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Maintaining the oil heating system in your home is a joint project. Some of the necessary items are definitely reserved for a qualified heating professional. Usually, they’ll be done in the course of the system’s scheduled annual inspection and preventive maintenance. Other tasks, however, are more in the DIY category and should be part of regular household upkeep. These steps require no specialized tools or expertise but play a big role in sustaining optimum efficiency and performance.

Here’s how you can contribute to maintaining the oil heating system in your home.

  1. Change the air filter monthly. A dirty air filter reduces airflow, impacting system energy efficiency and boosting operating costs. It also affects comfort performance because dirt infiltrating the heat exchanger makes your furnace warm less effectively.  
  2. Keep the furnace room clean. Good housekeeping extends to the heating system. Air for furnace combustion is drawn from the furnace room. Dirt, dust or other particulates in that air contaminate furnace surfaces and ductwork, impacting performance and efficiency.
  3. Check the furnace flame. Anything other than a steady blue flame is bad news. Yellow-orange colors or flickering should be a sign to call your HVAC service contractor ASAP.
  4. Turn down the thermostat. Maintain home temperatures no higher than 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees or so during sleeping hours. You’ll save 10 percent in oil costs for every 10 to 15 percent reduction in thermostat settings.
  5. Change the oil filter at seasonal start-up every year — or make sure the HVAC technician does it. Water and dirt particles accumulate inside storage tanks. Keep them out of the pump and burner nozzle to avoid system failures with an annual filter change.
  6. Use exhaust fans sparingly. An exhaust fan running overtime can pull a lot of heat out of the home. Your furnace runs extended "on" cycles to make up for the heat loss. Turn fans off as soon as they’ve cleared the air or, better yet, have all exhaust fans operated by a timer switch.

For more on maintaining the oil heating system, contact the oil heat experts at Griffith Energy Services.

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