Smart Touch Energy Blog

Oil Furnace Troubleshooting: What to Do When Your Burner Keeps Tripping the Reset Button

Posted by Smart Touch Energy on Aug 8, 2016 2:59:11 PM


Is the reset button on your oil burner constantly tripping? Do you know what to do if it does? Resetting your oil burner is one of the most frequently misunderstood aspects of furnace maintenance in homes that rely on fuel oil. In this article, we’ll attempt to dispel some of the more common myths by providing practical advice that will keep your HVAC system working its best for years to come.

What Does a Furnace Reset Button Do?

All home furnaces have an easy-to-spot red reset button. This safety feature is designed to trigger automatically, shutting down your furnace when a problem is detected. Sometimes, this will happen by mistake, and getting your system up and running again is as easy as pressing the button.

However, if resetting your furnace fails to correct the issue, there’s a good chance the problem is more serious, and service is required.


What Can Cause a Reset Button to Trip?

A furnace reset button is connected to a sensor that monitors the flame of your burner. When the flame goes out, the reset button is tripped and the system shuts down to prevent damage. A burner’s flame can go out for a number of reasons, some of which are easy to correct while others require professional intervention:

  • Lack of fuel. The most simple explanation for furnace failure is that you’ve run out of heating oil. Keeping your oil tank full has a number of benefits, the most obvious of which is that fuel is required for your burner to run. If a furnace reset button is tripped by a lack of fuel, contact Smart Touch Energy to arrange delivery immediately.

Unfortunately, filling a tank from empty requires special prime and restart service to avoid damage to your burner. Avoid the problem altogether by signing up for our convenient Automatic Delivery program and making sure you always have enough oil on hand.

  • Closed valves: If you’ve got oil in your tank but your oil reset button keeps tripping, something is preventing that fuel from getting to your burner. Have any of the valves on your fuel line been closed accidentally? Be sure to check before going any further.

If you live in the Northeast, you probably know what it's like for your oil furnace to go out in the dead of winter. It's awful. Fortunately, you're usually able to make it function normally again by simply resetting it once. But what do you do when your burner keeps shutting off, even after you've tried to reset it?

How to Reset Your Oil Burner

If your oil furnace runs then shuts off, you will first need to locate the reset button on your furnace to get it running again.

  • Where is the reset button? The reset button is typically located inside the blower compartment on the side of the blower motor.
  • When should I press the reset button? First, you need to locate your circuit breaker and switch off the power supply to the furnace. Then, if you see that the button is up, push it to reset your furnace.
  • What if the reset button keeps popping up? Don't press it again, as it will continue to pump more oil into the furnace and worsen any existing issues.

If resetting your furnace doesn't work, you may have a serious problem that could require professional repair. But if you have experience with fixing oil furnaces, check for the following issues that you may be able to fix yourself.

  • Obstructed airflow: Sometimes the reset button gets tripped because the furnace isn't receiving enough airflow. Make sure to clean the air filters and keep enough vents open so the furnace has enough air to operate and clean the blower wheel as well.
  • Dirty flame sensor rod: Every now and then, the flame sensor rod gets dirty and shuts the furnace off. Make sure you wipe it off regularly.
  • Low fuel: Low fuel is also a common cause of burner failure. In this case, you'll need to add more fuel and then reset the burner.

If all three of the above items are resolved and your burner is still shutting off, it may be time to call a professional.

When to Call a Professional

If your oil burner reset button keeps tripping and it’s not due to an empty tank or shut valve, it’s time to call a professional for heating oil service. Common problems can include a dirty CAD cell, faulty burner or fuel pump, blocked oil nozzle, loose electrical connections and more — all of which are beyond the scope of a home repair.

A professional will have the tools and expertise necessary to pinpoint the issue and suggest appropriate repairs. If your burner reset button keeps tripping, contact Smart Touch Energy to request a service call today!

Heating Oil Delivery with Smart Touch Energy

We make getting heating oil delivered to your home is as easy as checking your email. With our convenient online ordering service, you can check heating oil prices and schedule a delivery any time from any location. Smart Touch Energy serves New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and Delaware. 

Check pricing and schedule delivery online. No Contracts. No Commitments. Never!

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Topics: heating systems


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