Common Oil Furnace Problems
Oil furnace problems can be the cause of major headaches — especially when they happen in the middle of the night — during the dead of winter. If you are proficient with home improvement and electrical work, you may be able to fix some of these problems. However, if you are unsure or hesitant, call a reliable and experienced HVAC contractor.
Below are some common oil furnace problems:
- Burner not operating: This is a very generic name for a host of problems that include the unit is not getting fuel oil or the thermostat is set too low. It may also be something as simple as a blown fuse, open circuit breaker, or simply the boiler switch is in the “off” Check your fuel level, thermostat, fuses and switch, if any one of them are the culprit, make the necessary fixes to get up and running again.
- Burner is operating but won’t fire: The furnace may lack fuel, or there is a clog somewhere that is preventing oil delivery. Most clogs occur in either the nozzle, filter and oil lines. If a clog or lack of fuel isn’t the problem it could be a weak transformer, poorly set electrodes, too much air, or oil pump failure. If your furnace lacks fuel, call for an immediately delivery, otherwise call a contractor.
- Burner is smoking: Symptoms include a partially plugged nozzle, poor burner adjustments, or an improper end cone. Other possibilities include not enough air, a plugged chimney or clogged heat exchanger. For problems such as these, you should call an HVAC professional immediately.
- Excessive fuel use: This may be a sign of an improperly sized, or poorly adjusted furnace (hopefully the latter, which can be solved by simply making the proper adjustments to ensure efficient operation). Other symptoms may include poor home and ductwork insulation, leaky windows and doors, windows left open, etc. A homeowner can easily solve many of these problems by going through their home and making sure it is properly insulated and that there are no leaks and drafts in the home.
The key to preventing most of the problems listed above is to make sure you have your heating system maintained by a competent HVAC contractor. They know what needs be done to keep your furnace operating smoothly, and peak efficiency during the winter heating months.