• NY845-351-4700
  • NJ973-827-8179
  • PA570-618-8055

How to Troubleshoot Your Oil Heating System

A well-maintained oil heating system is essential for keeping you and your family warm during the cold winter nights. However, sometimes, proper maintenance does not keep your oil heating system from experiencing breakdowns and further issues.

Sometimes, there are straightforward solutions to oil heating system problems. Troubleshooting can be effective in fixing your oil heating system. However, if you do not feel confident troubleshooting your oil heating system, don’t worry! Contact HVAC experts to handle the stress of your oil heating system.

If you’re interested in our oil heating services, feel free to contact us online any time, or you can call our Pennsylvania number at (570) 618-8055. You can also reach our Tuxedo Park, NY office at (845) 351-4700 or our Franklin, NJ office at (973) 827-8179.

Troubleshoot Your Oil Heater

The Oil Heater Suddenly Goes Off

If the oil heater suddenly goes off, it probably means the thermostat isn’t set correctly. It could also mean that there is low fuel or a blocked air filter.

  • Check the settings on the thermostat to see if they are set as they should be. If you’re not sure of their usual settings, refer to your manual. If the thermostat is working, take a look at the fuel tank to get a real idea of the levels of fuel and rule out low fuel as a possible cause.
  • The air filter can also become blocked by dirt and dust, so take it out and make sure it’s clean. Air filters should be checked regularly because accumulated dirt can lead to poor efficiency. Making sure the filter is kept clean and monitoring fuel levels as a regular part of oil tank maintenance should help lower the chances of the heating going off.
  • You can also check the electrical supply to make sure it’s functioning. If everything is as it should be, it could indicate there is a problem with the controls. Common issues include blown fuses, exposed circuit breakers, or damaged wires. However, it’s best to call the experts in to help find the actual cause.

Excessive Smoke Is Coming from the Oil Heater

If there is excessive smoke coming from the oil heater, it could mean there is a blockage in the furnace, a lack of draft, or a warped/cracked gasket.

  • Check for excessive heat coming from the combustion chamber. Excessive heat or smoke coming from the combustion chamber can indicate a blockage in your furnace, which can occur in the chimney, flue pipe, nozzle, end cones, or heat exchanger.
  • Another possibility could be a lack of draft. This occurs when the flue pipe is too lengthy for the furnace, and while this is not a common cause, it’s a good idea to check if this is the case. A burner adjustment might also be required. If you suspect the burner needs to be adjusted, check your instruction booklet/manual for directions on how to do it.
  • You might also want to examine the gaskets that surround the inspection door. Sometimes they become warped or cracked and cause smoke to form. If this is the cause of the smoke, the gaskets need to be replaced.
  • Also, inspect the furnace for signs of clogging, and pay close attention to areas such as the flue pipe, nozzle, and end cones. If there is noticeable dirt, then clean the area or replace end cones or nozzles if they appear damaged.

The Oil Heater Is Burning Up More Fuel Than Usual

If the oil heater is burning up more fuel than usual, it means the oil heater could be dirty or it could have the wrong nozzle, poor ductwork, a blower motor in need of lubricating, pressure originating from the oil pump, or a heater size not appropriate for your property.

  • Check the condition of the heater, and clean it if you need to. Check that the nozzle is a good fit, and if necessary, replace it. If the ductwork looks worn, look for signs of leaks and use duct tape to seal any gaps. Also ensure the ductwork is insulated properly. Look at the blower motor lubrication ports — they might need oiling — and check if the pressure in the oil pump needs adjusting.
  • The problem could be that the heater is simply the wrong size for your property, or it needs adjusting. If you haven’t already, carry out a heat loss calculation to determine if the heater is the right size. Where you can, conserve energy by shutting doors/windows and checking for signs of leaks/gaps in windows frames, which could be letting warmth escape.

The Oil Heater Won’t Come On or Start Up

The oil heater could need resetting. If the oil heater won’t start up, it could also mean there is a faulty connection in the thermostat, a pilot flame in need of cleaning, a switch that’s been turned off, or problems with a gas valve.

  • Check the buttons or switches that operate the oil heater — it isn’t difficult for one of them to get switched off accidentally. Nexttry pressing the ‘reset’ button. However, you should only do this a maximum of two times in case it causes oil to back up and ignite. Allow up to a minute for the heater to start.
  • If there is still a problem, check to see if the thermostat is functioning or if the pilot flame needs cleaning and look at the gas valve. If the pilot flame appears dirty, look at your manual for directions on the best way to clean it. If it’s not a task you’re confident with completing, call a technician.

