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Techmation Tips: Burner Issues? You May Not Even Know You Have One…Yet!

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Are you confident your burner is running efficiently?  When was the last time you had a service done on your burner?  Or even looked inside your flame arrestor?  If the answer is “I am not sure” or “I didn’t even know we should do maintenance”.  You may be in for a big surprise!

Having a burner heat your product is one of the most critical elements of oil and gas production.  This is the lifeline of your production and most companies pay far too little attention to this aspect of maintenance.  Companies install all the right parts, adhere to all gas and electrical codes and think the job ends there.  Wrong!  Operating a Treater, Dehy, Line Heater or Tank burner is similar to owning a brand new vehicle.  Would you skip on your oil changes to save a few bucks?  Absolutely not.  Having a gas-fired appliance is no different.  The fuel you consume on your burner contains carbons.  Those carbons, if not properly optimized, can create a black, sooty mess that will eventually lead to a fire-tube full of soot.  You may encounter the burner flame rolling back on your ground and ignition wires.  Possible condensation in your fire-tube, or worse, a fire-tube failure or fire of the entire vessel itself.  Winter is the season where it is imperative you are maximizing your heat on your product.  A time where you cannot afford to have your burner down for any length of time. Combustion / Burner Management Services


Here is an example of an improperly tuned burner with clearly zero maintenance ever done on it.

Techmation Tips - Burner Issues 1

Notice the black carbon, the lazy orange flame, the extremely dirty fire-tube.  This is a disaster waiting to happen.  We see this more times than a customer would like to admit.

This is an extreme case but still is still happening in the oil field today. So what causes this?

  1. Installing a burner with the wrong orifice size to match the BTU output of the fire-tube.
  2. Insufficient fuel to air ratio.
  3. Gas pressure supply to burner is too low.
  4. Undersized burner for application.
  5. Zero maintenance performed on burner, or flame arrested housing.

What Techmation provides is a specialized group of Licensed Gas-Fitters that specifically work on Burner Management Systems, burner maintenance and troubleshooting solutions.  Our goal is to relay the information to our customer to provide a cost effective solution that will remedy this type of issue immediately with the goal of safety first to ensure your burner is correctly installed, that it is optimized to run most efficiently as well as the correct burner for the application intended.

Our Combustion Technician’s will do a thorough maintenance on the burner, the flame arrested housing as well as a visual inspection of the fire-tube.  In this particular case, we recommended a new high efficiency burner and pilot assembly with a secondary air plate, as well as getting the fire-tube and stack professionally steamed with a vac truck.

Once the fire-tube was cleaned, we installed the new burner and pilot and properly tuned the burner to the correct and most optimal setting.  The original burner in this case was running at around 3 psi.  We gauged this orifice to run at 10 psi.  The burner will now cycle as opposed to running constantly at a low pressure and there will be zero chance of a carbon build up in the future. We also perform a combustion analysis to show efficiency, CO, CO2, excess air, primary air and stack temperatures.  These readings as well as the additional information on this appliance were documented in a thorough burner inspection report provide to the customer as well as logged into our database. Once in the database this report will send a yearly reminder that this unit is due for maintenance.

Here is what the new burner looks like after installation.

Techmation Tips - Burner Issues 2

For Combustion Services, please contact us at:

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