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  1. #1
    stonefly's Avatar
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    Default Oil furnace yearly clean/tune-up necessary?

    Is the recommended yearly clean out/tune up for an oil furnace necessary or is it something that can be done every other year?

    I am wondering if it is worth the expense every year.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    stock's Avatar
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    Every year for oil. Gas every couple. They should charge about $175.
    Chris
    Philadelphia Salvage
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    542 Carpenter Lane - Retail and Custom
    2234 W. Westmoreland "The Foundry"

    "Anyone who would trade their freedom for safety
    deserves neither freedom or safety."

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  3. #3
    jgentrification is offline Junior Member
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    FWIW, I just had a guy repair and clean my old cast iron oil boiler. Cost me only $125. Old school guy who knows his stuff. Name is Jimmy Lawrence and his # is 215 743-6382.

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    Braveheart is offline Mismember
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    What's a gallon of oil selling for lately?

  5. #5
    Eastcoast is offline Senior Member
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    What's a gallon of oil selling for lately?
    Grapeseed per gallon will set you back quite a bit.

    I second the yearly tune up that Stock recommends. I used to have a weekend place in the Catskills and let the maintenance of the oil system go for about three years with some pretty stinky results. After about three hours the cabin smelled like the inside of a Panzer during the N Africa Campaign, the girlfriend was not pleased.

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    General maintenance is pretty simple, if you decide to do it yourself.

    Basically, you want to undo the 2 bolts and open it up. Vacuum out the flame chamber and clean the automatic ignition contacts. There really shouldn't be much ash or soot in there. Change the oil filter and your good to go.

    If it looks super grody call up a pro your nozzle could be funked up or something.

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    boognish is offline Senior Member
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    What's the general maintenance on a gas boiler like? I vacuumed out the chimney cleanout, oiled the circulator, and cleaned out the flame chamber. No automatic ignition on my 1973 beast.

    Am I missing anything?

  8. #8
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    Thats about it on a gas furnace. Change the air filter, but everyone does that anyway.

    Personally, I like boilers better, but thats just me. I would take off my air vents and stick a vacuum down there too once every couple years. Air ducts get super duper gross after a long time. Its not comparable to a professional duct cleaning, but I figure its better than nothing.

    I would also recommend everyone get those programmable digital thermostats! They rock and are pretty cheap anymore.

  9. #9
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    If you're going to be in the house for a while, and you're handy, here is an idea I heard.

    A woman I know hired a guy to come clean and tune up here heater (gas boiler). The fee was something like $175ish. She said "I'll pay you $300 if you show me how to clean it so I can do it my self". So for a little extra, she took a safety and maintenance class and by the time next year comes around it will have paid for it's self. Pretty smart!
    Chris
    Philadelphia Salvage
    Design Build

    542 Carpenter Lane - Retail and Custom
    2234 W. Westmoreland "The Foundry"

    "Anyone who would trade their freedom for safety
    deserves neither freedom or safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin

  10. #10
    HomeInspectorBC is offline Senior Member
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    Hello and Happy Wednesday,

    There is much more to maintaining a heater then just vacuuming and changing a filter. A pro will check connections, look for distressed/worn parts that could lead to failure during the heating season so that you are not calling in an emergency at 9 o'clock at night an paying an emergency fee. It is a great practice to have your gas or oil heater serviced every year, not just for a general cleaning but for preventive maintenance that could lead to failure during the heating season. The warranty on your heater probably requires professional service annually to keep the warranty in effect.

    It is also a good idea to add a rain cap onto to the chimney to prevent water/acid rain damage to the interior of the chimney, it is the number one issue we see with chimney failure during inspections. If the chimney has not been inspected in the last 5 years it is a very good idea to have a professional look at the condition of the interior of the chimney as deteriorated liners can allow carbon monoxide back into the living space area. Oil burns dirty and a chimney exhausting an oil heater should be inspected every couple of years with or without a rain cap.

