All You Need to Know About Nozzles

Although small, the nozzle is the heart of the heating system. Without it, your heating system wouldn’t be able to generate warm, comfortable heat. The nozzle breaks up heating oil into tiny droplets to allow for combustion, and delivers the heating oil to the combustion chamber in specific patterns that allow for efficient heating.


Primary Functions

The nozzle performs three primary functions: atomizing, metering, and patterning.


  1. Atomizing – The nozzle breaks the fuel into tiny droplets between .0002 and .010 inches in size that can be vaporized quickly when exposed to high temperatures. The fuel is broken down into approximately 55 billion droplets, which expand the burning surface area to about 690,000 square inches. The smaller droplets promote fast and quiet ignition and produce a flame front close to the burner head, whereas the larger droplets take longer to burn but help fill the combustion chamber.
  2. Metering – The nozzle is dimensioned to deliver atomized fuel to the combustion chamber within about +/- 5 percent of rated capacity. Nozzles come in different flow rates to satisfy different needs. For example, there are seven flow rates available for nozzles that dispense between 1-2 gallons per hour (GPH).
  3. Patterning – The nozzle delivers the atomized fuel to the combustion chamber at a spray angle and pattern that’s best suited to the burner. Spray angles range from 30-90 degrees. Typically, round or square combustion chambers are best fired with a 70-90 degree angle, whereas long, narrow chambers require a 30-60 degree angle.


Nozzle Troubleshooting

An oil burner nozzle can corrode, clog, develop sludge formations, warp, shift, and overheat over time. The way the nozzle is working can make or break the way your heating system operates, so it should be inspected routinely by a professional technician. Our experienced, highly-skilled technicians have a thorough understanding of flow rates, angles, and spray patterns, and can test the performance of your nozzle to determine if it’s working properly. If your nozzle needs replacing, we can replace it. Contact us to today to schedule an equipment evaluation and find out.