Heating Oil Furnace Maintenance & Cleaning (Plus DIY Tips)
Every HVAC system needs to be cleaned and maintained yearly, and that is especially true for an oil furnace. Your heating system should last you for 10-20 years, and if you don’t have heating oil furnace maintenance performed regularly, it can lead to inefficient heating and an early death of your furnace.
I have been cleaning and servicing oil systems for 15+ years, all in the Havertown and Mainline areas. I’ve found through experience and training that when you let an oil system go without cleaning for too long, you start to see problems. The buildup of soot and dirt prevents your system from working properly. In this article, we will talk more about why and how to maintain your oil furnace.
Why Oil Furnace Cleaning Is Important
Maintaining and cleaning your oil furnace is essential for several reasons. Regular maintenance not only improves the efficiency and performance of your furnace but also ensures its longevity. As we mentioned already, your furnace should last for 10-20 years.
Service helps prevent breakdowns, reduces the risk of safety hazards, and saves you money by reducing energy bills. Neglecting oil furnace maintenance can lead to decreased efficiency, increased fuel consumption, and even potential health risks. By following a few simple steps, you can keep your oil furnace running smoothly for years to come.
How Frequently Should You Schedule Your Oil Furnace Maintenance?
Ideally, you should schedule professional heating oil furnace maintenance for your oil furnace at least once a year. It’s best to do this before the heating season begins, so you can ensure that your furnace is in optimal condition when the winter arrives.
Regular maintenance visits by a professional technician will help identify and address any issues before they become major problems. They will also keep your system clean and free of soot and dirt.
Six Essential Steps for Oil Furnace Maintenance
Here is what our technicians do when we come out and service your oil furnace:
One: Shut Off the Furnace
Before we start any maintenance tasks, we ensure that the power to the furnace is turned off. This is crucial for safety reasons. We locate the emergency switch or circuit breaker and switch it off to prevent any accidents while working on your furnace.
Two: Clean Soot and Debris
The next step is to clean the soot and debris that may have accumulated in and around your furnace.
Usually, we use a vacuum cleaner or a soft brush to carefully remove any dirt, dust, or loose debris. We pay attention to the burner compartment, blower compartment, and heat exchanger.
Three: Flue Pipe Inspection
Next, it’s time to inspect the flue pipe for any signs of damage or blockage. The flue pipe is responsible for removing combustion gases from your furnace. Ensuring that it’s securely connected and free from any obstructions is important. If you notice any cracks, gaps, or signs of deterioration, contact a professional technician to repair or replace the flue pipe.
Four: Change the Filters
Both the oil filter and the air filter play vital roles in maintaining the efficiency of your furnace.
The oil filter traps impurities and contaminants from the heating oil before it reaches the burner. Over time, the filter becomes clogged and affects the furnace’s performance. If you are replacing this yourself, consult your owner’s manual to locate the oil filter and replace it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s generally recommended to replace the oil filter annually or as specified by the manufacturer. This is something we can take care of.
The air filter prevents dust, dirt, and other particles from entering the furnace and affecting its operation. Check the air filter regularly and clean or replace it as needed. A clean air filter improves airflow and ensures better combustion efficiency.
Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on cleaning or replacing the air filter. We will replace your air filter, but this should be done more often than every time we come out.
Five: Inspect and Adjust the Burner
The burner is the heart of your oil furnace, responsible for igniting the heating oil and producing heat. Inspecting the burner for any signs of damage, corrosion, or clogs is essential. We clear away any debris or residue that may have accumulated on the burner. If we notice any issues that require adjustment or repair, we will point them out and replace them.
Six: Inspect and Clean the Floor Vents
Lastly, we inspect and clean the floor vents or registers in your home. We remove any obstructions, such as furniture or rugs, to ensure proper airflow. After that, we’ll vacuum or wipe away any dust or debris that may have accumulated on the vents. Clean vents help distribute warm air evenly throughout your home, improving comfort and efficiency.
DIY Oil Heater Maintenance
While some maintenance tasks require professional expertise, there are a few things you can do yourself to keep your oil furnace in good shape.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
If you have an oil furnace, it’s best to familiarize yourself with common furnace issues and their potential solutions.
For example, if your furnace isn’t producing heat, check the thermostat settings, ensure that the emergency switch is turned on, and verify that there’s oil in the tank. Understanding basic troubleshooting techniques can help you identify and resolve minor issues on your own, without having to call in a professional.
Understanding Your Warranty and Registration Details
Review your furnace’s warranty and registration details to ensure you’re aware of any specific maintenance requirements or recommendations. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines can help you maintain warranty coverage and receive support in case of any major issues. In lots of cases, professional maintenance is required annually to maintain your warranty.
Make the Most of Your Owner’s Manual
Your furnace’s owner’s manual contains valuable information about maintenance procedures, troubleshooting tips, and safety guidelines. If you run into a problem, take a look into your manual. It will provide you with insights into your specific furnace model and help you perform maintenance tasks correctly.
Advantages of a Heating Oil Maintenance Contract
Consider signing up for a heating oil maintenance contract for your furnace. These contracts typically include regular maintenance visits, priority service, and discounts on repairs. A professional technician will ensure that your furnace is running efficiently and address any potential problems early.
What to Look for in an Oil Heating Maintenance Contract
When choosing a heating oil maintenance contract, look for a provider with a good reputation, experienced technicians, and comprehensive coverage. Review the contract terms and conditions, including the frequency of maintenance visits and the scope of services provided. Compare prices and offerings from different providers to make an informed decision.
Consider an Oil Budget Program
At John Cipollone Inc., we provide an Oil Cap Budget Program that locks in your price for oil, and stretches to cost over the course of the year. Instead of paying big sums of money in a short period of time during the winter, this plan spreads your payments out into monthly installments. We also lock in the price of the oil you are buying, so it doesn’t become too expensive if the price of oil rises sharply.
How often should you maintain an oil furnace?
It’s generally recommended to schedule professional maintenance for your oil furnace at least once a year. However, if you use your furnace extensively or live in an area with harsh winters, it’s advisable to schedule maintenance twice a year. Here in PA, once a year is fine.
What happens if you don’t clean your furnace?
Neglecting to clean your furnace can lead to decreased efficiency, increased fuel consumption, and potential health risks. A dirty furnace may not distribute heat evenly, causing certain areas of your home to be colder than others. It can also produce more pollutants and contaminants, which can negatively impact indoor air quality.
What is the average life expectancy of an oil furnace?
The average life expectancy of an oil furnace is around 10 to 20 years, depending on various factors such as regular maintenance, usage patterns, and quality of installation. Proper maintenance and cleaning can significantly extend the lifespan of your oil furnace, ensuring reliable and efficient heating for many years.
If you are looking for help with your heating oil furnace maintenance or heating oil delivery in Havertown, PA, give us a call at (610) 446-7877, or click here to contact us online!