How to Clean Oil Burners


Oil burners should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a year to keep them running efficiently and safely. When dust and residue build up inside the burner, it causes the burning cycle to run far less efficiently. As a result, the oil burner will use up much more oil to create the same amount of heat, which in turn, causes even more buildup.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Chimney brush
  • Cardboard
  • Vacuum
  • Shut down the feed valve to the burner and place a piece of cardboard in front of the burner door. The cardboard prevents ash from the burner from soiling your floor.

  • Clean the oil burner door, using a soft-bristle brush. Brush the soot and ash from the door, using a back-and-forth motion until the area is clean.

  • Clean the chamber of the burner, using a chimney brush until all visible dirt is removed.

  • Remove and clean the oil burner assembly, according the manufacturer's instructions. Most models are fitted with a burner gun, burner ignitor and flame retention head, which is the part that houses the actual burner flame. Scrape the residue from the assembly with a blunt object such as a flat-head screwdriver.

  • Reassemble the burner assembly, following the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Remove and discard the piece of cardboard. Vacuum the area to remove excess ash and debris, if needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some oil burners are fitted with an asbestos door, so it is imperative that you use care when cleaning this part of the burner. Using a soft-bristle brush, rather than a chimney brush, will help prevent dislodging asbestos particles into the air. Also wear a facemask and gloves.
  • The burner ignitor may be cleaned with automotive brake part cleaner or gasoline to remove stubborn residue.
  • Make sure the area is well-ventilated, especially if using brake part cleaner or gasoline. Open windows or use a fan to expel fumes from the area around the burner.

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