An oil furnace can last between 15 and 25 years, and many people still rely on them. Even though they have a lower energy-efficiency rating than natural gas furnaces, they produce more heat per BTU than heaters that use other types of fuel. Of course, caring for your oil tank and ensuring your furnace is in good working order is vital if you want the device to keep you and your family warm during the long winter nights. Even with routine maintenance, several typical oil furnace problems might develop.
Oil pumps are essential to this kind of furnace because they transport oil from the oil tank to the oil burner. The oil system must be primed and free of any debris that could cause blockages. Additionally, there can’t be any leaks in the oil pumping system that allow air to enter the oil line via the pump. Even a pinhole in the oil pipe can cause this sort of problem. Oil pump issues such as a non-functioning oil pump or inefficient heat production can occur if air is sucked into the line or if the line becomes clogged.
Signs That the Oil Pump Is Broken
If you hear an unusual noise when you are starting up the furnace or turning it off, this is a sign that the oil pump is not functioning correctly. There is a possibility that you will hear sounds such as slamming, popping, rattling, or screeching.
Inadequate heat distribution from your furnace could be to blame if you have difficulties maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home. The thermostat setting not agreeing with the actual room temperature is a common symptom of oil pump malfunction. You could also feel a significant temperature difference between different rooms in your house.
If your loved ones have been suffering from headaches and other flu-like symptoms, it may be a red flag. When multiple people in your household complain of regular headaches, burning eyes or ears, nausea, or confusion, you might suspect that your furnace is emitting carbon monoxide. If you do have such a suspicion, reach out to us at Totally Cool Heating & Air immediately.
Causes of a Broken Furnace Oil Pump
An oil pump filter can become clogged with junk, and this is especially likely if the filter has either never been replaced or hasn’t been changed in a very long time. When the filter becomes clogged, fuel oil cannot pass through the filter medium, resulting in the oil pump losing its prime. Occasionally, the muck will pull through the line and plug the nozzle.
Another possible culprit is a leak. Oil delivery lines are typically fabricated from copper, steel, brass, or iron and can be laid atop or beneath concrete basement floors if buried underground. They are susceptible to corrosion and leakage when they come into contact with elements such as dirt and water.
You could also have a leak in some other line. In most cases, leaks in lines can be found around the fittings, valves, or filters. A leak will cause the pump to lose its prime because it will allow an air bubble to enter the line. The presence of raw fuel oil on the floor or a strong odor of fuel oil near the tank is a sign that you should have a professional take a look.
A loose nozzle in the oil pump can also cause problems. If the nozzle is not securely fastened, air will be allowed to enter the fuel line, resulting in the fuel pump losing its prime. It is advisable to call a professional heating technician to tighten the loose nozzle.
Perhaps your oil pump is simply too old. As noted earlier, an oil furnace can survive well past 20 years, but older equipment tends to heat your home less efficiently. Oil pumps can be changed out, but if your furnace is approaching the end of its useful lifespan, you should consider replacing it. If you don’t know how old your furnace is, you may be able to determine that by looking at the serial number on the equipment.
Seek Professional Assistance
If you do identify or suspect a problem with an oil pump, you should not attempt to fix it on your own. Trust our qualified professionals at Totally Cool Heating & Air to deal with this sophisticated component for you. Our highly trained technicians routinely handle heating, cooling, and indoor air quality assessments, repairs, installations, and maintenance throughout the Austin area. We’ve been doing this work for 35 years. Call us today to arrange an appointment.