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Oil Furnace Ignitor Troubleshooting

Posted On: November 11, 2013

An oil furnace works by having a high-voltage ignitor create a spark next to an oil nozzle. The nozzle compresses air and oil, transporting it to the spark where it is ignited to create heat. Ignitors can easily become clogged or broken—leaving you without heat. Fortunately, oil furnace ignitor problems are relatively easy to troubleshoot.

Follow our guide below to troubleshoot your oil furnace ignitor problems, or contact us today for professional oil furnace repair.

How to Troubleshoot Your Oil Furnace Ignitor

Follow these steps below to troubleshoot your oil furnace’s ignitor issues:

  1. First, shut down the furnace if it is operating. Wait until your oil furnace is completely cool before attempting to troubleshoot your ignitor.
  2. Close the oil valve on the line connected to your furnace.
  3. Cut off the circuit breaker. This will eliminate the threat of electric shock and prevent you from shorting out the circuits.
  4. Remove the access panel. This should be held in place by several screws.
  5. Locate the blast cone, which should be positioned below the oil burner. At the end of the blast cone, you’ll find the cowling. Remove the cowling from the blast cone. On some models, the cowling will screw off while on others it may simply slide off. Once the cowling is removed, your fuel nozzle and ignitor electrode will be exposed.
  6. Check the fuel nozzle for clogs and give it a thorough cleaning to remove any unwanted build-up.
  7. Connect the wires from the ignitor to the contacts on your ignition transformer. This will be the box shaped object that produces the spark on the electrode.
  8. Carefully turn on your circuit breaker.
  9. There should be a red button on the outside of your oil furnace. Press this button and watch the ignitor tip. If you do not see a spark, there are two other things you can test.
  10. Shut off the circuit breaker again to prevent electric shock.
  11. Find the two wires on the ignitor transformer and use an ohmmeter to test the voltage. If you get a zero reading, your ignitor electrode is broken and must be replaced. If it registers voltage, your problem lies somewhere else.
  12. The last thing you can try is to touch the ohmmeter rods directly to the contacts on the transformer. If you get a zero reading here, your transformer is faulty and needs to be replaced.

If none of these troubleshooting ideas help you identify the problem, contact a heating and cooling professional to help you diagnose your oil furnace’s problem.

Even if you are able to identify the issue on your own, we recommend using a professional to complete your repairs. Performing oil furnace repair can be dangerous and may even void your system’s warranty!

Oil Furnace Repairs and Replacement in Scranton, PA & Wilkes-Barre, PA

If you need oil furnace maintenance, repairs, or replacement, contact T.E. Spall & Son for professional oil furnace services. We will perform a thorough diagnostic check of your home’s oil furnace provide reliable furnace repair or replacement at a price you can afford.

Call T.E. Spall & Son today!

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