While there are many reasons your oil heating system will stop working, some problems happen more frequently. But if you know what to look for, you may be able to find the solution on your own.
Problems With Power
If your heat stops working and you’ve made sure it is related to your house only—not a wide-scale power outage– your next step should be to check to see if the power switches to your boiler or furnace have been accidentally turned off.
If you find that power switches for your heating system have been turned off by mistake, simply turn the electrical switches back to the “on” position and your problem should be solved.
There is a power switch located on the side of the heating system or on a wall nearby. Farther away, often at the top of the basement stairs, there is an emergency switch with a red cover plate that is labeled. People will sometimes turn this switch off by mistake, thinking it is the light switch for the basement.
If your power switches are not the problem, check your circuit breaker box to see if all circuit switches are still in the “on” position. Flipping the proper switch to “on” again may be all you need to get your system running again.
However, a circuit breaker rarely ever trips for no reason. If this happens once and never happens again, it may be just a fluke. But if this happens more than once, call for service, as this could indicate a serious problem.
Make sure your thermostat is set above room temperature and to HEAT. Check to see if you need new batteries too. Remember, it is the thermostat’s job to send a signal to your boiler or furnace to call for heat. But this signal may be interrupted if the wiring of the thermostat has begun to deteriorate. A build-up of dust inside your thermostat is another common reason why your thermostat is not operating correctly.
Maintenance Can Prevent Problems
If you have a warm-air oil furnace, change or clean the filter on a regular basis during the heating season. A filter clogged with dust compromises efficiency and can cause your furnace to shut down.
If you have a steam oil boiler, check the water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause for boiler shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be “flushed” when the water in the gauge looks rusty. Talk with your heating oil service provider if you’re not familiar with this procedure.
If you have a hot water oil boiler, make sure the water level of the boiler is at half-full. The boiler’s automatic filling system, controlled by the pressure-reducing valve, should maintain the proper water level at 12 to 15 psi of pressure. If there isn’t a pressure-reducing valve, manually feed the boiler by opening up the water feed valve until the boiler pressure reaches 12 psi.
And of course, you should always schedule professional preventive maintenance (ideally, in the spring when your heating oil service provider is not as busy as now). This will help you to rest easy so you don’t have to worry about your furnace or boiler breaking down during the winter. Regular service also improves efficiency, helping you to conserve fuel.
No Heating Fuel
If you call to order fuel, make sure you keep a close watch on your oil storage tank—especially during a cold snap. Don’t wait until your fuel level gets too low. It’s recommended that you call when your oil tank is about one-quarter full.
To save time and worry, ask your heating oil company about programs that have been designed to significantly lower your chances of running out of fuel, such as automatic delivery.
Time For A Reset
If all else has failed, press the red reset button on the oil burner. The reset button is a safety control that shuts the burner down if a problem is detected. If your system doesn’t start after you push the reset button the first time, do not push it again. Pushing this button more than once can flood your system with oil, resulting in a costly repair.
If the burner starts but stops again after a few minutes, you should call for service.
Final Step: Call For Service
If you still can’t get heat, it’s time to call in a professional to find and fix the problem.
You can always expect a fast and courteous response from your New Jersey heating oil service company whenever you need help. That’s one of the most important differences between utility companies and local heating oil companies.
Utilities have been conditioned to think more about numbers than people, in large part because they are monopolies that are more focused on financial and operational aspects than on customer service. In this respect, they are the opposite of local heating oil companies. Just ask yourself: who would you rather call when you have a no-heat emergency?
If you’re thinking about replacing your old oil furnace or oil boiler with a new, high-efficiency oil heating system, please go here and then contact your heating oil company.
Aside from the fuel savings you’ll realize each year on heating your home, you may also be eligible for two different waves of New Jersey rebates, which could save you as much as $1,400 on qualifying high-efficiency oil heating systems.