During periods of extreme winter cold—which New Jersey residents know all too well—you can go into a panic when your heat suddenly stops working. But before calling your heating oil service company, remember that there are many types of malfunctions that can cause your system to operate poorly (or not operate at all).
The problems explained here are not only quite common, but are relatively easy and inexpensive to fix. Sometimes, you may be able to solve the problem on your own.
Tripped circuit breaker or power switches turned off
If your heat stops working, these are among the first things you should check. First, it often happens that the power switches for the heating system have been turned off by mistake. Simply turn the electrical switches back to the “on” position and your problem may be solved.
If that’s not the problem, going to the circuit breaker box and flipping the proper switch may be all you need to get your system running again, but please keep this in mind: A circuit breaker rarely ever trips for no reason. If this happens once and never happens again, consider it a fluke. But if this happens more than once, contact your local oil heat service company as this could be a sign of a serious problem.
Check your thermostat
Heating systems may stop working because of a problem with the thermostat, which sends a signal to your boiler or furnace to generate heat. But these signals may get erratic if the wiring is deteriorating. A build-up of dust inside your thermostat is another common reason for a thermostat to malfunction.. You may also just need to change the batteries in your thermostat.
Dirty air filter or improperly balanced dampers
If you have a warm-air oil furnace, change or clean the filter on a regular basis during the heating season. Dust and dirt are the natural enemies of your furnace; a dirty filter compromises efficiency and can even cause your furnace to shut down. And if you are experiencing uneven temperatures from room to room, your system dampers may be unbalanced. Adjustments are needed to improve air flow through your duct system. Another common problem with ducts is air leakage.
Checking your oil tank
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 oil heat 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 oil heat company will get a delivery truck to your home as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing heating problems and can’t find a solution on your own, please contact your full-service heating oil company and they will be glad to help.