Guide to: How an Oil Burner works

How an Oil Burner works

An oil boiler consists of two main elements

1) A cast iron or mild steel box wrapped in a jacket of water

2) A burner firing flames into the heart of the box to heat the water that circulates around it and the pipework

The burners in domestic oil boilers are known as ‘single stage’ burners and typically operate as follows:

– 230V is sent to the burner when there is a demand for heat and the water temperature is lower than required

– instantly, a motor is energised and a fan purges the combustion chamber of ‘stale’ air

– the same motor turns the cogs within an oil pump and oil is primed at low pressure

– a light sensor (photocell)  checks that the combustion chamber is dark (not already alight) before initiating ignition

– a solenoid on the pump is energised allowing oil to be pumped at high pressure through an atomising nozzle.  This is ignited by high voltage passing across a pair of electrodes

– the light sensor looks for light and when detected the ignition spark ceases and the burner fires until target temperature is reached

This sequence is typically regulated by a control box which has a reset button should the process not be completed (i.e. if fuel is not present or any of the components fail).

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