Let’s face it, nobody wants to deal with a heating system that’s not working. But it’s always a good idea to know how to perform simple heating oil safety and troubleshooting checks on your heating system so you can keep it running smoothly and safely for longer.
Can I troubleshoot my heating oil system?
Absolutely! There are four fairly common reasons why your heating system won’t work. So, if you wake up to a cold house one morning, check these out before calling for help.
Cause #1: Your thermostat got turned down. Check to make sure your batteries are good, and your thermostat is set to a warm setting.
Cause #2: Your electricity is off. Your furnace or boiler needs electricity to get things rolling, so if there’s a blackout in your neighborhood or a circuit is blown, your furnace or boiler probably won’t work.
Cause #3: The emergency shut off switch has been flipped. It happens. The emergency shut off switch looks just like a regular light switch, except bright red. Make sure the switch is set to ‘on’. If you have more than one switch (most people do!), then be sure to check them both.
Cause #4: You’ve run out of heating oil. Check the fuel gauge on your tank. If the indicator is below 1/8 or isn’t visible at all, the tank may be out of oil and in need of a refill.
For more detail, be sure to read Troubleshooting 101.
What’s a heating oil tank safety check?
You might not think you need to do a heating tank safety check each year, but we guarantee that when you learn the cost to clean up an oil leak – you’ll be down into your basement ASAP making sure everything is in tip-top shape. Trust us, it’s worth it. Be sure to follow this 9-point inspection to make sure your oil tank is good-to-go.
Point #1: Vent pipe. Located outside, make sure it’s not clogged with snow or other debris.
Point #2: Fill pipe. Make sure it’s clear and there are no signs of leakage.
Point #3: Tank surface. Look for rust, oil “weeps”, wet spots, or excessive dents.
Point #4: Tank legs. Legs should be stable and on an even foundation.
Point #5: Beneath the tank. Look for leaks or signs of leaks.
Point #6: Oil filter. Look for leaks or signs of leaks under or around the oil filter.
Point #7: Oil lines. Look for leaks or signs of leaks along the entire oil line.
Point #8: Tank gauge. Check the gauge is working.
Point #9: Age of tank. Confirm that your tank is less than 25 years old.
If you want more detail, read The Heating Oil Tank Safety Check.
Consumer Heating Oil Safety Concerns
If you’re new to heating your home with oil, you may have some questions about safety. Here are some common questions.
Is heating oil flammable?
What consumers actually want to know with this question is: will my heating oil tank spontaneously catch fire and burn down the house? Well, you can relax, because the answer is “no”. Your oil has to be heated to 140°F and vaporized before it will ignite.
Can my heating oil tank leak?
While not common, a leak can happen. That’s why it’s important to take a few minutes to do a heating oil tank safety check to make sure your tank is up to snuff. Click over to Heatable’s Heating Oil Tank Safety Check to learn how to do a 9-point oil tank safety inspection.
What happens if my heating oil tank leaks?
If you suspect you have a leak, it’s time to act.
Turn off all sources of flames and sparks in the area (we’re being extra extra safe here).
Open window and ventilate the area.
Keep children and pets away from the area.
Call a professional!
Should I worry about carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you. It’s produced any time you burn fuel – in cars or trucks, engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, furnaces, even gas refrigerators. It’s a good practice to install a carbon monoxide detector in every room to keep your household safe.
What about the environment and public health?
With the advent of Ultra Low Sulfur (ULS) heating oil, heating your home with oil has become better for the environment and public health.
Want to learn more? Read Consumer Heating Oil Safety Concerns for more details.
Learn more about Heating Oil
Visit our Ultimate Consumer’s Guide to Heating Oil for everything you need to know about heating your home with #2 heating oil.
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