How to Restart a Furnace After Running Out of Oil

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Restarting an oil burner that has run out of oil requires you to bleed the fuel line to remove the air that got sucked into the system when the fuel ran out. The procedure can be done in about 5 minutes. You will need to have oil delivered or add some kerosene or diesel fuel to the tank before bleeding the line. If you don't, you will simply make the situation worse by adding more air to the system and the burner will not light.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • 1/4-inch rubber tubing about 24 inches long
  • Bottle or small can

Locate the bleeder valve on the oil pump located on the burner. It is normally located on the front or side of the pump.

Attach a short piece of rubber tubing to the bleeder and run it into a bottle or small can. You will need to be able to see the end of the tubing so that you can tell when all the air is out of the line.

Open the bleeder screw with a wrench. Turn the bleeder back until it is just finger tight. Push the reset button that is located on the unit controller. The button is red in color and is marked "reset".

Open the bleeder screw and watch the fuel coming from the end of the tubing. When the stream changes from spitting and sputtering to a solid stream of fuel, close the valve. The burner will light if you have removed enough air from the line.

Continue the bleeding process until all the air is out of the line and the burner is running. If you used a clean bottle or can, you can dump the fuel from it back into the tank.

Tighten the bleeder screw with a wrench and remove the tubing. Wipe off any fuel that may have spilled on the pump or burner with a clean rag.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not store the can, rag, or tubing in the area of the burner. Vapors from these items could start a fire.

References

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