Unexpected Cold Snaps: Take Steps To Make Your Heating Oil Last Longer

Unexpected cold snaps can put the freeze on your heating oil supplies, especially if your home or oil-fired furnace isn't prepared for the drastic changes in weather. If your furnace doesn't work properly, or your home lacks sufficient insulation, you can use up more heating oil than you need to stay warm. Here are things you can do right now to make your heating oil last longer, even during cold snaps.

Clean and Secure Your Fresh Air Intake Pipe

The fresh air intake pipe keeps you and your home safe when you use it by transferring harmful fumes out of the house. The pipe also ensures that the furnace operates at top proficiency, because it needs air to combust or burn fuel. If animals, leaves and other things get inside the pipe, they can keep fresh air from traveling through it. Your furnace will use up more oil to operate than necessary. 

To reduce the amount of heating oil your furnace uses, clean out any debris you find inside the fresh air intake pipe. The easiest way to do so is to use a metal coat hanger to pull out the debris. Here's what you do:

  1. Locate the fresh air intake pipe, which is usually found on the side of the house. The pipe is long, white and curved near the top. 
  2. Slice the coat hanger in half with a wire cutter, then pull the end until it's almost straight.
  3. Use pliers to curve the tip of the straight piece into a large hook. The hooked end will grab onto debris during the cleaning.
  4. Look into the intake pipe with a flashlight. If you see anything alive, such as squirrels or rodents, tap the pipe gently to scare the animals out of it. After you do this, move on to step 4.
  5. Push the hooked end of the hanger down the pipe, then carefully move it back and forth and side to side to remove the debris.
  6. Repeat step 5 until the intake pipe appears clear.

Now, it's time to move indoors to complete the job.

Clean the Furnace's Air Handler

The air handler houses the critical parts of your oil-fired furnace. If dust and old oil cover the air handler, it can weigh down the furnace, which makes it work harder to heat the home. You want to wipe down the air handler with large cloth. Don't wet the cloth to avoid leaving behind any water that can rust the furnace or its parts.

First, turn off the furnace to give it time to cool down before you clean it. After the furnace cools, gently:

  • Wipe down the back of the appliance to remove dirt and other debris.
  • Clean around the pilot light and burners to remove any oil that dripped or leaked out of these parts. You may have to remove the paneling over these parts to access them. Use your owner's manual for the furnace to do so.
  • Clean the fuel lines and indoor intake vents and pipes. 
  • Turn the furnace back on, then give it time to heat up. Your appliance should use up less heating oil now that it's clean.

For more information, contact Cash Oil or a similar company.