What to do when the burner won't start!

Emergency service calls can often be avoided with a few easy diagnostic procedures that may solve your heating problems.

  1. Check the switch! Usually located at the top of the cellar stairs with a red cover. Make sure it is on. There should also be a service switch located on the heating appliance.
  2. Check for blown or loose fuses, or tripped circuit breakers.
  3. Check the thermostat. Make sure it is set higher than the room temperature. Make sure it is calling for HEAT.
  4. Check the fuel gauge on the oil tank. Gauges can stick so tap the gauge or the side of the tank to ensure an accurate reading.
  5. Steam systems only: Check the water level in the sight glass. Make sure the glass is at least half-full. Add water slowly if needed.
  6. Smoke in the basement? Locate and turn off the emergency switch ASAP. Call your serviceman.
  7. Whole house attic fans can pull smoke/fumes down the chimney if there is not sufficient ventilation in the house. Use caution!
  8. Install a quality smoke detector in the vicinity of your oil heat equipment.
  9. Locate and push the reset button (usually located on the oil burner). Reset one time only!