When it’s five degrees outside and the wind is howling, the last thing you need is to lose your heat. But every winter, many people in New Jersey get stuck in this situation—for a variety of reasons.
One of the most common reasons is a power outage. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do in this situation—unless you can run your heating system off a generator. That’s because heating systems will not operate without electricity—no matter whether your fuel is heating oil, natural gas, propane or obviously, electricity. (Only some very old heating systems can operate without power).
That’s the bad news. The good news is, if you lose your heat and a neighborhood power outage is not the culprit, many times you may be able to solve the problem by yourself.
Before calling for no-heat service, try these steps to see if you can get your furnace or boiler to start making heat again.
- Make sure you have fuel in your tank.
- Check to see if the power switch for the heating system is turned on.
- Look for a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
- Confirm that your thermostat is set above room temperature; check the batteries too.
- Push the reset button on your oil burner—but not more than once or you may flood the system with oil.
If you still can’t get heat, it’s time to call in an oilheat professional.
Avoiding fuel run-outs
Another common reason for losing your heat is running out of heating oil. During periods of extreme cold, check your fuel tank level often, even if you are enrolled in an automatic delivery program. Your oilheat dealer does not want you to run out! It’s recommended that you get more oil when the level in your tank has reached the one-quarter mark. Your oilheat company will get a delivery truck to your home as soon as possible.
Clearing your driveway
Just because your car can get in and out of your driveway after a snow storm doesn’t necessarily mean that fuel trucks can. Oil delivery vehicles need a 9-foot- to 10-foot-wide clear path in your driveway to allow enough room for maneuvering. Your heating oil provider cannot make a delivery if a driveway is not clear, so please make sure that this is done. Driveways should be salted too. You should also maintain a clear path to your oil tank and fill pipe.
Please contact your oilheat company if you have any concerns about staying safe and warm.