suck air from the off unit. Must be some check valves in there?

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Chech the gal. / hr. rating on the furnace nozzle and the rating on the WH...add them together and then see if you can figure the amount that will gravity feed through the line...Do you know what size the feed line is coming from the oil tank?

  9. #9
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    If you have two appliances teed off the same oil line there is a very real possibility that the oil line is not large enough for both units, especially if it's only 3/8". One unit will pull through the other and if both are running they can pull enough suction to cause cavitation in the oil line.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by nhmaster View Post
    If you have two appliances teed off the same oil line there is a very real possibility that the oil line is not large enough for both units, especially if it's only 3/8". One unit will pull through the other and if both are running they can pull enough suction to cause cavitation in the oil line.
    i think this is the problem. the service tech is coming today to install a preference switch, (or something like that,) which automatically gives preference to the water heater when both are pulling at the same time.. he said this will prevent the shut-downs. have you heard of this?

  11. #11

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    help!!!!! the service tech came and installed a preference switch which temporarily shuts off the furnace when the hot water heater activates, so the furnace wouldn't suck the fuel from the heater....

    IT DIDN'T WORK!!!!! THE THING HAD TO BE RESET THE NEXT DAY, AND THE DAY AFTER, ETC....

    could the problem be electrical?? i am at my wit's end, because nobody can figure this problem out.. the machine is running perfectly, has been cleaned, serviced, etc.. just this damn shutoff problem.

    could the problem be that the machine is tripping the electrical fuse and therefore shuts down? i don't think so, because i never have to change the fuse or flip the switch, just hit reset... but i just don't know what to do!!!

    help!!!!!

  12. #12
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    What kind of reset is it thermally activated or strictly electrical...has the reset button been replaced?

  13. #13

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    i am not sure, but the reset button works. the unit goes back on, then shuts off later.

  14. #14
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If it is thermally activated and it is going bad that may be the problem...is the water ever super or excessively hot before the reset shuts off?

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post
    It sounds like you might have a bad thermostat and the high temp cut off is working and shutting it down...if it is over heating and you don't have a expansion tank your thermal expansion may be the reason why you are getting hot water on the cold side of the faucets for 15 seconds...
    I agree 100% with this answer.

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