How to Clean an Oil Furnace

An oil furnace can provide years of trouble-free service if an annual cleaning is performed as part of a preventative maintenance routine. An oil furnace uses a blower to circulate air over oil that is burned at nozzles, which provides heat throughout a house via the heating ductwork. Most houses can collect dust over time, and this dust can circulate down through the ductwork to the oil furnace. By keeping to a cleaning routine, you can add years to the life of an oil furnace by helping to prevent the breakdown of parts that can occur with the accumulation of dirt and debris.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Spray cleaner
  • Clean rags
  • Air filter
  • Toothbrush
  • Hand-held portable vacuum
  • Lighter

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Turn off the power to your oil furnace. The best way to do this is to switch off the circuit breaker. Turn off the gas at the shutoff valve. This will turn off the pilot flame.

Clean the outside of your oil furnace by spraying it with spray cleaner and wiping it off with clean rags.

Remove the service panel by unscrewing the mounting screws with a screwdriver. Some access panels slide off from the mounted clips.

Slide the filter out and discard. The filter is usually directly behind the blower and slides out of slots in the top and bottom of the furnace frame. Slide the new filter into the same position as the removed filter.

Clean the blower assembly. First use the hand-held vacuum to remove and dust, especially if there’s a wire cage in between the blower and the filter. Wipe the blade and motor with clean rags. Use a toothbrush to dislodge any buildup on the motor assembly and wipe away with a clean rag.

Wipe down the thermocouple, which is near the pilot flame nozzle. Sometimes there can be buildup on the thermocouple, which can affect its performance. Wipe down the pilot flame nozzle.

Turn on the gas and re-light the pilot flame with a lighter. Replace the service panel by tightening the mounting screws with a screwdriver. Turn on the circuit breaker to return power to the gas furnace.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a small plastic bowl to keep your screws in so you don't lose them.
  • Electricity is dangerous and can cause electrical shock.

References

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