Q. Down Draught causes
flame to blow out (hear "popping" sound)
Negative Pressure - This is caused by the flue exit being sited too near
some structure or influence (sail downdraught) that creates a localised pressure
greater than the inside of the cabin. Typically it occurs when high winds hit
the boat at a point i.e. where it hits the mast a deck house or a stowed dingy,
close to the flue cowl. The flue should be raised high enough to take it clear
of such influences. Time and thought in fitting, to find the best practical exit
point through the deck, is well spent. In extreme cases an "H" cowl
can be fitted in place of the standard cowl.
Lack of adequate pre-heating -
extinguish burner, allow to cool and re-light
using longer pre heating period.
Flame pipe above deck too short or not
insulated - extend length and ensure that pipe above deck is insulated to
guard against a 'cold' barrier at deck head.
Fuel backs up in the drip feed sight glass
Drip feed rate to high - The ideal drip rate will vary with climate and
season. Reduce the drip rate accordingly.
Carbon build up in burner pot - Clean the burner pot paying particular
attention to the fuel entry point in the base. On heaters made after 1989 where
a "T" junction is fitted to the pot base, the fuel entry point can be
Air lock - Not usual but air locks can be cleared by momentarily releasing
the nut securing the fuel pipe at the base of the drip feed sight glass and
re-tightening. In some cases it may be necessary to drill a 1/32" (0.8 -
1.0mm) hole in the metal part of the sight glass body, just above the glass,
this will help relieve air locks.
Q Fuel drip rate slows and
Air vent on tank not open - Unscrew the tank filler cap off its
"O" ring sealing enough to allow air into the rank via the hole in the
Faulty magnetic safety valve or thermocouple (blue button) - First check
that the thermocouple probe is located through its hole in the burner pot (
upper rear left hand side when looking through the door). Check the other end of
the thermocouple is properly secured by its nut into the valve. Renew the
magnetic control valve or thermocouple as necessary.
Drip feed valve needle loose - Check that the gland nut, where the
control needle enters the drip feed valve body is tight enough to prevent too
much free movement of the needle, shaft, possibly through engine vibration. The
needle shaft should also be lightly greased to eliminate backlash where it is
gripped by the "O" ring.
Suspect fuel - Unfortunately the quality of diesel fuel is not always
constant. The in-line fuel filter provided with all new models and also
available as a spare part should be fitted - Dirt in the fuel tends to be
obvious and it can be filtered. Some fuel seems to build up sediment in the
metering valve particularly around the needle. To clear it, all that is needed
is to close the valve to physically clear the sediment and then open it again.
Fuel waxing – Diesel fuel will wax in very cold conditions to the
extent that it will no longer flow. If it is not possible to move the tank to a
warmer place then insulate the tank and also the fuel supply line. Anti-waxing
fuel additives are also available.
Fuel tank not high enough above valve - The relative height of the fuel
tank above the valve i.e. "head of fuel " is Important. The closer the
tank to the appliance, the smaller the head required.
Q Black smoke emission,
Inefficient burning and excessive carboning
Too much / too little fuel - In most cases the problem is caused by trying
to run the heater too low. Either too much or too little fuel will result in
black smoke and soothing up. Ideally there should be some blue colour in the
flame. Controlling the drip rate accurately is crucial.
Flue not long enough - Poor draught will result and lead to heavy carboning,
and soothing in the heater body and flue. The minimum flue length is around
89Omms (35 "). If it is not possible to increase the flue length inside the
cabin, it can be added outside. If this is done, be sure to insulate the outside
section (use heat resistant material) otherwise the temperature differential
within the flue will tend to cause a down-draught.
Dirty flue - After a period in use the flue will start to soot up even
given the cleanest burning. This soothing will be obvious if you look down the
flue from on deck and it should be cleaned before the problem gets worse.Q Heater
is difficult to light
draught – Given an efficient flue, the resulting strong draught can cause
lighting problems (when matches blow out etc,). An alternative method of
lighting is to use a short length of paper towel soaked in methylated spirits.
Pass the end through the lighting hole and then light it.
Wrong fuel for pre-heating - Pre-heat with methylated spirits (alcohol)
Q Can DIESEL heaters be
run on PARAFFIN
- Or on a mixture of both
PARAFFIN (KEROSENE) BURNERS HEATERS
Q Burner flares up when
first lit, after pre-heating
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-healing, 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
Q Burner flame slowly
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 use 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
Paraffin spillage in the pre-heating cup - Clean outside of burner and check
Fuel leaks 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)
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
Q Burner rupture
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
Q No fuel to burner
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
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
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 (contact Blakes Lavac
Taylors. for details).Q
Fuel continues to come through when control knob is OFF.
point worn or blocked or does not seal - Check the pricking needle is positioned
correctly then clean or replace.
Q Tank looses pressure
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
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
A a gallon of fuel will last about 30 hours.