If you do not feel comfortable handling the pilot flame or any part of the troubleshooting process, don’t hesitate to reach out to the HVAC professionals at SOS Xtreme Comfort. Feel free to contact us online any time, or you can call our Pennsylvania number at (570) 618-8055. You can also reach our Tuxedo Park, NY office at (845) 351-4700 or our Franklin, NJ office at (973) 827-8179.

There Is Not a Lot of Heat Coming From the Registers

If there is not a lot of heat coming from the registers, it could mean that an air filter could be blocked, a fan belt in the supply fan could be broken, or there is a problem with the ductwork.

  • Begin by examining the filter. If it has become clogged with dirt or dust, it will need replacing. If the filter appears fine, then inspect the fan belt and the supply fan. It’s not uncommon for the fan belt to break or just need to be replaced.
  • The ductwork can also corrode over time. Leaky ductwork can be repaired with duct or metal tape or silicone glue — make sure the glue is suitable for high temperatures. Once the repair has been completed, it’s important to check that any combustion gases are being directed up the flue. If there is some corrosion in the ductwork, then this needs expert help.

The Oil Heater Isn’t Heating Correctly

If the oil heater isn’t heating correctly, it could indicate a problem with the igniter, flame sensor, or draft inducer monitor.

  • Take out the igniter and look for signs of damage or wear. If it appears damaged or worn, the igniter needs replacing. If it looks to be in good condition, check for continuity. If continuity is a problem, the igniter will need replacing as well.
  • Sometimes cleaning the flame sensor can be enough to restore heat. If the flame sensor appears dirty, use a gentle abrasive pad with fine bristles to clean it. If cleaning doesn’t work, then it is time to replace the sensor.
  • If you have ruled out a problem with the igniter and flame sensor, it could be that the draft inducer monitor needs to be replaced.

The Blower Stays on Consistently

If the blower stays on consistently, the thermostat may be set incorrectly or the fan could be dirty.

  • Check if the thermostat has been left on ‘continuous’ mode. If it has, adjust the settings. See if there are any obvious problems with the fan such as dirt or dust. The control switch could also be faulty and will need replacing.

The Oil Heater Begins Emanating Strange Odors

Unusual odors can originate from a number of causes. The most common ones are a clogged nozzle, chimney or heat exchanger. It could also be a problem with the end cone, or you might need to carry out a burner adjustment. The other cause of odors or fumes is when the combustion air becomes blocked.

  • Begin by checking the nozzle, chimney, and heat exchanger for any clogging, and then clean them if necessary. Also look for any damage that might have occurred to the heat exchanger or nozzle. If there are signs of damage, then buy a replacement. Odors can develop when the combustion chamber becomes blocked, so conduct a combustion analysis.

There’s No Heating in a Particular Room

If there’s no heating in a particular room, it means an air vent could be blocked.

  • Examine the air vents. If you can detect any air coming from some of the vents but not others, it could be a sign of a blockage. If the cause of this isn’t easily identifiable, seek expert help.

The Thermostat Isn’t Functioning

If the thermostat isn’t functioning, there could be an issue with the power supply or a low battery signal.

  • Take a close look at the visual display on your thermostat. If the battery supply is low or has run out, this should be indicated by a battery symbol on the thermostat screen. If you can’t see anything like that displayed on the thermostat, the cause could be a power supply problem or a faulty thermostat.
  • If the batteries need changing, follow the guidelines outlined in your oil furnace manual for replacing them. If the power supply is working as it should be, then it’s likely you’ll need to replace the thermostat. However, before you do that, identify the source of the problem by speaking to a technician.

Call SOS Xtreme Comfort for Oil Heater Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting your oil heating system can be a complicated ordeal. If you are unsure of what steps to take, let the HVAC professionals handle it! Our trusted team of experts at SOS Xtreme Comfort can assist you with any of your oil heater issues.

Contact SOS Xtreme Comfort online or you can call our Pennsylvania number at (570) 618-8055. You can also reach our Tuxedo Park, NY office at (845) 351-4700 or our Franklin, NJ office at (973) 827-8179.

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