What Is The Reason For My Oil Furnace Not Turning On?

Oil furnaces have been around for a while and continue to do an effective job when it comes to keeping families warm during the long winter nights. Even if well-maintained, an oil furnace can run into problems such as failing to turn on. This can be because of a dirty filter, faulty thermostat, etc. Therefore, to troubleshoot the issue and avoid it at the same time, we are going to share some tips you need to consider. You can try them before calling in furnace repair services.

The Furnace Needs Resetting

The first thing you are going to do if your oil burner fails to turn on is reset. This is the easiest solution to get your oil furnace running back to normal condition if a temporary malfunction comes up. Plus, take a look at the side of furnace and make sure the switch there is turned on. Plus, the red switch must be on also.

Although the switch is usually located somewhere above the surface, depending on the type and variant, the location might differ. If it’s difficult to find it, consult the user manual. If both of them are on, you should use this trick. Turn off the switch on the side and turn it back on after five minutes.

If this method doesn’t work, you should locate the reset button. In most cases, the button is located inside the furnace. Press the red button. It is designed to dump oil into the system and might get it running. And, if it works, re-install the panels and keep an eye on the oil furnace.

If it continues to experience the same problem after a while, it means there is some other problem that needs to be looked at. In that case, you are going to need to call a professional.

The Electrical Connections Are Loose

If your furnace happens to be old, it could be that the electrical connections have become loose or frayed with time. External factors like humidity, moisture, and heat can take a toll on the wires and result in malfunctioning. Fortunately, this is an easy fix but you can consult an expert for an inspection and repairs.

Meanwhile, you should try inspecting the wires and see if you determine the source of the problem. Make sure the oil furnace is turned off and is not hot. If it is, wait for a while until it cools down. Check the thermostat and ensure it is functioning.

If you got an aftermarket thermostat for your heating system, you should check its batteries. You can try replacing the batteries to see if it fixes the problem. If it does, check the settings. Then, try recalibrating the thermostat. If nothing works, you should know the problem is slightly more complicated and needs an expert to troubleshoot.

Your Pilot Flame Is Dirty

Oil furnaces like other household appliances need maintenance to run efficiently and avoid problems. Around the pilot light, there is a flame sensor. With time, it can become dirty and clogged causing the sensor to malfunction. In such a case, the oil furnace will not turn on.

You should check the flame sensor and make sure it is clean. Keep in mind that it is part of regular maintenance and should be taken seriously to avoid expensive replacements down the road. Every manufacturer recommends professional maintenance after a certain period.

That said, you should schedule expert maintenance at least annually if your oil burner usage is normal. Oil furnaces are rigid systems and will last somewhere between 10-20 years if maintained properly. Furthermore, they do not come cheap either.

Another thing you should know is that the air filters should be clean and clear. If it happens to be dirty, the airflow will be affected causing the furnace to run less efficiently.

Low Fuel Or Dirty Oil Line

Sometimes, homeowners simply forget the fact that oil furnaces’ oil tank needs to be refilled with oil to run. If you are using the oil furnace after a while, it might be that the amount of oil in the tank is not sufficient. It could be worse if the oil is leaking. This is the case when the system turns old.

That said, you should first check if the tank has a sufficient amount of oil and needs to be topped. If that is not the issue, you will need to check for a closed valve or clogged oil line. If the oil line or one of the nozzles is dirty, you will need to clean them.

This can happen frequently if the oil is not regularly replaced. The good thing about such issues is that they aren’t a problem with your oil furnace and are easy to fix. You can fix them easily by following the user manual. However, if that doesn’t work out, it may due to a rusted and corroded oil tank.

An oil tank can work for 25 years. Due to wear and tear, it may leak, clog the lines, or has visible signs of cracks or rust. When you see these signs, you should have the oil tank checked. If it can’t be repaired, then you will have to contact oil tank replacement services Huntington.

Other Potential Oil Furnace Problems

There are two more common problems oil furnace owners complain about.

Oil Furnace Burning More Oil Than Usual

In addition to your oil burner not turning on, it could also run into some other problems such as burning excessive fuel all of a sudden. From a dirty furnace to a wrong-sized furnace, it could be anything causing the issue.

Such issues can be hard to diagnose. Considering oil furnaces comprise several different parts, it could be difficult to determine where the problem lies. However, you can try fixing the issue by ensuring the furnace is clean and checking the nozzle for a good fit. Go for a replacement, if you think it needs one.

Furthermore, make sure the ductwork is properly insulated. With time, it might be that cracks, damage, or leaks have occurred. If they are minor, you can use duct tape to cover them. But, if the leaks or damage are significant, you will need a proper fix.

The Furnace Emits Strange Odors

Oil furnaces also emit strange odors but that happens gradually. If the odors are causing distress, it means you have ignored and allowed them to cause discomfort. However, many reasons can cause your furnace to emit strange odors.

To begin with, it could be a clogged nozzle or heat exchanger. Moreover, the cause of odors can be due to the combustion air being blocked. To troubleshoot the issue, clan the nozzle, chimney, and heat exchanger of your oil furnace. At the same time, check if the heat exchanger or nozzle is damaged. If you see any signs of damage, it means you will need replacement.


An oil furnace not turning on can be due to one or multiple reasons. However, by keeping the troubleshooting tips mentioned above in mind, you will be able to get through in no time. But, make sure the furnace is well-maintained and schedule expert maintenance to keep things running smoothly. If things appear complicated, don’t hesitate to get help from oil burner repair services Port Jefferson.

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