Seven Winter Tips for Oil Furnace Owners

Continuing our series on getting ready for winter, today we’ll be delivering 8 tips for oil furnace owners. Oil furnaces use electricity and oil to heat your home. Essentially a pump and a blower provide forced warm air to zones throughout the house, as dictated by your venting. Oil is popular in Nova Scotia, alongside electric, and a growing number of heat pumps.

If you have oil heat, here are a few tips and tricks for you now that the temperature is dropping across the province.

Keep your furnace well-maintained

Oil furnaces burn oil to produce heat. An efficient furnace will burn the oil completely, with nothing remaining. Burning is destructive by nature, and after thousands of cycles, parts can wear, filters can fill, and remnants can begin to appear. Things like black smoke escaping from the chimney can be a sure sign. Regular maintenance with filter and nozzle replacements are definitely worthwhile.

Keep the furnace area clear

Never leave combustible materials or inflammable liquids in the close vicinity of your oil furnace. Though these appliances operate at lower temperatures, there is always a danger of fire if inflammable articles are kept nearby.

Avoid blocking registers

Ensure that the registers on your oil furnace are free of blocks such as beds, couches, cloth or curtains. Proper clearance is very important for safe operation of your oil furnace.

Check your ducts

Most ducting systems are accessible and should be looked over. Check for cracks and seal them up, and consider closing off areas like insulated garages that could be adversely impacting your heating costs.

Change the air filter

This one is easy, can be done yourself, and should be done regularly. The air filter covers the area the furnace ‘breathes’ from. With many of these units in basement workrooms, dust accumulates quickly. The filter should be changed annually at the least.

Clean and dust

Keep your furnace and the area around it free of dust and grime. Removing the dust can help reduce allergens in the air and prevent burned dust particles from circulating throughout the home.

If furnace doesn’t light up, call in a pro

If your oil furnace does not light up, follow the instructions mentioned in your owner’s manual. Ensure that the fuel tank is not empty. Refill it if necessary and clean out the filter, air blower, control stack and pump strainer. Ensure that the belts are clean and intact. Also check the thermostat level. Beyond these steps, never try to replace or repair parts of the oil furnace yourself.