How to Fire Up Oil Furnaces

What You'll Need
Oil refill for the furnace
Bucket or container
Flexible tube about 1/4 inches in diameter
Crescent wrench
Cat Litter (for absorbing and cleaning any spilled oil)
Work gloves

Occasionally oil furnaces need to be refilled and may stop working until they are. Sometimes, the furnace may restart automatically after being filled. However, if your furnace does not restart on its own, there are a couple of things you can do to help the process along. So, here is a step by step guide for firing up your oil furnace.

Step 1 - Fill Furnace with Oil

Fill the tank of the furnace with heating oil or have a delivery service do it for you.

Step 2 - Press 'Reset' Button

Try using the 'Reset' button to restart the furnace. Many furnaces have a button that enables the furnace to bleed oil from the tank and causes the furnace to restart itself. If this works, you are finished. If not, then continue to Step 3.

Step 3 - Shut off the Furnace

Look for a toggle switch on the furnace that is used to switch the power on and off. The reset function may keep the light indicator from being on. However, make sure to still flip the switch to the 'Off' position (just to be safe).

Step 4 - Attach Tubing to Bleeder Valve

Find the bleeder valve on the side of the fuel pump. The furnace's fuel pump is usually located on the left side of the burner. The bleeder valve is usually attached to a copper line and has a hex nut about 3/8 inches in size. Use the crescent wrench to loosen the nut and then attach piece of flexible tubing to the bleeder valve. The tubing should be long enough to extend to the bucket or container. Tighten the valve slightly. If you hear a gurgling sound from the tubing, this is normal as air is simply moving through the valve and hose.

Step 5 - Bleed the System

After your flexible hose is in position, turn the furnace on. Then, completely open the bleeder valve. Once the valve is open, you should notice that fuel, oil and air are discharged from the tube into the bucket or container. Allow the furnace to run for at least 10 seconds or until no more oil or debris is discharged from the tube. If the process does not begin when you turn on the power switch, you may have to use the 'Reset' button to initiate the bleed process.

Step 6 - Restart the Furnace

Re-tighten the bleeder valve hand tight. The furnace should then be able to be restarted (or it may even start by itself after a few seconds on some models). You may have to repeat Step 6 a few times before the furnace will restart. You may have to wait up to 45 seconds to 1 minute in between attempts to give the 'Reset' function enough time to cycle properly. After the furnace has restarted, make sure to further tighten the bleeder valve so that it is airtight.