How to Clean an Oil Furnace Pump Strainer
An oil furnace pump uses oil as fuel to light the burner to produce heat. This is done by supplying oil to a pump which is connected to the burner. The oil pipe fits in the pump after passing the oil filter and strainer. It is advisable to clean the strainer periodically to ensure cost effective and efficient running of the oil furnace. This is not a difficult task if you follow the instructions given below.
Step 1 - Take Due Precautions
Make sure that the oil furnace has cooled down before you start working on the appliance. Put on the working gloves to save your hands from dirt and smell of oil.
Step 2 - Access to the Pump
The pump is in a safe casing so the first thing you need to do is have access to the pump. For this undo the bolts of the casing with a wrench. While using an adjustable wrench you will need to adjust its jaws to the size of the bolts by spinning the circular wheel which increases or decreases the gap between the two gripping jaws of the wrench. When the wrench firmly grips the bolts undo them with an anticlockwise motion. Remember to clean the bolts with a rag before this action otherwise the wrench will slip! Once the cover is unbolted lift it off and keep the bolts together in a safe location.
Step 3 - Removal of the Gasket
Now remove the gasket around the rim. The strainer is made of metal wire mesh and is cylindrical in shape. Carefully remove it from the pump.
Step 4 - Cleaning of the Strainer
To clean the blocked metal screen of the strainer, pour kerosene in a small tub and dip the strainer in it. After fifteen minutes, take out the strainer from the tub to check if the dirt and debris on the strainer has loosened. Gently brush the dirt off with an old toothbrush (do NOT re-use the toothbrush!). Do not unnecessarily apply force because that might rip the mesh or de-shape it. To ensure that your oil furnace runs efficiently, clean the strainer at least once a month.
Step 5 - Replacing the Strainer
If you find that the strainer is not in good condition or is ripped anywhere or is out of shape, it would be a good idea to replace it rather than waste time to clean it. The new strainer should be of the same size and shape as the one previously installed in the pump. You may wish to take the old one with you to the store when shopping for a new one, or search online, using the manufacturer and model number for your furnace.
Step 6 - Assembling the Pump
When the dirt is removed from the strainer and it is satisfactorily cleaned, place it back in position. If a new strainer is required, place a new one in position. After the strainer has been set, place the gasket back on the rim and fix the lid of the pump with the bolts. Use the spare gasket if the old one also needs to be replaced.