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Service an Oil Furnace

In many regions of the country, oil is king–especially during the winter heating season. If your heating system uses oil, here's how you can things warm and cozy.
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An oil furnace is similar to other types of furnaces. The main difference is that heating oil fuels the burner that heats the air. (click to enlarge)

An oil furnace uses a low-grade petroleum derivative as fuel to heat air, hot water, or steam. An oil forced-air system (OFA) includes the blower and ducting to distribute the heated air throughout the house. Modern home oil systems use pressure burners. Oil is sprayed into a combustion chamber at high pressure, propelled by a blower and ignited by an electric spark. The oil burns as the mist is sprayed. These units are more efficient than older models that use gravity to feed oil to burners. As most service requires a technician, here's what you can do to replace a filter and inspect your furnace.

Clean or replace a filter:
  1. Open or remove the blower access door, typically located on the front or side of the furnace housing.
  2. Remove the filter; some slide out while others are pressed into place.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and dust from the area around the filter. Some units have a dry-foam filter that also needs periodic vacuuming.
  4. Replace the filter with one of the same dimensions and density, preferably the model suggested by the manufacturer.
  5. Close or reinstall the blower door, making sure that any interlocks are in the correct position to operate.

Adapted from the new, Interactive Fix-It Club.
Written and illustrated by Dan & Judy Ramsey
Copyright Fix-It Club® © 2004 All Rights Reserved.

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