Oil Fired Furnace On The Fritz? Clean The Blower Motor And Oil Pump

If your oil fired furnace produces poor heat or makes a humming sound, you may wonder if you if there's something seriously wrong with the appliance. Sometimes, a dirty blower motor and clogged oil pump may be the causes of the furnace's lack of heating. The surfaces of your blower motor can build up with dust over time, which eventually blocks the air and heat circulation through the part. The ports of the oil pump may clog up with old heating oil and dust. Cleaning your motor and unclogging the oil pump just might solve your furnace's problem. Here's how you solve both issues.

Clean the Blower Motor

Before you work on the blower motor and oil pump, turn the furnace's master switch, electrical power and fuel supply all off. Next, locate the blower motor, which sits at the end of the motor. Most blowers have small fins or blades on their surfaces that allow heated air to flow through the motor. If the fins or blades appear covered in debris, use a damp towel to wipe them clean. 

Now, look inside the blower motor to see if debris traveled into the motor wheel, which is the part of the blower that spins to push air toward the rest of the furnace. You can use a vacuum to suck out the debris, then insert the vacuum bag in a trash bag and place it in a cool place until later. There may be some oil inside the vacuum bag, so placing the bag in a cool place helps prevent accidental fires.

You're finally ready to check the oil pump.

Unclog the Oil Pump

The oil pump conveys fuel to the burners and may clog up over time. Gently wipe down the pump to clean it. If the pump has oil ports on it, you can use a thin brush to clean out the ports out, or you can stick the ends of cotton ear swabs into the ports to break up and remove debris.

Also, check the nozzle of the oil pump to see if it's blocked. A blocked nozzle won't provide sufficient fuel to the burners during operation. In this case, the burners won't light up or come on. You can wipe down the nozzle with a dry rag, then use a wrench to tighten it. Be sure to read your appliance's owner's manual before you attempt this step. You don't want to break the nozzle.

Now, ut the paneling back in place if necessary, and discard your cleaning supplies. Turn on the fuel supply and power, then wait about 15 minutes to see if the furnace comes properly. If the furnace sounds good and produces heat, you solved the issues.

If the furnace doesn't come on, schedule an appointment with a local plumber and heating specialist, like those at SDA Armstrong Mechanical Services Ltd, for further assistance.