Avoid Oil Furnace Repair: Oil Furnace Maintenance Tips

man working on a furnace

Oil furnace repair is inevitable, as is repair with all machines. In oil furnaces, there is a certain degree of wear that will eventually cause the machine to malfunction. But there are ways you can slow this wear and thus reduce needed maintenance. Although oil furnace systems are more complex than other machines, they never the less can be carefully maintained to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns and frequent repairs. One way to reduce needed repairs on these oil furnaces is to understand more about their structure and how they work. The five tips below will help you with that understanding, along with suggestions on providing basic maintenance that will help prevent the need for major repairs.

Prepare a Maintenance Checklist

checking boxes on a list

Inspection is a key element in the maintenance of an oil furnace. By frequent inspection of the furnace's stack control, blower, and thermostat levels, you will be in a better position to identify early problems before they can cause more serious problems.

The Blower

Regular cleaning and lubrication of the blower will help reduce improper operation of the blower and help avoid frequent and unnecessary turning off and on. These erratic conditions, if not caught and corrected early, may affect operation of the furnace's burner which, in turn, can cause improper heating. This cleaning and lubrication process should be done before the heating process begins. When this heating process is halfway through its cycle, you should lubricate the blower as well as its fittings.

The Thermostat

Thermostat settings, because they have such a direct effect on furnace heat, must be inspected and adjusted on a regular basis. When heat is too high or too low, the furnace may work inefficiently. The thermostat is a crucial component in maintaining desired amounts of heat.

The Stack Control


Monitoring of the oil burner's operation is a function of the stack control, a device that monitors this operation and shuts off the motor when the burner fails to ignite. Shutdown of the furnace can be caused by failure of the stack control, rather than of the burner. To reduce the frequency of this failure, you will need to remove soot and dust that accumulates, coating the stack control during the heating cycle. This should be done at the halfway point in the heating cycle. To effectively check the stack control when the burner fails to ignite, your first move should be to examine the fuel tank and fill if it is low on fuel. Next, depress the stack control's reset button. If the burner ignition fails, clean the control and try the reset button again.

Trouble-shooting Furnace Operation

Common oil furnace problems you should be able to resolve without help, along with their most likely solutions are those listed below:

  • Rapid on-off furnace cycling - clean and lubricate the blower.
  • Sudden furnace failure - check circuit breakers and clean oil pump strainer
  • Burner malfunction - clean the blower
  • Noisy furnace - lubricate the motor, adjust thermostat setting, change belts that may be damaged, tighten access panels, clean the burner.