Oil boiler heating systems are used by many people across the United States. While oil boilers can produce a great deal of heat during some of the coldest winter days, the system will require more maintenance than a gas or electric system. This is the case due to the filters, oil supply lines, oil tank, and other intricate parts that are required to run this sort of system. Due to the way the heater runs and uses petroleum-based fuel and water, you will need to complete some cleaning tasks on occasion. These tasks are best finished in the fall before you have to start turning your boiler on.
Flush The Boiler
Your oil boiler will have a space along the bottom that is called the firebox; this is where oil fuel is burned and flames are created. The firebox is lined with insulation, and closely wound steel pipes sit just above the firebox. Water runs through the pipes, and it warms as heat rises from the firebox. The water is then pumped through the radiators of the home. This same water comes back to the boiler afterwards to be heated again. Unfortunately, the heating process can cause the water to release minerals along the pipes inside the boiler. These minerals can build up and narrow the water channels, and this is likely to reduce the ability of your boiler to heat your home properly. To prevent this problem from occurring, make sure to clean the debris from the water channels by flushing the system.
To flush the boiler, you will need to first look for a small tank that sits above your oil boiler. This is called an expansion tank that collects water to retain consistent pressure across the heating system. A small valve will sit on or near this tank. Use your fingers to loosen the nut on the valve to depressurize the system so water can drain from the boiler. Afterwards, look for a small drain on the bottom of the boiler system. Attach a hose to it, and run this hose to a basement drain or the pit of your sump pump. Turn the knob that sits just above this drain. Water will start to release from the boiler. Once all the water drains, look for a water knob on the inlet pipe that enters your boiler. Turn the knob to manually force water to enter the water channels of the boiler and out the drain. Allow water to run for about five minutes to release debris from the pipes. Close both the water inlet and drain knobs and remove the hose.
Change The Filter
Another cleaning task that should be completed before the heating season starts includes changing the filter and clearing the filter casing of debris. Most oil boilers have in-line filters that sit a few feet away from the main boiler system. The filter casing will look like a small canister attached to the oil line with a rounded top. A nut will sit on top of the canister. You will need to remove this nut with a socket wrench, but first look for a small lever near the filter canister. Turn the lever so it is parallel with the oil line. This will close the line so oil will not flow as you work on the filter. Loosen the bolt afterwards and pull off the canister top. Put on a pair of protective vinyl or rubber gloves and pull out the filter from the middle of the canister.
You should replace this filter with one that is the exact same shape and size. Place the filter in a sealable plastic bag and take it to your local home store to find a matching one. When you get home, dump the heating oil from the filter canister and use paper towels to wipe down the inside. Dirt, rust, and oil wax will all likely come out of the canister. When it is clean, place the new filter inside, replace the top, and tighten the nut.
For more information or help, speak with professionals like Robinson Heating & Cooling Inc.