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The following information is for educational purposes only. Tampering with your system may void your warranty. If you have any questions about your system, call a Trane Comfort Specialist™.


Check out our DIY resources or contact a Trane Comfort Specialist™.



Your oil furnace will keep you warm and cozy for years to come if you care for it properly and have it serviced regularly by a pro.

The following information is for educational purposes only. Tampering with your system may void your warranty. If you have any questions about your system, call a Trane Comfort Specialist™.

What’s the recipe for success when it comes to oil furnaces? Keeping a regular maintenance schedule of things you can do yourself, plus calling in a licensed HVAC professional for routine check ups and when things go wrong, equals an oil furnace that lives a long and happy life warming your home.

Of course, if you’re not sure how to maintain your furnace, or what problems to look for, this is easier said than done. Here, we’re going over routine maintenance tips and possible repairs your oil furnace might need, so you can be well-equipped for the heating season.

Oil Furnace Repair: When to Call in a Professional

First things first, it’s always good to know the signs that indicate your HVAC system might need a repair or replacement. When it comes to oil furnaces, most problems you discover will require the help of an HVAC professional. If you find your furnace has low air flow or isn’t turning on, you can check to see if your thermostat is working, or change your filter (more on how to do that later) before calling in a professional. If these things don’t seem to do the trick, or your furnace is facing another problem entirely, you’ll need to call in an HVAC professional for oil furnace service. Common issues that require an oil furnace repair include:

  • Fuel line blockages: The fuel line connected to your furnace could become clogged, typically producing a buzzing or clicking sound when the furnace is on. The fuel line could become blocked if it’s bent; if sludge or mud accumulates on it; or if rust forms. This problem should always be handled by an HVAC professional. To fix a fuel line blockage, the technician might clean the oil canister, clean the fuel line, or replace the filter.
  • Faulty controls: Faulty controls mean your oil furnace isn’t able to receive the messages that tell it how to operate correctly. This is likely a result of an electrical issue, which should always be handled by an HVAC professional. When a technician comes to inspect faulty controls, they’ll likely turn off the furnace’s power, check the wiring, and rewire if necessary, or check the circuit.
  • Smoking burners: If your oil furnace is smoking, turn it off and call an HVAC professional. The burning could be the result of a number of things, including a clogged nozzle, misplaced burner, or the wrong end cone on the furnace. To fix this problem, a technician may adjust the airflow to your furnace, perform a combustion analysis, clean the nozzle, or replace the end cone.

Keep in mind, the cost of these and other types of oil furnace repairs varies based on the type of warranty you have on your furnace, so always remember to register your device to avoid higher costs!

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Oil Furnace Maintenance Tips

Here are a few things you can add to your regular maintenance schedule to ensure your system is running smoothly and to ultimately avoid oil furnace troubleshooting down the road.

Clean or replace your oil furnace filters.

One of the easiest ways to maintain your furnace is to clean or replace your filters regularly. Oil furnaces can use disposable or permanent filters. Both types of filters should be changed or cleaned about every three months, but disposable filters need to be completely changed while permanent filters can be cleaned with warm water and put back inside the furnace. Here’s how to clean or replace your filter yourself, but remember if you’re uncomfortable or unsure completing this task, call in an HVAC professional to do it for you:

  1. Turn off your oil furnace completely.
  2. Place a rag or pan around the furnace to catch any excess oil drips.
  3. Turn off the oil supply with the shutoff valve, typically located above the oil supply line.
  4. Unscrew the filter base, typically found at the back of the unit, to access the filter.
  5. Remove the filter.
  6. If you have a permanent filter, rinse it under warm water and allow it to air dry completely. If you have a disposable filter, continue to the next step.
  7. Replace or reinsert the newly cleaned filter.
  8. Screw the filter base back on.
  9. Loosen the bleeder screw that sits on top of the filter base to allow any excess air inside the furnace to escape. After a few moments, screw it back on tightly.
  10. Turn the oil supply back on.
  11. Turn the power back on.

Check your flue pipe.

The flue pipe is responsible for removing the combustion gases your furnace produces from your home. If your flue pipe isn’t working properly and gases enter your home, you could be facing a dangerous situation. You can help ensure your flue pipe is doing its job by completing a visual inspection of it every heating season. You’ll find your flue pipe inside your home, sticking out of your furnace and extending outside your home to provide an exit for gases. When visually inspecting your flue pipe look for:

  • Water stains.
  • Corrosion or rust.
  • Holes or leaks.
  • Bends or breaks.
  • Loose joints.

If you notice any of these issues with your flue pipe, turn off your system and call an HVAC professional immediately.

Inspect the area around your furnace.

Along with inspecting your flue pipe, you can also visually inspect the area around your furnace each heating season. Ensure that there are no foreign objects banging into your furnace and that the space around it is clear for at least a two foot radius in all directions. You can also check to see if there’s any buildup on the floor around your furnace. If you notice buildup, stay away and contact an HVAC professional to assist.

Clean your floor vents.

Your floor vents allow for heat from your furnace to flow throughout your home. Without proper maintenance, dust, dirt, and debris can build up on these vents and sacrifice heat flow in your home. To avoid this problem, you can clean the floor vents yourself. Before doing this, ensure that your furnace is turned off. Then, use a damp rag or vacuum to clean anything on the vent. Next, unscrew the vent and clean any dirt that is hiding underneath. After this, screw the vent back in place and turn your system back on. This could lead to better heat flow in no time!

Oil Furnace Repair and Maintenance FAQs

If you still have questions about your oil furnace, we have answers.

Why would my oil furnace stop working?

Your oil furnace can stop working for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: part failure, faulty controls, fuel line blockages, flue pipe damage, or electrical issues. If you notice a problem with your furnace, call in an HVAC professional for oil furnace service as soon as possible to help get it back up and running.

How much does it cost to replace an oil furnace?

According to HomeGuide research with three expert furnace installers, the average furnace replacement costs between $2,500 and $6,000. The research also states this cost increases if you need an oil tank replacement as well, for an average grand total between $4,200 and $8,800.

How often should I change my oil furnace filter?

It’s best practice to replace your oil furnace filter once every three months, but this can vary based on your specific furnace. Consult your owner’s manual or your local dealer to find the right filter maintenance schedule for your furnace.

How long should an oil furnace last?

An oil furnace typically lasts around 25 years, according to HomeGuide. However, factors like location, amount of usage, and maintenance can all impact an oil furnace’s lifespan.

How can I extend the life of my oil furnace?

Scheduling regular yearly maintenance with an HVAC professional can help increase your oil furnace lifespan. Regular upkeep lets the technician diagnose any current problems and even helps prevent future issues from occurring. Plus, keeping up with the oil furnace maintenance tips we mentioned here that you can do yourself will help keep your system in peak condition for years.

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