The effects of an oil burner puff back usually extend beyond blowing soot throughout a home. They can include the disconnection of the flue vent connector, and in extreme cases, damage to parts of a home's boiler system. Here are some of the common causes of oil-fired boiler puff back problems.
Faulty oil shut-off system
A defective shut-off system can cause excess oil to accumulate in the combustion chamber of the heating system. When this excess oil ignites, it will create a more-than-normal explosion that is enough not only to mess with the normal flow of soot, but also damage parts of the heating system.
Normally, any oil that enters the combustion chamber is burnt off during the burn cycle. And since combustion doesn't usually take place at the end of the burn cycle, the oil burner system is designed to stop the flow of oil into the burner nozzle. This is something that usually happens with the help of a spring-loaded valve.
However, if this valve is either defective or clogged with dirt, it won't be able to stop the flow of oil as swiftly as it should. As a result, at the end of every burn cycle, excess oil will find its way to the combustion chamber. This then becomes a problem at the beginning of the next burn cycle. Why? Because there will be excess unburned oil in the chamber – something that creates the perfect condition for a more-than-the-system-is-designed-for ignition process that then causes a puff back.
This problem can be fixed by replacing the oil shut-off valve. Doing so will improve the efficiency of the shut-off process and thus reducing the risks of having a puff back.
Oil delivery piping system leaks
Leaks in the oil delivery piping system usually increase the risks of introduction of air bubbles into the system. These bubbles usually present a problem at the end of the oil burner's run cycle. Why? Because at this stage, there is usually a drop in pressure inside the system. When this happens, the air bubbles inside the pipe expand, forcing unburned oil through the nozzle and into the combustion chamber. Over time, enough excess oil will accumulate in the combustion chamber. And when the next burn cycle begins, this excess oil may trigger an explosion that is huge enough to not only damage parts of the boiler, but also blow soot throughout your home.
Simply replacing any leaking pipes should be enough to get rid of any leak-induced oil burner puff back problems. Contact your local boiler repair company for help.