Removing Clogs from Your Oil-Boiler Fuel Line


If you have an oil-boiler heating system and notice that the system fires but does not turn on, then there is a possibility that you have a clog in the fuel line. A typical boiler will have a long stainless-steel fuel line that runs from your oil tank to your boiler. Keep reading to learn about some ways to remove clogs so you can get your heating system up and running again.

Clean the Filter

If you have an oil-boiler heating system, then you also have an oil tank that allows you to store a large quantity of fuel. Oil tanks are made from steel, and they can rust on the interior. Dirt can come into the tank through the cap or opening on the top of the tank, and microorganisms inside the oil tank will eat away at the stored fuel and create liquid byproducts. Algae may form in the tank as well, and so will condensation. All of these things mix together to create a sludge in the oil tank. 

Some sludge in the supply tank is normal. However, when the sludge builds over time and the supply tank starts to empty, the debris gets pulled into the oil line. The sludge can then clog the line. If your oil tank is old or has not been cleaned in a number of years, then buildup is likely, and so is a clog. 

The first step in removing sludge is to clean out the oil filter. Follow your fuel line inside your home until you see a small round canister. This will be the oil filter. The filter will sit in a casing, and you will need to clean out the casing and the filter inside. The casing will have a nut on top that secures the top cap in place. Use a socket wrench to remove the bolt and pull it off the cap. Remove the cap and gently pour the contents of the filter casing into a bucket. Inspect the contents for rust flakes and thick brown debris. This will indicate that sludge has started to move through the oil line. Pull out the oil filter from the canister. 

Most oil-boiler filters can be cleaned. However, if is wise to replace the filter completely if it has become encrusted with debris. Purchase a new filter from your local home store. Wool felt varieties are best for replacements, since the material is durable, resilient, and remains strong when placed in direct and constant contact with heating oil.

Wipe out the canister housing before adding the new filter. Slip the cap on the top when you are done and secure the bolt.

Force the Clog Out of the Supply Line

Once you have removed the debris from the filter, you will need to pull out the clog from the fuel line that leads to the filter. Disconnect the line to access it. You can do this by using a wrench to loosen the bolt that connects the oil line to the filter housing. Remove the bolt and pull the fuel line away from the filter. Gently bend the steel line upward so you can work with it more easily. 

To get your boiler up and running again, you will want to pull the clog out of the fuel line. Purchase a hand-pump tool from your local home store or heating supplier to complete the job. The correct tool is called a pressure and vacuum hand pump. Twist the quick-connect fitting onto your fuel line and connect a small hose to the outlet or discharge port on the tool. Place the end of the hose in a bucket. Pull on the handle of the pump to pull heating oil and the clog out of the fuel line. Keep an eye on the fuel leaving the discharge line, and stop using the hand pump when clear fuel starts to release from the hose.

Remove the hand pump and reattach the fuel line to the side of the filter housing when you are done. If you would like help, contact an HVAC contractor such as Hartman Heating, Air and Fireplaces

About Me

Remaining Comfortable In Your Home after Completing a Major Renovation

In a few, short months, my spouse and I will begin the construction process to build a much needed addition onto our small home. The addition will include a den and a master suite. But because our home will be much larger after the building process is complete, we will need to update our HVAC system. After speaking with our knowledgeable HVAC contractor, we’ve decided to purchase a second heating and air conditioning unit for our home. This additional unit will be considerably smaller than our current one. It will only heat and cool the new addition to our house. On this blog, I hope you will discover the best options for heating and cooling a home after building an addition onto it.

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