FAQS

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PARAFFIN (KEROSENE) BURNERS

Q Burner flares up when first lit, after pre-heating
A Insufficient preheating - To burn paraffin (kerosene) cleanly, it is necessary to vaporise it with high initial heat. Until you get to know how much methylated spirit is required for adequate pre-heating, it is better to use too much than too little. It is important to let the burner cool if you need to go through with the preheat process again. NEVER pour methylated spirits over a hot burner. We suggest that you seriously consider using a small gas blow torch for preheating.

Q Burner flame slowly reduces
A Tank too full or balance of fuel to air too great - If the tank is filled more than about two thirds full, the pressure will drop quite quickly due to lack of air space. During continued us fuel in the tank will decrease and pressure will drop. The solution is to re-pressurise to 20-22psi

Carbon build up in burner - Carbon will build in the burner and this can occur quite quickly if inferior quality fuel used OR A LOW BURNER SETTING IS USED. Always use the best fuel available. It is a good Idea to get into the habit of tapping the burner while alight, with the handle end of a knife. This will help dislodge carbon which you will see being burnt off as sparks. It is advisable to do this just before shutting the burner off to minimise the risk of solidifying. Carbon can also be cleared by removing the burner and soaking in ammonia. If the burner is totally blocked it should be replaced.

Main jet blocked - use "self pricking " system to clear. Rotate control knob fully anti-clockwise. It is also a good idea to get into the habit of using this procedure on a regular basis before shutting down your system.

Balancing jet blocked - Remove the burner and clean balancing jet. Suspect dirty fuel, ensure the in-line fuel filter is fitted.

Q Strong smell of paraffin
A Paraffin spillage in the pre-heating cup - Clean outside of burner and check for leaks.

Fuel leaks in at the gland packing screw - You may find that, due to expansion when the burner is hot, a leak will occur at the gland packing screw. This leak will show a vapour or maybe a small flame. This happens particularly when the burner is new and the graphite packing washer is not settled in OR conversely when it is worn. Tighten the gland packing screw just enough to stop the leak. If necessary replace the packing washers.

Q Irregular burning (blue one side of burner, yellow the other)
A Carbon build-up on the main jet - Turn the burner control knob fully anti-clockwise to the "Clean" position to operate the cleaning needle. Repeat a few times. If this keeps happening, suspect dirty fuel. Strain the fuel and ensure that an in-line fuel filter is fitted.

Burner caps outer and/or inner not seated correctly - Check that both caps are sitting correctly. square with the burner top, and not tilted. Clean any carbon deposit that may have built up in the burner caps.

Main jet worn or faulty - Replace.

Tank pressure too low - Normal working tank pressure, is 15 25 psi but pressure should not be allowed to drop below 15 psi. Re-pressurise tank.

Faulty pressure gauge - If the flame is consistently too low, test the pressure gauge against a tyre gauge as it may be over reading, thus making the tank pressure too low.

Carbon build-up in burner - See answers for "burner flame slowly reduces".

Q Burner rupture
A Excessive pressure in fuel line - Replace burner.

Note: with a safely control valve fitted in the fuel line, so that the appliance can be separated from its fuel supply, it is very important that this valve is OPEN before preheating starts. If it is left closed the fuel/air between the safety control valve and the burner control valve will expand, possibly to the point of rupturing the burner gallery. The burner will then have to be replaced.

Burner damaged through incorrect removal - Replace burner.

Note: to remove the burner from the heater, it is necessary to use 2 spanners. Having undone the lock nut, use one on the connecting nut and the other on the burner base. Tempting though it may be, NEVER hold the burner around the body with your hands while using a spanner. WORSE STILL, NEVER PASS A SCREWDRIVER OR SIMILAR TOOL, BETWEEN THE FEED PIPES AS THIS WILL FRACTURE THE BURNER BODY AND CAUSE LEAKAGE.

Q No fuel to burner
A Not enough fuel or pressure in the tank Check the fuel and pressure levels, particularly if the boat is occasionally heeling away from the tank exit point.

Cleaning needle blocking main jet - Check that when you turn the burner knob anti-clockwise to the "clean" position the needle can be seen working. If it cannot be seen, remove the main jet and inspect. Replace the cleaning needle if necessary.

Dirt in fuel - Check tank and fuel supply line for blockage. Ensure you have fitted an in-line fuel filter in the fuel line from the tank.

Q Burner flame "surges"
A Balancing jet not in place or worn oversize.

Check that the balancing jet is in place as without it the burner flame can surge to the point at which it goes out. If the jet is missing, replace. If the jet is worn from repeated cleaning, replace. In an appliance using a single burner, such as a heater, it is sometimes possible to substitute the balancing jet by throttling the fuel flow with the safety control valve, keeping it just cracked open. This will not work where more than one burner is involved. The flame surges if the burner is more than 2' from the tank. The burner creates more pressure than it can use and vaporised fuel forces liquid fuel back against the tank pressure. As the burner demands more fuel, liquid surges back to the burner making the flame surge. Hence the need to make some restriction in the fuel line close to the burner i.e. the balancing jet.

Note: If you have 1/4" fuel pipe and no lock nut on the bottom of the burner, you will have an old specification burner and will need to replace the pipe work to put in a new burner with the balancing jet.

Q Fuel continues to come through when control knob is OFF.
A
Spindle point worn or blocked or does not seal - check the pricking needle is positioned correctly then clean or replace.

Q Tank looses pressure
A Faulty non-return valve at base of pump - Replace pump.

Check tank for leaks with a mixture of soapy water (leaks will blow bubbles)

Q Where can we find paraffin?
A In the U.K. a company called Caldo Oils, St. Helens, Lancashire, Phone
01744 813535, produce a very good quality paraffin, and if you contact them they
will advise nearest stockist. Otherwise paraffin can normally be obtained from
garden centres like Homebase etc because it is used to heat greenhouses.  The
big advantage of paraffin equipment is that it is very economical on fuel and if
you carry a 5 gallon container it will last a very long time, and can be
topped-up before it is all used.  Paraffin can normally be obtained overseas
around marina areas or from the equivalent of hardware shops.  A customer in
Greenland informed us that he uses jet aviation fuel which he can buy from his
local, small airfield.

Q How long does a tank last?
A
A gallon of fuel will give about 40 burner hours (i.e. 1 burner 40 hours but if 3
burners were used on a cooker about 13 hours).

 

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Copyright 2001 Blakes Lavac Taylors
Last modified: August 26, 2004