Oil furnaces are efficient and reliable, but like any home appliance, they need routine maintenance and occasional repair. There are six main reasons you would wake up to a cold house. Use this troubleshooting guide to diagnose the problem:
Thermostats are continuously subjected to electrical impulses as they monitor your home's temperature and signal the furnace to turn on or off. Electrical impulses create heat that eventually wears down the components inside the thermostat. A power surge can also damage it. If the furnace will not turn on, then you probably need to replace the thermostat.
Dirty Flame Sensor
The flame sensor activates the burners until the correct temperature is reached. While heating oil today is much cleaner than what was produced 20 years ago, it still contains some sediment. Normally, this sediment sits at the bottom of the oil tank. When you run the tank to almost empty, the sediment is sucked into the furnace and settles on the flame sensor. A dirty flame sensor will shut down the burners before your home is properly heated.
Clogged Burner Nozzle
There is a nozzle at the top of each burner. It opens and closes to increase or decrease the flame. A clogged nozzle will only allow a small flame to pass through, if any. Again, this problem usually occurs when your oil tank is near empty and sediment enters the heating system. No flame, no heat.
Inoperative Supply Air Fan
The supply air fan moves the heated air through the ducts in your home. The most common problem is a worn or torn fan belt. Once in a while, the fan motor burns out, especially in older oil furnaces. If the burners turn on but no heat is coming through the room registers, then the supply air fan could be the problem.
Heating Duct Leaks
The heating duct system has many pieces seamed together. These seams are the most likely place for heat to escape. While you can manually check the seams in an open basement, you'll need an HVAC technician to find any leaks behind walls or above the ceiling. Additionally, if you insulate the ducts located in unheated parts of your home, such as the basement or garage, you can significantly reduce heat loss in these areas.
Dirty Air Filter
Your HVAC technician replaces the air filter during the preseason maintenance check, and it usually lasts the entire winter. A common problem in some homes, however, is placing the clothes dryer too close to the furnace air filter. The filter attracts escaping lint and can get clogged rather quickly. If it is not possible to move the clothes dryer to a different part of the basement, then plan on replacing the furnace air filter mid-season.
For more information, contact Dowe and Wagner or a similar company.