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Old oil furnace won't start

Need someone who knows how to troubleshoot older oil furnaces.

the oil filter and spray nozzle have been replaced, there is no air in the line and the tank is full but when you hit the reset button it runs for about 30 seconds and then shuts off, its like it won't catch (take off)

very frustrating during winter time, any ideas?

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  • 306 Answers

You have a flame rectifier that has to sense the flame. Try cleaning it just looks like a small round device off to the side. They get covered with soot and can't prove the flame is on. Let me know how it goes. ken

Posted on Jan 12, 2009

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Can you tell me what nozzle and filters I need to clean my furnace?


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If the furnace won't run, check the electrical service panel for a blown fuse or tripped breaker. Also make sure the power switch on or near the furnace is turned on. Check the unit for a reset button and try it. Some units have a built-in breaker or fuse panel.
If there is not enough heat, raise the thermostat setting five degrees to see if it turns the unit on. If the unit still does not generate enough heat, check the comfort controls . Clean or replace a dirty filter, clean the blower assembly (see the Forced-Air Distribution Fix-It Guide), and make sure that all registers are open and not blocked.
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My oil furnace has a strong smell of oil when it runs,what can i do?


PLEASE call a serviceperson,but, it sounds to me like your furnace is burning dirty and needs the electrodes cleaned or replaced as well as the proper oil nozzle and filter hope this helps you out, OH, one more possibillity is the furnace or flue chimney could be stopped up or the air mixture is not set properly on the burner. ANY OR ALL OF THESE COULD CAUSE CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING C/M IS ODERLESS AND COLOROUS AND CAN KILL YOU QUICKLY. CALL A REPUTABLE SERVICE PERSON PLEASE!!!!!!!!

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1 Answer

When furnace cycles on theirs a slight oil smell until the blower kicks on I had the furnaced cleaned and nozzle replaced still the smell comes out of the heat register whats my next move tear unit apart...


You didn't mention how old your oil furnace is. But, if it's got some age on it and it's hasn't been serviced annually, the heat exchanger may very well be cracked. But, before you decide to tear it apart and make it a DIY project, you may well want to half a qualified service technician take a look at it. Because, replacing the heat chamber, even if you do it yourself, may be more expensive in the long run, than replacing the furnace with a more efficient, up to date model.

Don't forget, most oil furnaces can be converted to gas (either Natural Gas or Propane) which burns cleaner & hotter than oil. And cost less to operate. I did it in one of my previous homes and was glad I did. My annual heating cost decreased almost 30%. That savings paid for the conversion in 3 years.

Hope this helps.

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1 Answer

I had the oil tank filled and the furnace stopped working, I primed the furnace and it still wont work, It seems like the furnace wants to start,but it keeps stalling out. Is it a problem with the ignition...


Just had the tank filled ... Im getting the idea you burn one or two tanks per year? I would suspect sediment was stirred up in the tank and your filter is not clogged. Do you have your burner professionally serviced each year or do you do the work? For me ... I get it serviced ... they adjust the spark ... put in a new nozzle ... new filter ... clean the burner ... fire box and stack and I never have a problem.

Back to your problem ... I think if you replace the filter ... you will be back in business.

Thanks for your interest in FixYa.com

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Open the door to the airhandling unit inside the closet by lifting upward on them. There should be two filters located on top of the A coil.

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