If your oil furnace isn't putting out warm air, you can troubleshoot and possibly repair the problem yourself. But if you use the wrong troubleshooting techniques to check your furnace, you might do more harm than good. Here are things you shouldn't and should do when you troubleshoot your oil furnace.
Don't Press the Reset Button More Than Twice
When a furnace stops working properly, you usually press the reset button to see if the furnace turns back on. However, resetting the furnace more than two times is a big mistake. You're actually telling the furnace that it's low on oil and needs more fuel to burn. As a result, the furnace's combustion chamber fills up with more fuel oil than it actually needs.
If you manage to restart the furnace after resetting it multiple times, the fire and heat from the furnace can ignite the oil. Now, you have to worry about a fire destroying your home. Instead of resetting the furnace again, check the motor inside the furnace to see if it has enough oil in its ports to keep it functional.
Do Check the Furnace's Motor and Refill the Bearing Oil
The motor needs small amounts of household oil to keep it from rusting inside, or from stalling when it's on. If the ports are dry, the motor quits.
You can check the motor to see if it has enough oil in each port yourself; however, you need to get your hands dirty to do so. If your furnace's motor is covered with a seal-tight housing, remove the cover with a screwdriver. The owner's manual that goes to your furnace may show you how to remove the cover properly.
After you remove the cover, follow the steps below:
- Locate the oil ports or caps on the motor. The ports might be placed on the sides of the motor, near the openings that cover the fan. Otherwise, look for small openings on the motor's housing, or look over the manual for your furnace to locate the ports.
- Stick the end of an ear swab into each individual port, and then remove it. If the ports contain oil, the swabs will emerge wet, and you don't need to add anymore oil. If the swabs emerge dry, proceed to the next step.
- Place one or two tiny drops of motor inside the ports.
- Replace the furnace's cover.
- Wait a few minutes, then try to reset the furnace.
If the furnace doesn't restart, stop and call in a professional heating specialist.
Do Call Your Heating Expert for Furnace Repairs
The best thing to do at this point is schedule services with your furnace repair technician, like one at Sullivan Super Service. Some older furnaces stop putting out warm air when their parts become outdated or too old to power the appliance. Other furnaces require new motors to replace their overworked ones.
Your contractor will most likely check the entire furnace, including the motor, to see if he or she can fix it. If not, the contractor may suggest that you purchase a new furnace to improve the comfort of your home.
In addition, your contractor may check the air ducts in your house to see if they contain too much dirt and other debris. Sometimes, contaminants can build up around the furnace's parts and keep them from working right. This happens as the furnace pushes and pulls hot and cold air through the ducts. Rather than stick to the furnace's air filter, the contaminants sneak by it and adhere to the furnace's motor, igniter and other workable parts.
Finally, be sure to schedule a maintenance appointment for your furnace in the fall season to avoid problems with your appliance in the winter season. The maintenance check will find problems early, which may save you time on repairs later.