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Two Common Oil Furnace Issues To Be Aware Of

If you have an oil furnace that you run to keep your house warm during the cold Canadian winters, then you likely know that you need to schedule yearly maintenance to keep your heater running properly. This maintenance can be completed by a furnace repair specialist. The changing of oil filters and the inspection of oil tanks may not completely eliminate the need for future repairs though. This means that you should be well aware of the various signs that a repair needs to be completed. Keep reading to learn of two signs of an oil boiler problem and what the symptoms likely mean.

Problem: Boiler Running Through A Single Cycle

Oil boilers heat up either water or steam and a temperature gauge within the heater informs the boiler when it should turn on. The boiler cycles on for several minutes until the appliance reaches the high heat thermostat temperature. If the boiler is cold, then it may need to cycle on and off several times in a row to produce heat for your home. In some cases, the boiler may cycle only once and then turn off.

When the oil boiler does not cycle on its own, then you are forced to fire your boiler by pressing the reset button on the front of your boiler. If this problem persists though, it indicates that the boiler is not sensing a flame when the ignitor tries to light the oil being sprayed into the boiler. This may mean that oil is not flowing to the spraying mechanism or you may have a problem with the ignitor creating a proper spark. Your furnace repair specialist will need to inspect the issue.

What You Can Do In The Meantime

If a furnace specialist cannot make it to your home right away to fix your oil boiler, then you may want to try removing sludge from your oil line. Sludge can clog your oil line and this can reduce the amount of oil that can flow through the boiler spraying mechanism. This sludge generally sits in your oil tank and it is made up of dirt, debris, and water. When your fuel oil starts to run out, then this sludge can flow into your oil line. Your oil filter may collect some of this sludge, but the material can solidify in your oil line before it even reaches your oil filter.

You can break down the sludge in your oil tank and fuel lines by purchasing a dispersing agent that is made for home heating oil tanks. These products, along with ones that remove the water from your oil lines, can help keep fuel running smoothly.

Problem: Black Smoke When Firing

Your oil boiler will spray a small amount of oil into the combustion chamber of your furnace and when enough oil is present, a spark will be created and the oil will start on fire. Generally, the oil will burn completely to produce a clean flame. Sometimes though, you may see a small amount of dark smoke coming from the underside of your furnace when it cycles on.

This problem indicates that too much oil has sprayed into the combustion chamber before the spark created by the electrodes could light the fuel. The smoke also may mean that fuel and oxygen did not mix in the appropriate amounts to create a clean flame. In some cases, the ignition may spark late as well and cause the accumulated fuel oil to light aggressively. Spray nozzles and ignition electrodes need to be inspected, cleaned, and adjusted to make sure that ignition and smoking problems do not persist.

What You Can Do In The Meantime

If you are anxious to get your furnace up and running, then you can try to clean the spray nozzle and electrodes that feed into the combustion chamber of your furnace. Soot and oil debris may sit on these components and cause ignition problems. Cleaning them may eliminate your problem, so open the front cover of your furnace and look for a hole on the back of the cover.  

The nozzle will feed through this hole and the electrodes will sit above it. Use a clean cloth to wipe these pieces clean. Close the cover and try to light your furnace again.  

If you have an oil furnace or boiler, then you need to be aware of problems and issues that may occur with your heating system. The two issues listed above are common ones and the information tells you what a furnace repair specialist like Just In Time Furnace Inc will need to look into.