Troubleshooting an Oil Boiler

Every oil boiler follows the same general standard of gas-fired boilers. Gas-fired, coal-fired and oil fueled boilers have similar functions. If you have any of these boilers in your home, you can perform basic troubleshooting described here before calling your handyman for a more professional job. Although troubleshooting options for laymen are limited, you will be able to fix your oil boiler with some of the tips given below.

The basic action that you should do when troubleshooting is to isolate the problem. A majority of oil boilers are reported to have the problem of not heating properly because the water released are either cold or lukewarm. Check the oil valve, thermocouple or petcock if they are functioning properly. Other problems, such as emitting smoke, weird sounds or odors, should prompt you to call for your handyman immediately. This may call for serious risk within your vicinity. When you have isolated the problem, turn off the boiler by flicking the switch at the control box.

Malfunctioning Petcock Valve

If the problem of the oil boiler is running out of hot water fast, or if you cannot get any hot water at all, it may be caused by a malfunctioning petcock valve. If you have a relatively new thermocouple in place, then perhaps the main petcock valve is the root cause of the problem. Contact a professional handyman to replace the oil valve.

Malfunctioning Thermocouple

On the other hand, if the oil boiler is relatively old and that the thermocouple is the one that is not functioning well, it is best to replace it. You may be able to do the replacement yourself at this point. The thermocouple is the mechanical oil valve that expands and contracts and is connected to the control box. The thermocouple is a slender copper tube located just beneath the control box and runs at the bottom of the boiler. This is attached by a nut that can be unbolted with a wrench (preferably ½ inch).

When the nut is unscrewed, the thermocouple copper tube will be removed as well. Locate the igniter at the end of the copper tube by following the tubing underneath the boiler’s bottom. This igniter is the one that collects temperature data from the control box. To make the boiler heat up, the control box would send information to the igniter through the copper tube (thermocouple). When the igniter receives the signal, it will light the boiler and allow it to heat the water. To remove the igniter, unsnap the clip attached to a steel place by lifting it off. After taking out the old or malfunctioned thermocouple, connect the new one to the igniter and attach the new thermocouple to the copper tube as well. Bolt it again with the nut using the wrench.

Check to determine if your troubleshooting work paid off by relighting the pilot light. It will take approximately 12 hours for the oil boiler to provide heat to a large amount of water. Take note that by being able to isolate the problem, you are able to save time, money and energy prior to consulting the qualified service professional to work on it.