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Oil is an efficient and safe fuel if the equipment burning it is well maintained by knowledgeable people. Novices and inexperienced tinkerers should be aware of the potential for creating problems.
1. Change the fuel oil filter periodically (see Figs. 1 and 5). The fuel filter cleans the fuel of any impurities (e.g., dirt and water) that may affect the efficient supply, ignition and burning of the fuel. Consult the owner's manual for the correct procedure.
2. Clean and lubricate the burner motor (see Fig. 1). Dust and oil buildup will shorten the life of the burner motor. Vacuum away any loose dust and wipe away any oil buildup or greasy dirt. Lubricate the burner motor according to your owner's manual.
3. Inspect the burner mounting plate for evidence of leaks (see Fig. 1). They can alter the fuel/air mixture and allow smoke to escape into the room. If smudges are present around the plate, call your heating contractor to correct the situation.
4. Inspect the furnace's/boiler's electrical system (i.e., master switch and electrical cable, see Fig. 1). Electrical problems affect the performance of a unit and also present a safety hazard. Bad connections, bare wires, blown fuses, tripped circuit breakers and tripped reset buttons (the reset button automatically disconnects the electricity to an overloaded electrical motor) indicate that an electrical problem is present. Contact your heating contractor to correct it. (Warning: electricity is potentially dangerous for people not familiar with its operation. Repairs should be made by a qualified service person.)
5. Inspect the exhaust stack for bad connections and damaged or corroded pipes (see Fig. 1 ). Replace if damage is evident.