Common Oil Furnace Problems And What To Do About Them

Posted: December 21, 2020

oil furnace repair rhode islandAs you settle into winter, the last thing you want to find yourself up against is an issue with your oil furnace. Still, oil furnace issues do arise in at this time of year, and it’s important for you to be ready for them. The good news is that many of these problems are easy to identify and easy to solve.

Troubleshooting An Oil Furnace

Here are four common trouble spots and what to do about each of them.

  1. The furnace won’t turn on. If your furnace refuses to come on, the first thing we recommend is that you check your thermostat. The thermostat should be on “heat” with the fan mode on “automatic.”

    You should also check your tank gauge to see how much heating oil you have. If you’re running low, contact us to schedule a delivery, or better yet, sign up for automatic delivery! If you are completely out of oil, you’ll need an emergency delivery.

    Please CALL us at 401-231-8070 for emergencies. Do not email.

  2. The system makes strange noises. Your oil furnace may make a range of noises, and more often than not, these sounds mean that something needs to be addressed. Here are ways to handle each of the sounds you might hear coming from your furnace.
    • It rattles. If your furnace rattles or makes a clattering sound, you may have a loose access panel. If you see this is the case, tighten any loose panels. If the problem persists, contact us.
    • It knocks. A knocking sound means that there’s air in the fuel lines. If that’s what you hear, the solution is bleeding the fuel lines, which you should not do on your own. Contact us and let us know.
    • It squeals or screeches. The high-pitched squealing or screeching of a furnace that needs a repair is never fun to listen to. This kind of nose generally means that one of the belts or the blower motor has an issue. Before you check it out, be sure the furnace is properly shut down. Then, if the belt seems loose, adjust the tension. If it is frayed or worn out, contact us to replace it.
    • It whistles. If you hear whistling, it’s likely that blocked air is trapped in the filter. This is usually the result of dust or dirt that has not been removed. Replace your filter. (This should be done at least every three months. Learn more about the process here.) If the whistling continues, please contact us.
    • It grinds. A grinding sound coming from your furnace is never a good thing, and it’s not something you should try to fix. It generally indicates an issue with the motor bearings. Turn off the furnace right away and contact us.
  3. The furnace is releasing smoke or soot. Either of these could be an indication of a carbon monoxide (CO) leak and need to be addressed by a professional immediately. If you see smoke or soot, contact us right away. You should also be sure to have CO detectors on every floor of your home, including the basement. Test them regularly and change the batteries twice a year.
  4. The furnace is cycling. If your furnace goes on and off too often, it’s likely that you either have a clogged air filter or a thermostat that needs to be replaced or repaired. Check both. If the issue is the air filter, clean it or replace it (depending on what kind you have). If you need assistance checking your thermostat or have other questions about how to prevent or stop cycling, contact us.

It’s important to make sure you’ve gotten an annual tune-up by now, if you haven’t, contact us today to make an appointment. We can also answer any questions you may have about our heating oil service plans.