Many American furnaces run on gas or electricity, but oil furnaces are still incredibly popular in homes across the country - not only because they tend to be more affordable, but also because oil produces more heat than gas as it burns.
However, oil also creates buildup like soot, which means your oil furnace might need more regular cleaning and maintenance than other types of furnaces. Oil furnaces also need a steady supply of oil so they can run efficiently and keep your home safe and comfortable all fall and winter long.
If you have an oil furnace, keep reading! We'll walk you through our checklist to get your oil furnace ready for the upcoming cold season.
1. FIND A GOOD OIL PROVIDER
Throughout the winter, you'll need a steady oil supplier so you can keep your furnace up and running. Before the season even starts, locate a local oil provider who either can deliver oil directly to your home or has a convenient store where you can purchase oil on-site.
Visit your local supplier so you can add more oil to your home's oil tank before fall is in full swing. Bear in mind that your oil tank should never be less than a quarter of the way full. If the levels drop that low, sludge starts to churn at the bottom of the tank and slow your furnace's efficiency (not to mention the buildup makes it more obnoxious to clean).
Ensure your oil provider is reliable, and check your oil levels frequently so you can call your provider as soon as you need more fuel.
2. CHANGE THE FILTERS
Because oil furnaces burn hotter than many other types of furnaces, these furnaces can provide more consistent temperatures to your home with arguably greater efficiency. However, most furnaces are only as effective as their filters, and oil furnaces are no exception.
Additionally, because your furnace runs on oil instead of natural gas, which burns cleaner, you'll need to check and replace the filters more regularly than a homeowner with a gas furnace needs to. Remember to turn off the furnace before you attempt to replace the filter.
3. HELP YOUR HOME HELP YOUR FURNACE
Because furnaces spread air around the house, they tend to pick up particles in the air that then clog the furnace's filter. Help your furnace burn fuel efficiently by vacuuming regularly, especially if you have pets. Dust at least once each week and thoroughly clean your countertops to keep debris out of the air.
Make sure to also dust off the surface of your furnace before you turn it on for the first time; otherwise, you'll get a smell like burning dust that blows around the house for a few hours before dissipating.
Vacuuming and dusting frequently this winter won't just help your oil furnace work better - these cleaning techniques will also keep allergens out
of the air, helping your family breathe easier as your furnace helps them stay warm.
4. GET YOUR FURNACE TUNED UP
No matter what type of furnace you have, it's likely easy for you to do some basic, safe maintenance, like changing the filters and dusting off the furnace. However, because furnaces burn fuel and produce intense heat, it's wise to schedule a tuneup with a professional who knows how to safely evaluate and repair any problems with your oil furnace.
Before your HVAC professional arrives, make sure the furnace has enough fuel to run properly. Consider scheduling an HVAC visit as early in the season as possible - preferably in October or November instead of in December, when most HVAC companies will be more heavily booked.
Need oil or kerosene to keep your home heated this winter? Dean's Water Service Inc. does more than bring pure water to Pittsburgh residents. Get in touch to learn more about our oil and kerosene delivery so you and your family members can stay safe and warm this winter.