Oil burners are heating systems used on some furnaces that utilize liquid oil as a fuel source. Oil is sprayed into an ignition chamber, where electrodes create a spark that starts it burning. The flame is used to heat air that is then forced through ductwork to warm a home. Because liquid oil does not burn as cleanly as natural gas, the build-up of soot is possible in the burner. Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure the oil burner is working properly and efficiently.

Maintenance Tips

An oil burner should be removed from the furnace and cleaned once per year. Turn all power off to the furnace before performing any maintenance. Follow the oil line to find where it enters the furnace, this will be the burner. Replace the filter at the point the oil line enters the burner. Any debris in the filter will reduce its efficiency.

Inspect the outside of the burner assembly and mounting plate for cracks. Any parts that show damage, or look like they might have a leak, should be replaced. Wipe away any buildup of oil or soot on the burner. Vacuum all parts of the burner to remove dust.

Inspect the electrical wires and high voltage transformer for signs of wear or damage. Any parts that look like they may be damaged should be replaced. Verify that the electrical reset button has not been tripped. Having to reset this is a good indication that there is a serious electrical problem.

Visually examine the electrodes that ignite the oil spray. They should also be replaced if they show signs of wear or are cracked. Replacing these electrodes requires specialized tools to ensure proper ignition of the oil spray. The tools are inexpensive, but this is an operation that may best be performed by a professional.

Replace the spray nozzle. Make sure to use the same type of nozzle, with the same spray pattern and angle. Nozzles with different spray patterns and angles will not be correctly aligned with the electrodes and will not ignite properly.

Ensure Proper Operation

After the burner has been cleaned, and all necessary parts replaced, reassemble it and put it back on the furnace. Turn the power back on to the furnace and follow the ignition procedure for the appropriate model of furnace. The burner should ignite immediately and with no noise. If there is a delay in ignition, or a popping sound is heard, the spray nozzle is misaligned with the electrodes.

During the year vacuum the area around the furnace regularly to prevent build up of dust and dirt. Keeping it clean is the best way to prevent needing oil burner repair Long Island.