Updated: Oct 10
There are many benefits to maintaining your oil furnace such as ensuring you have proper airflow, improved safety, increased energy efficiency, and reduced repair costs. It doesn't require a furnace expert to keep your oil furnace running at top efficiency! You can follow these seven steps to help complete your fall furnace maintenance with ease.
1-Turn off your furnace- Turning off your furnace is as simple as turning off the power to your furnace. Typically, a furnace's electrical power switch is located near the burner or at a location designated by your home's power switches. These switches usually are bright red, making them easy to locate. You also want to turn off the fuel supply via the fuel shutoff valve located near the oil tank or the incoming gas pipe. The valve should be clearly marked and simple to operate.
2-Remove debris from the furnace combustion chamber- There is a metal box that surrounds the furnace's gas burners which houses the combustion chamber. Keeping this clean helps prevent build-up that could cause corrosion. To clean the chamber, you will need a small wire brush and a small vacuum to remove any loose material from the chamber wall. While you are cleaning the chamber, it's a good rule of thumb to check for cracks and holes. If one is found, please contact a professional to address this further.
3-Check your flue pipe- Here you want to check the flue pipe for any cracks or holes. If they are minor, you may patch them with foil tape but if the pipe has larger holes or cracks you will need to replace the flue pipe. During your inspection, you will also need to check the barometric damper. This is used to control the draft inside the furnace. It features a round door with an adjustable weight. To adjust the barometric damper, locate the weights and scale on the device and follow the manufacturer's instructions. They should provide a standard number to use as a guideline to keep your furnace running efficiently. If you are unsure how to accomplish this, please refer to the furnace manufacturer for additional guidance.
4-Replace the Oil Filter-The oil filter is located close to the furnace. Its function is to stop small impurities from clogging your oil burner nozzle. To change the filter, close the oil valve and remove the old filter. Install the new oil filter and dispose of the old one according to your local hazardous waste regulations. You should replace your filter twice per heating season.
5-Change the Air Filter- Begin by referring to your manufacturer's handbook to obtain the correct air filter for your furnace. Remove the old filter located inside the furnace or inside the furnace's return air vent. You will want to note the airflow direction to allow for easy installation. Once removed, insert the new air filter in place. It's best to replace the air filter every 1-3 months, depending on the size of your home. Mark your calendars and keep a record of the dates you have replaced all your filters!!
6-Adjust the Burner and Test Its Efficiency- To do this, you will need to perform a complete combustion analysis to measure gases and calculate efficiency. See the attached video for this part of the process:
After you perform your analysis, the data can be used to evaluate your furnace's combustion parameters.
7-Clean the Floor Vents- This is the final step of your fall furnace maintenance. Take a few minutes to vacuum the floor vents and remove any debris. Doing so, can help your furnace operate at maximum efficiency and prevent any debris from impacting your air quality throughout your home.
Please note while you are performing your maintenance checks, you want to keep in mind several key considerations. Always maintain safe working conditions. If at any time you discover a gas leak, contact a furnace professional immediately and keep your system turned off. Inspect the other components of your furnace such as the fan and ensure they are working properly. Be cautious and aware, don't leave anything to chance. If you are ever unsure how to complete any of the above steps, please contact a furnace professional. Good luck and happy heating!!