Home improvement

Can you say "Tim (the tool man) Taylor?"


Sometime in 1952 our house was build and a oil furnace was installed...

It's in a crawl space with a concrete foundation but below grade

of the floor.  There is a hole for a sub pump.


In 1993 we put it to sleep.



From Home Depot I purchased a nice, tiny efficient furnace. 
I also added new pipes to the addition and split the house to a two zone. I do a bit of soldering too!

So you think I'm hot!  After adding water to try the solder joints.  I forgot to solder 2 elbows in the hardest to see areas.  A bits of a sprinkle! I had to drain the water from the pipes, try it and it still leaked. Drain it again and finally got it soldered. Yep, 1 hour for 2 little solder joints.

P.S. This furnace has been UNDERWATER twice. A sub pump in the corner by the furnace was unplugged one day after I was down to use that plug for a light to do other work.  It rained for the next few days and I got two feet of water in this sunken portion.  It shorted the electrical box ($68 repair) but that was all.   Back working in 2 hours.  Hurricane Floyd did a number on it again. When the power went our for 14 hours the basement went totally under water too about three feet deep.  After power was restored the next day and the sub pump worked a few hours I dried out the electrical box, vacuumed out the firebox again and was back run by noon.

Sept. 8, 2011  Another hurricane (Irene) and the basement was fine... a tropical storm up the coast and the sub pump gave out.  The water reached half way up the furnace.

How to restart a oil hot water furnace that was under water. 
ONE: turn off the power... drain the water in the basement and then you need to drain the firebox... you MUST drain the fire box.  A shop vac with a very small hose to get to the inspection port.  Use something to tape to a large hose to get the water out.   Cut an old garden hose and attach it to the big shop vac hose with some duct tape.  Let the thing dry for some 8 hours especially the furnace igniter control box, if it got wet.  I'm moving mine way up this time...

TWO:  Make sure there is no water in the furnace fire box.  Flick the power switch on.  If the furnace starts... you got lucky.  But most furnaces have an electric eye to check for flame.  My Honeywell furnace control has three wires to the motor/ignitor and two from the electric eye (F).  The two (T) terminals are shorted (Temp) as my furnace has separate temperature sensors to request heat.  If you have the Honeywell R8184 (grey with red reset button) it should have a red light.  That red light is a "request for heat"...  so the furnace blower and ignitor should be running with the red light and the reset button down.  If you have flame it will most likely run for 45 seconds, then the reset button will pop.


This is 5 a.m the next day, water still coming in like a bandit but the replacement sub pump still working.....
IF YOU DID GET FLAME - It will most likely pop the reset button.  That's because you will see steam from the wet interior. That will "cloud over" the electric eye and think there is no flame.  You must wait 30 seconds or so and hit the rest button.  It will ignite again, and more and more steam will be created.  My furnace had steam (white smoke) pouring out of every  pipe joint as the system is cold and no warm air to make it go up the chimney and expel all the initial white smoke.  It will pop the reset button, but you will see the heat start to register in the furnace.  The popping of the reset will take longer as the steam goes away.  I must have sat a half hour or more resetting the box.  Finally the furnace warmed the water to 180 degrees and the red (request heat) light went out.  I had to go to work, so I left it.

Arriving home I went in the basement and the temp gauge was at 165 degrees...  I went upstairs and turned on the shower, went in the basement and watch the furnace kick on twice as the shower water drained the heat from the furnace.  Hot water again.

There is no way to bypass the safety button.  Holding it down won't work.  Shorting the "F" cables won't work either as the safety switch needs to see different voltages when the furnace is off and the furnace is running.

When in doubt.. call your oil repair person.


Click here for more pictures

Fast forward to mid March, 2012.  One morning my wife gets up for work, and no hot water.  I check the furnace and the "reset" light is on.. not good.  I hit the reset button and the motor "buzzes".  Great, I smack the back of the motor and it starts right up !   I wait down there to see if it restarts after the tank cools off and I also check the oil tank.  I have enough oil and it restarts a few more times when I take my shower.


Checking the Internet I find that the "buzzing" is a bad capacitor, common in pool pump motors too.  I start too look for the instruction manual to my Heatwise burner and see it takes a 20mf capacitor.  I also post that manual as there are NO instructions to that burner anywhere.  That's also when I find the company went bankrupt in Nov. 2011.  A company bought out their parts, but their current  "home burner" doesn't look like mine and they wanted $180 for just the motor.  So I buy a capacitor and start to check on replacements.   One thing I did not do it check into is a LP gas replacement.  Two other time in the next two weeks it kicks off and still buzzes.  I pick up a Beckett AFG with Beckett 7505 Genisys on E-bay for $200, new.  The seller switched to gas, this was a soon to be replacement for his old oil burner.  March 31 and 1 1/2 hours later I'm in business again.  Just checking the burn rate to make sure this burner can keep up with the hot water demand.

   Heatwise top     Heatwise back     Heatwise front  My oil guy said he never saw one of these.

I took it apart Heatwise3545     Heatwise3546   Heatwise3547   Heatwise3548   Heatwise3549
I spun the motor fan and could hear the bearing noise, plus it looks like the oil pump was starting to leak.

    Beckett top          Beckett side 


Becket controllers.... don't put them in damp basements.

June 2nd 2012 and after a big rainstorm overnight I have no hot water.  I find the sub pump was working but the furnaces is off.  I hit the rest button and the furnace starts up, but the "green" light on the new controller is not seeing the flame.   After a few seconds running.. it shuts off.   After trying a few thing, even exchanging the CAD light, it will not stay running.

I swap out the controller with a spare I bought, no go.  That one won't even get the furnace running. 
I called the guy that installed this and he tries.  He then tries a different "fancy" controller he had and no go.
So he strips all the wires and goes back to a 3 wire basic controller that was on the old furnace.... starts right up....

Sooooo if you get one of these fancy new Beckett controllers and you have a damp basements... I might not last long.   Three months or so.  What a shame.
The simple grey controllers were working on my furnace since 1993...  Plus I bought a fancy top display.  Lot of good that did... that goes back to E-bay.