In order for your oil furnace to function at its best, it needs consistent, steady fuel from the pump. That means that the pump needs to stay primed at all times. If the pump loses its prime, it's going to interrupt the supply of fuel to the furnace, which disrupts the heat production. There are a few primary reasons why the pump may lose its prime. Here are a few of the things that you should check.
Interrupted Fuel Supply
If the furnace stops working suddenly, that is often a sign that the tank is out of fuel, or the fuel isn't reaching the furnace. Start by checking the oil tank. Even if there's a gauge attached that shows fuel in the tank, check it anyway. Sometimes, gauges get stuck and don't read properly.
Air In The Fuel Line
If you have a loose fuel nozzle, it can allow air to seep into the fuel lines. That air will interrupt the pump's prime. You may be able to smell fuel around the pump or at the furnace, and there will be visible staining where the nozzle is leaking. Sometimes, the leak is around a compression fitting. If there are any compression fittings on your system, you may want to replace them with flared fittings. They're airtight and sealed against liquid, which keeps them from leaking.
You might be able to tighten a loose fuel nozzle yourself, but some nozzles require a special wrench to do it properly. If you're going to tighten it yourself, make sure you let the furnace cool completely before you remove the cover. If you are not comfortable doing the work yourself, a furnace repair technician can help. He or she can even help you locate the leaking nozzle or fitting, saving you from trying to search it out yourself.
Clogs In The Oil Filter
The fuel in your furnace will contain some debris, dirt and other particles. Those things will clog the fuel filter over time. This can actually reduce the flow of fuel through the filter, which also reduces the fuel reaching the pump and burner. If you're having trouble getting fuel to the pump and losing prime because of it, the filter may be clogged and blocking fuel flow. You can replace the filter easily, or you can call a furnace repair technician to do the replacement for you.
If you can't get to the bottom of the issue with these tips, talk with a furnace technician from a company like Affordable Plumbing & Heat. He or she can do more detailed work to identify deeper issues with the system and get them repaired.