When Your Air Conditioner Won't Work

When Your Air Conditioner Won't Work

Preventative Maintenance For Your Residential Oil-Fired, Forced-Air Furnace

by Clara Fernandez

Your home's oil-fired furnace needs yearly preventative maintenance to keep it in tip-top running shape. A well-maintained furnace will run longer, use less electrical power, and use less heating oil. With the ever-increasing electricity and oil prices, any savings on your winter heating bills is a win for your wallet.

Since "preventative maintenance" is an ambiguous term, you must understand what you, as a consumer, should expect to happen during this type of HVAC service appointment.  

Here is a rundown:

Step 1: HVAC System Inspection

A residential oil-fired, forced-air furnace is comprised of three sections:

  1. An electric blower motor
  2. An oil burner
  3. Ductwork

The oil burner generates the heat, and the electric blower motor forces the heated air into your home through the ducts. The process is simple, but there are many small parts involved in the process. Each part needs to be clean and in good repair for the system to function as designed and be energy efficient.

Oil furnace preventative maintenance appointments begin with the HVAC contractor performing a detailed, overall system inspection. They look at the type of system you have and look at the blower motor, oil burner, and ductwork to determine if there are any apparent problems needing to be addressed. The most frequent are ducts that have rattled loose and must be duct taped back together.

Once the basic inspection is completed, the technician will move on to cleaning and servicing the oil burner and blower motor.

Step 2: Oil Burner Cleaning and Maintenance

Maintaining an oil burner requires cleaning and replacing various parts. The preventative maintenance service will include the following:

  • checking and cleaning operational electrodes and solenoids
  • inspection and adjustment of the fuel cone
  • replacement of the fuel nozzle
  • inspect and clean the fuel pump
  • replacement of the fuel filter and gasket

In addition, the burner fan will be cleaned.

Step 3: Furnace Blower Motor Cleaning and Maintenance

Before turning on the furnace and testing the oil burner, the blower motor needs to be cleaned and oiled. To do so, the HVAC tech will do each of the following:

  • clean and oil the blower motor bearings
  • clean and oil the squirrel cage bearings
  • check the belt for damage and the correct tension

Additionally, the furnace filter will be replaced.

Step 4: HVAC System Testing and Fine-Tuning

The final step in your heater's preventative maintenance appointment will be firing up the HVAC system and checking its overall operation. In addition, the tech will check:

  • oil pump pressure
  • burner flame production
  • combustion efficiency
  • draft production
  • safety controls

Lastly, the technician will check the burner's smoke production and adjust the system to ensure it is burning clean and not producing black smoke from unburned oil.

Reach out to a company like Johnson's  Heating &  Cooling to learn more.  


About Me

When Your Air Conditioner Won't Work

My name is Maura, and I am certified in HVAC installation and repair. I have many clients who call me in a panic because they have turned on their air conditioners and nothing has happened. Your air conditioning technician will get to you as soon as possible, but there are some steps you can take while you are waiting. You might just find that you are able to fix the problem on your own, although you will still want to have a professional assess the situation. In this blog I will take you through some common reasons your air conditioner might not be working and show you some easy temporary solutions.