If you have recently run out of oil for your oil boiler heating system, then you know that you need a fuel delivery as soon as possible. If your boiler will not start immediately after you receive the delivery, then you may need to contact an HVAC professional for assistance. However, there are a few troubleshooting tasks that you may want to consider trying first. Keep reading to learn about what you should do.
Bleed The Line
If you drained all of the oil from your oil tank and allowed your heater to run when this happened, then the oil line that feeds your boiler is likely filled with a great deal of air. This air must be removed from the line so that oil can flow freely to the nozzle inside the boiler. The best way to remove this air is to force it out through the bleeder valve located on the front of the boiler. This valve is located on the bottom of the square fuel pump and it is closed off with a small screw or bolt. Usually, you can twist this screw with your fingers to the left to loosen it. Do this and then set a small bucket underneath the valve.
Once the valve is open, press the red restart or reset button on the front of the boiler. The fuel pump will start to pull oil through the oil line at this time. As this happens, the air inside the line will release out of the open valve. You will likely see a mixture of air and oil coming out of the bleeder valve once oil fills the line. A consistent stream of oil will then release from the valve. Twist the valve closed when you see this.
After you bleed the line, you will need to restart the system again. However, you will be unable to activate the reset button immediately after bleeding the system. You can easily force the firebox part of the boiler to fill with oil if you repeatedly press the restart button. For this reason, a safety feature is built in that prevents the button from working for several minutes after you activate it. Generally, a light will blink during the waiting period so wait until the light near the button becomes solid before you press it again.
Clean The Pump Strainer
When your oil boiler runs out of oil or comes close to running out, some of the dirt, rust, and other debris that sits on the very bottom of the oil tank may be pulled through the oil line. Some of this material will be caught by the oil filter that is connected to the oil line. However, a bit of the debris may make its way to the oil pump. A small device called a pump strainer is installed near the pump to prevent debris from entering the pump and the inside of the firebox. However, the strainer can clog with material if too much debris accumulates at one time. You will need to clean the strainer when this happens.
Start by removing the bolts on the outside casing of the fuel pump. Remove the casing and look for a small wire mesh device on the pump. A small rubber gasket may hold the strainer in place, so release the gasket and then pull out the strainer. Look for the accumulation of debris on the mesh and use a clean cloth to wipe the dirt away. If the debris is stuck to the strainer, then gently rinse the strainer with clean fuel oil or kerosene. Replace the clean screen, gasket, and pump cover and try to start your boiler once again.
If you run out of heating oil and you have a difficult time starting your boiler once again, then you may need to bleed the oil line and clean the pump strainer. If these troubleshooting tasks do not seem to work and your heating system will not start, then make sure to contact an HVAC professional for assistance. Companies like Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling may be able to meet your needs.
Keeping your home's plumbing system in good working order is a family job. Have you taught your kids what should never be flushed down the toilets or poured down the drains? Do your kids know what to watch for to know that there is a plumbing problem that needs to be addressed? If your kids know what to look for, they will be less likely to contribute to making a minor plumbing problem more serious. This blog will show you things that you should teach your kids so that everyone can work together to protect the entire plumbing system in your home.