How to change a becket burner to use waste oil

Written by robin reichert
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Rising oil prices and escalating home heating costs are causing homeowners who heat their homes with fuel oil to consider alternative energy sources. Waste vegetable oil from restaurants and used motor oil from auto garages can be burnt for heat using a Beckett burner as long as the burner is converted using the proper method and parts. Converting a furnace to burn waste oil is a challenging endeavour and should only be attempted by those who fully understand how an oil burning furnace operates.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Replacement heater block and nozzle
  • 4-inch tubing
  • 10-32 all-thread nuts for electrodes
  • Junction box measuring 4-11/16-inches square
  • Retention head
  • Temperature controller
  • 10 amp relay with 120 volt coil
  • Float tank with 3/8-inch valve
  • 120 volt coil air solenoid with 1/8-inch opening

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  1. 1

    Cut the original fuel tube and remove the filler rod. Thread the original fuel tube into the top port on the heater block.

  2. 2

    Remove the fuel pump. Waste oil burners use air pressure to move the fuel through the fuel line. Install 4-inch tubing as an exhaust pipe. Route the fuel line straight down through the blast tube until it is positioned in front of the burner housing and sticks out about 1/8-inch from the blast tube. Keep the nozzle flush with the retention head.

  3. 3

    Lengthen the electrodes by using 10-32 all-thread coupler nuts. Keep the electrodes well away from the heater block. Bend the electrodes until they are 3/8-inch above the centre of the nozzle and 1/8-inch apart. The electrodes should also be 1/32-inch in front of the nozzle.

  4. 4

    Install the second square junction box that will contain the primary safety equipment, the digital temperature controller and the relay. Set the temperature on the digital temperature controller to heat between 60 degrees C to 93.3 degrees Celsius. Set the alarm to 0-6.667 degrees Celsius below the lowest temperature setting.

  5. 5

    Wire the primary safety terminals through the alarm terminals on the digital temperature controller to prevent the burner from starting up until the heater block reaches the proper temperature. This will prevent oil from being sprayed until the oil is properly heated and the burner is ready to ignite the fuel.

  6. 6

    Install a new retention head on the furnace. Choose a retention head that is designed to burn waste oil. The original retention head will not work properly with waste oil and may gum-up. This, in turn, will block air flow.

  7. 7

    Install a new flat tank and connect the tank to the fuel inlet at the bottom of the furnace blast tube. Keep the length of the line connecting the two under 3 feet long. Remove and relocate the cad cell to fit about halfway in the blast tube by drilling a hole through the blast tube and attach.

  8. 8

    Set the air pressure to between 5 and 15 PSI. Higher air pressure will atomise the oil in smaller droplets but will increase the firing rate. Adjust the plate on the bottom of the heating block to seal the fuel line to avoid leaks.

Tips and warnings

  • When installing the nozzle, do not over-tighten and be careful not to cross thread the nozzle in the block. Over-tightening the nozzle can break it and cross-threaded nozzles will destroy the heating block.
  • Do not attempt to convert your furnace if you are not completely confident of your ability to complete a safe conversion.
  • Hot oil is extremely flammable and can cause serious burns and/or death. Use extreme caution when working with heated oil.
  • Always wear protective eye goggles and gloves to protect your hands.
  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is readily available and working properly in the event of an accidental fire.

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