Losing Heat in Your Oil Heated Home – Causes and Solutions

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Losing Heat in Your Oil Heated Home – Causes and Solutions

It’s that time of year when homeowners add losing heat to their list of winter worries.  The days still hold a hint of warmth but when the sun sets, you’re reaching for your warm woolies. But just when you’ve reluctantly agreed to turn on the heat, your house isn’t warming up. Or maybe the heat had been working fine but on the chilliest of days, your boiler or furnace kicked off and you lost heat. Now what?

Let’s look at some of the common causes of losing heat in an oil heated home and possible solutions.

Problem: The Thermostat Isn’t Functioning

Possible causes:

  • Incorrect setting
  • An issue with the power supply
  • Faulty unit

Possible solutions:

Make sure that your thermostat is in heat mode and set to at least 5 degrees higher than your current room temperature. You should hear the furnace or boiler kick on.  It doesn’t? Then take a close look at the visual display on your thermostat. If there is a battery level indicator on the screen, make sure it isn’t low, and if necessary, change the batteries. There may nothing displayed on the screen or the power level looks fine. In that case, the cause could be a power supply problem or a faulty thermostat. If the power supply is working as it should be, you may need to have the thermostat replaced. But you should have an HVAC professional identify the reason behind your home’s losing heat first.

Problem: The Furnace or Boiler Suddenly Goes Off

Possible causes:

  • Incorrectly set or non-working thermostat
  • Out of oil
  • Blocked or dirty air filter
  • No electric supply

Possible solutions: 

As mentioned above, check the settings on the thermostat to see if they are set correctly. If the thermostat is working, look at the oil tank gauge. Could you be out of oil? Just like when a car is out of gas, if the gauge shows the tank is empty, your heating equipment won’t operate. To ensure you always have an adequate supply of oil, sign up for automatic delivery. Automatic oil delivery is perfect for homeowners who never want to worry about their tanks running dry or needing to place a call for last minute deliveries. At Levco, we use a proprietary system to calculate and schedule the appropriate time for your next delivery.

If the problem isn’t the fuel supply, it may be the air filter. It can become blocked by dirt, dust, and pet dander. Air filters need to be checked and changed regularly. A dirty air filter can can lead to poor heating efficiency and cause the unit to stop functioning entirely.

The electrical supply can also be the culprit. Common issues include blown fuses, exposed circuit breakers or even damaged wires. Here again, it’s best to call the experts to determine the actual cause.

Problem: The Furnace Won’t Turn On

Possible causes:

  • Switch is off
  • The furnace needs resetting
  • The motor needs to be replaced

Possible solutions:

Too often the emergency shut off switch to the heating system is accidently turned off. It’s often found on the wall leading down to the level the equipment is on and is easily identified by a red cover plate. Make sure the switch is set to “ON.” If it isn’t, turn it on and see if the boiler or furnace starts up.

Next, you can try pushing the reset button. But only press the reset button when the furnace has shut off. Do not do so for other issues, such as unusual noises or if the unit is blowing cold air. first place, call your HVAC company instead of pushing reset. 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, DO NOT 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.

If none of the above solutions work, it could be an issue with the motor in the burner assembly. If parts or equipment replacement is needed, it’s time to call your HVAC professional.

Once  you’ve ruled out a problem with the igniter and flame sensor, it could be that the draft inducer monitor needs to be replaced.

Problem: There’s No Heat in a Particular Room

Possible causes:

  • Blocked or closed air vent

Possible solutions:

Take a look at your air vents or baseboards. Is there air or heat coming from some but not the ones in that room? Make sure the vents are open. Closing an air vent in a room that’s too warm or one you don’t use, might seem like a good way to control temperature, but in fact it makes your system less efficient and causes you to use more energy.

If the vents and registers are open, check to see if there is furniture or other items blocking the air supply. Your home’s return and supply vents should be open and free of obstructions for the most efficient heating. But if you can’t visually see the problem but don’t feel the air flow, there could be an internal blockage in the vent or even the ductwork. It’s best to let an HVAC professional determine the issue and the best way to fix it.

Problem: Lack of maintenance

Yes, not maintaining your equipment properly is one of the most common causes for losing heat in an oil heated home. You depend on your heating system to meet your needs for warmth and comfort. Therefore, you need to make sure you take care of your equipment’s maintenance needs.

Experts agree that regular HVAC maintenance reduces the risk of costly breakdowns by as much as 95%. And the Department of Energy adds that preventive maintenance not only helps your HVAC system run at close to peak efficiency, but it can mean savings of up to 30% on your energy bill.

During an annual tune-up, the HVAC technician will clean the system, look for normal wear and tear, and can replace parts before they become a problem.

At Levco, our highly skilled technicians will:

  • Thoroughly vacuum clean the heater, smoke pipe, and base of the chimney
  • Replace the nozzle, pump screen, and oil filter cartridge
  • Clean and adjust electrodes and burner gun assembly
  • Oil the motors
  • Test the operating efficiency and adjust for maximum comfort, convenience, and economy

Regular maintenance not only ensures your system operates when you need it and helps it use less energy, it also increases the lifespan of the equipment and protects the comfort and safety of your family. Performed by licensed professionals, preventive maintenance is one of the most important factors in preventing you from losing heat in your oil heated home.

Let Levco help you keep the heat on!

For more than 40 years, Levco has earned the trust of homeowners and businesses in the community for being the most reliable source for fuel oil delivery, HVAC equipment maintenance, and energy solutions. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all your home or business HVAC service needs. Get in touch with a member of our team by calling (203) 533-8249 or filling out this form.

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