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  1. #1
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    Default Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    Looking at another forum I say an HI in Colorado that was unfamiliar with oil fired H2O Heater, furnaces and boilers. This I found very curious.

    Which leads me to the question:

    Am I wrong to expect all HI to be knowledgeable in the inspection and the operations of all oil fired systems ?

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  2. #2
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    Gary,
    My license is in Texas. There is no practical need for me to have knowledge of oil fired equipment other than to know it exists.


  3. #3
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    I would think at a minimum a HI should know about the external controls and safeties that are on steam and hot water oil boilers. Also a bit of knowledge about barometric dampers would be helpful.


  4. #4
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    Why. There aren't any in this region. If I ever run across one, I will refer it to an HVAC pro. So far in five years of inspection and twenty years of maintenance, I have never seen one in a residential setting.


  5. #5
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    They are common in NC and there are questions on the HI exam pertaining to boilers. TX may be different but the OP did not ask for a state by state breakdown. I agree if you do not know anything about an oil boiler you need to refer it to someone that does. They are much more dangerous than a gas boiler.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    They are common in NC and there are questions on the HI exam pertaining to boilers. TX may be different but the OP did not ask for a state by state breakdown. I agree if you do not know anything about an oil boiler you need to refer it to someone that does. They are much more dangerous than a gas boiler.
    Can't say I agree with this part. A properly installed oil-fired unit is no less safe than a gas-fired unit.

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  7. #7
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    You must have never seen a boiler after oil is sprayed on a hot heat exchanger when it misfires. Most gas boilers have a proof of pilot before the main gas valve opens....most oil boilers have electrodes that are supposed to light the oil upon contact. If that does not happen and the heat exchanger is still hot enough the oil vaporizes and can explode.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Looking at another forum I say an HI in Colorado that was unfamiliar with oil fired H2O Heater, furnaces and boilers. This I found very curious.

    Which leads me to the question:

    Am I wrong to expect all HI to be knowledgeable in the inspection and the operations of all oil fired systems ?
    Garry,

    In my area of CA, we do not have oil-fired anything. This may be the same case with the CO inspector. I don't know if oil is common or uncommon in CO

    How are you on requirements for seismic anchoring?

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    Ok, Sorry, Maybe I should have qualified the locations of the HI and lack of certain heating systems in geographic areas.

    Also, I made an assumption that oil fuel is a more common fuel source. The CO HI on the forum was going to a property that had an oil burner and had no experience with them, which initiated my OP.
    I will have to look into prevalence of fuel oil use geographically.

    It just struck me odd that the HI had no knowledge of oil burners in an area I thought would have oil fired equipment. Apparently CO does not commonly use oil as a fuel, though with the increase of recycling it may become more prevalent in the future.

    On the central east coast we have every type of heating source that is used. Jades me in that area a little, have to know all types and over the decades I have worked on just about all types.

    On a personal note, I tend to find interest in a lot of thing that are not prevalent in my locality. Curiosity . My kids would ask why I was interested in something that I have no practical use of and I would reply, just curious.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Garry,

    In my area of CA, we do not have oil-fired anything. This may be the same case with the CO inspector. I don't know if oil is common or uncommon in CO

    How are you on requirements for seismic anchoring?
    I would say that I am fair on the requirements, not an expert due to lack of actual installations in my geographic area. I have read a fair amount on seismic anchoring as it has been developing over the past 30 years, finding the evolution of practical application interesting. Fair amount of physics in college and always found application interesting.

    I would have to review the local codes to get up to speed and I would take more time looking at the application and installations. But I would be able to hit the ground running.

    I would not expect every HI to be expertly versed in areas of construction that are not used in their area. Though I would expect them to have basic knowledge.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    Having grown up working on boilers, I knew more about oil burners as a teenager than I can remember at this time in life. Back then a glance at the unit and I could figure out the issue. Nowadays I have to really look at it and think about it. Besides the fact I don't work on old systems much anymore, the bigger issue is that there are fewer and fewer around here. Oil burners are becoming a thing of the past here.
    However, to Garry's real question. That is, should an HI acquire knowledge about a particular system prior to going out and doing an HI. The easy answer to that is, YES. Obviously, guys who do real inspections, not checkbox garbage, are most likely doing so.
    I typically look up the listing on an HI prior to going out to get an idea about the property. Very rare that there is something unfamiliar in the City. In the far out suburbs though I come across some atypical stuff I don't see often.
    I think its important for your service to the client to look up such systems and have a rudimentary understanding. If you don't, how are you going to answer client questions, see red flags, put anything meaningful in the report? Obviously you won't be an expert in that component but you at least have to know if the thing is relatively kosher or not.
    Of course if you have good insurance and a glossy garbage checkbox report in a nice 4 color binder, who cares.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    I would not expect someone to recognize the difference between high pressure steam boiler system and a vacuum vapor steam system. But would expect HI to understand basic boiler operations. Same for oil burners. In my area Swamp Coolers for residential HVAC are not used, but I would expect a HI to recognize one and understand its operation. The same for seismic anchoring, don't have to have one to know about it.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    For general information and the curious.

    Found a sites that shows the use of heating oil in Colorado. Far less than I thought.

    Cities with the Highest Percentage of Households heated by Fuel, Oil or Kerosene in Colorado | Zip Atlas

    Use of heating oil in other states.:

    Historical Census of Housing Tables -House Heating Fuel

    Heating Oil


  14. #14
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    As a result of this thread, we all know what Garry expects all HIs to know. OK.


  15. #15
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Experience with oil fired furnances & boilers?

    In NC you see very few new oil systems due to the high cost per BTU of fuel. Oil is about the same cost per BTU as propane and electric heat (non-heat pump electric). This means that the oil systems that I do see are old and need to be looked at closely as they could have problems that need to be corrected for safety reasons.


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