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Important Oil Boiler Maintenance Tasks To Complete Before The Heating Season

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If you have an oil boiler or furnace in your home, then you likely know that proper maintenance and inspections must be completed at the beginning of the heating season to make sure it runs well all winter long. Your repair and maintenance specialist will likely change the oil filter, inspect ventilation, and make sure that your oil lines are not leaking. These tasks are the most vital to the operation of the boiler. However, there are several other things that can ensure the smooth function of the furnace, and they can be completed by you in the fall. Keep reading to learn about a few of these tasks.

Removing Rust From The Firebox

If you have a typical hot water boiler system, then a series of steel pipes will sit just above the firebox inside your boiler. These pipes are wound much in the same way as a traditional upright radiator. These pipes are warmed by the boiler and the water inside becomes hot. It is then forced to the radiators in your home. This water as well as the moisture inside the firebox allows condensation to build on the outsides of the steel pipes. The outer steel layer then breaks down and this causes rust to form. The rust then works its way into the firebox around the insulation material and the accumulated debris causes firing issues. To prevent this from happening, make sure to scrape the loose rust from the pipes and remove the debris from the firebox with your vacuum cleaner.

To access the inside of your boiler, remove the screws from the top cover and remove the cover. Use a socket wrench to remove the bolts from the front door and pull the door open. Use a thin wire-bristled brush to scrape the loose rust from in between the water pipes along the top of the system. Afterwards, gently pull away the insulation material that covers the top of the firebox to allow the scraped rust to fall into the space. Use the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner to remove the rust. Replace the insulation, close the door and the top lid, and tighten the screws and bolts back in place.

Getting Rid Of Water In The Oil Tank

Water has a way of getting into your oil tank through condensation as well as openings around the tank cap and the fuel gauge. It is important to tighten the cap and the gauge to reduce the build up of water in your oil tank. You also can insert a device called a water worm or water sock in the tank to absorb water that falls to the bottom of the tank. These worms are often sold for diesel tanks, but they can be used for tanks containing heating oil as well. Both of these fuels are heavier than the water in the tank. The water sinks to the bottom of the tank where the worm sits, and the absorbent materials inside soak up the fluid. The sock will expand and you can remove it along with the water from the oil tank after a few days.

If you do not want to use this type of device or if you are concerned about removing a great deal of water from your oil tank, then invest in a dispersant additive instead. The best additive is an alcohol-based material that absorbs the water and helps to mix it with the oil so the heating system can burn it off. However, you should make sure that the oil tank is at least one-half to two-thirds of the way full if you intend on using the additive. This way, the water will mix equally with the large volume of oil and heating issues will be less likely to occur as small amounts of water enter the firebox.

You also have the option of having the water pumped from your oil tank. However, this will require professional assistance. 

For more information and assistance in maintaining your furnace, talk with professional furnace repair companies, such as Bel Air Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning.