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How and When To Press The Reset Button on Your Oil Burner

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It’s feeling a little chilly in the house and you don’t hear the furnace click on when you turn up the thermostat. Before you phone your HVAC company and incur the cost of a service call, try hitting the reset button.

Reset button? What’s a reset button and where can I find it?  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 44% of Connecticut households use fuel oil for home heating. But it’s a fair bet that only a fraction of them know how to reset the system. If you are one of them, don’t panic. Even if you have an aversion to DIY projects, the button is easy to locate and use. But first you need to know when to use it. Let’s start at the beginning.

What is a Reset Button?

All furnaces and boilers have them. They are usually red and labeled, of course, Reset. The button is connected to a sensor that monitors the flame of your burner. When the flame goes out, the button is tripped, causing it to pop up. When this happens a switch inside the burner shuts the system down to prevent further damage. Depressing the reset button may restart the system.

What Causes the Reset Button to Trip?

This can be a complicated answer. But assuming there is nothing major wrong with the unit, there are several reasons for the primary control of the unit to shut itself down.

  • Electrical interruption – During a power failure, or other temporary loss of electricity, your heating system will not work. When power is restored, most units will turn back on automatically. If not, pressing the reset button usually resolves the problem.
  • Out of oil – If there is no fuel coming into the system, the reset button will trip. First, check your gauge. It’s unusual to be out of oil if you are on automatic delivery. But if this is the case, call your heating oil delivery company right away and be sure to let them know the tank is empty. In addition to pressing the reset button after filling the tank, you may need to bleed air from the lines if the unit has been off for a while. If your tank isn’t empty, the shutdown may have been caused by a disruption or blockage in the fuel line. If that is what is causing the problem, the unit likely will not restart and a trained service technician will need to get it up and running again.
  • Overheating – The reset button may be triggered if there isn’t enough air flow to the system. Keeping the air vents open and cleaning or replacing the air filters regularly ensures proper airflow. If the furnace overheats, let it cool down before you reset ir. Making sure to schedule an annual tune up and maintenance call from your HVAC service company can help avoid these issues before they start.

Where is the Reset Button Located?

If you don’t know where your reset button is located, there’s no time like the present to find it.

The location of the reset button will be different depending on your make and model and on whether you have a boiler or a furnace. On a boiler, it’s located on the motor part that is outside of the unit (the burner). On a furnace, it is typically located inside the blower housing next to the blower motor so you must remove the cover to access the control. If you can’t locate the reset button, consult your owner’s manual or ask your HVAC technician to help you find it.

 Once you’ve located it, you will know if it’s been tripped because it will be sticking up about a half-inch, as opposed to laying flush.  Press and hold the button for several seconds to restart the furnace or boiler.

When Should You Press The Rest Button?

You should only press the red button when the furnace has shut off. Do not do so for other issues, such as unusual noises or if it’s blowing cold air. If you are unsure, or if you want a technician to determine why it went off in the first place, call your HVAC company instead of pushing reset.

What If The Button Keeps Popping Up?

Once you press the button, give the unit a few seconds to reset and power up. If it doesn’t start at all, you can press the button one more time. But, if you press the reset button and your furnace goes on and turns off again, don’t press the button again. Continuing to press the reset button can damage your system. Doing so will pump more oil into the furnace and worsen any existing issues. It’s time to call an HVAC professional.

Call Levco For All Your HVAC Service Needs!

Whatever your service needs or what type of equipment you have in your home, Levco technicians are among the elite in the industry. We are ready to help you service or maintain your system for optimum performance. Give us a call at (203) 533-8249 or contact us today!

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