It won’t be long before you’re turning up your thermostat to call for heat. To ensure you get that heat when you need it, we suggest testing your heating oil system now to make sure there are no problems. If you can’t get heat, follow these troubleshooting steps first to see if you can solve the problem before calling your heating oil company for service. It’s better to find out if you have a problem now instead of on the first cold night of fall.
If your heat stops working and you’ve confirmed that there isn’t a power outage in your neighborhood, your next step should be to check for a tripped circuit breaker or see if the power switches to your oil boiler or oil furnace have been accidentally turned off
If you find that power switches for your heating system have been turned off by mistake, simply turn the electrical switches back to the “on” position and your problem may be solved. If only all solutions were that easy!
There is usually a power switch located on the side of the heating system or on a wall nearby. In addition, farther away, often at the top of the basement stairs, there is an emergency switch with a red cover plate that is labeled. People will sometimes turn this switch off by mistake, thinking it is the power switch for the basement light.
If your power switches are not the problem, check your circuit breaker box to see if all circuit switches are still in the “on” position. Flipping the proper switch to “on” again may be all you need to get your system running again.
However, please keep this in mind: a circuit breaker rarely ever trips for no reason. If this happens once and never happens again, it may be just a fluke. But if this happens more than once, contact your heating oil company for service, as this could indicate a serious problem.
Many instances of heating systems not working can be traced to the thermostat, whose job it is to send a signal to your boiler or furnace to call for heat. But this signal may be interrupted if the wiring of the thermostat has begun to deteriorate. A build-up of dust inside your thermostat is another common reason why your thermostat is not operating correctly. Another thing to look for are weak batteries in the thermostat.
Obviously, if this is the problem, you need to contact your heating oil provider for a delivery. Moving forward, if you call to order fuel, make sure to check your heating oil tank regularly. You should call before your fuel level gets too low. It’s best to call when your oil tank is about one-quarter full. To save time and worry, ask your heating oil company about enrolling in its automatic delivery service to lower the chances of running out of oil.
If you haven’t found the problem yet, press the reset button on the oil burner only once. Pushing it more than once could flood your system with oil, resulting in a costly repair. If the burner starts but stops again after a few minutes, you should call for service.
One more tip: you should always schedule preventive maintenance from your heating oil service company so you don’t have to worry about your furnace or boiler breaking down during the winter. Annual service will also improve efficiency, helping you to conserve heating oil.