    Thank you for your time,
    Brian Connelly
    Safe & Sound Home Inspections
    Serving the great states of PA-NJ-DE
    Toll Free 1 866 485-1991
    www.asafensoundhomeinspection.com

  11. #11
    toxigal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomeInspectorBC View Post
    Hello and Happy Wednesday,

    There is much more to maintaining a heater then just vacuuming and changing a filter. A pro will check connections, look for distressed/worn parts that could lead to failure during the heating season so that you are not calling in an emergency at 9 o'clock at night an paying an emergency fee. It is a great practice to have your gas or oil heater serviced every year, not just for a general cleaning but for preventive maintenance that could lead to failure during the heating season. The warranty on your heater probably requires professional service annually to keep the warranty in effect.

    It is also a good idea to add a rain cap onto to the chimney to prevent water/acid rain damage to the interior of the chimney, it is the number one issue we see with chimney failure during inspections. If the chimney has not been inspected in the last 5 years it is a very good idea to have a professional look at the condition of the interior of the chimney as deteriorated liners can allow carbon monoxide back into the living space area. Oil burns dirty and a chimney exhausting an oil heater should be inspected every couple of years with or without a rain cap.

    Thank you for your time,
    so, i if i wanted my gas forced air furnace annually maintained, who would i call and how much can i expect to pay?

  12. #12
    HomeInspectorBC is offline Senior Member
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    Hello Toxigal,

    I hope this message finds you well and I would start at PGW's parts and labor plan at 215 235-1000, it is probably the most economical and there is no ulterior motive for the service technician to sell you unnecessary items. Otherwise find a reputable heating contractor in your locale.

    Thank you for your time,
    Brian Connelly
    Safe & Sound Home Inspections
    Serving the great states of PA-NJ-DE
    Toll Free 1 866 485-1991
    www.asafensoundhomeinspection.com

  13. #13
    stonefly's Avatar
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    Many plumbers do furnace/boiler maintenance too. I have used Tony Sweeney for plumbing repairs and his prices were very fair and he did nice work. He also does furnace/boiler maintenance as well. I haven't used him for my oil heater maintenance. Our oil supplier normally does our maintenance.

    215-884-8375

  14. #14
    devilspocket is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomeInspectorBC View Post
    Hello Toxigal,

    I hope this message finds you well and I would start at PGW's parts and labor plan at 215 235-1000, it is probably the most economical and there is no ulterior motive for the service technician to sell you unnecessary items. Otherwise find a reputable heating contractor in your locale.

    Thank you for your time,
    According to PGW, their plan does not cover, "routine checks, normal maintenance or seasonal start-up".

  15. #15
    Braveheart is offline Mismember
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    The best maintenance plan I've heard of for an oil burner, is the " Get rid of the Stinker " plan. I had one for years and
    find gas much less of a hassle, as well as more economical by far. Getting rid of the tank was a bi+ch though

  16. #16
    HomeInspectorBC is offline Senior Member
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    PGW's parts and labor plan provides next day service in the event PGW cannot get there the next day, the owner can call a heating contractor to repair the heater and PGW will credit your account. The plan is definitely worth looking into. Otherwise I would call Tony Sweeney of Sweeney Plumbing and Heating at 215 206-9016.
    Brian Connelly
    Safe & Sound Home Inspections
    Serving the great states of PA-NJ-DE
    Toll Free 1 866 485-1991
    www.asafensoundhomeinspection.com

  17. #17
    Braveheart is offline Mismember
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    Quote Originally Posted by boognish View Post
    What's the general maintenance on a gas boiler like? I vacuumed out the chimney cleanout, oiled the circulator, and cleaned out the flame chamber. No automatic ignition on my 1973 beast.

    Am I missing anything?
    It's a good idea to check your pressure gauge to ensure you have about 7 psi per heated floor, and you can note leakage
    this way. I hung a clipboard next to the heater for notes, which is rare.

  18. #18
    Braveheart is offline Mismember
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastcoast View Post
    Grapeseed per gallon will set you back quite a bit.

    I second the yearly tune up that Stock recommends. I used to have a weekend place in the Catskills and let the maintenance of the oil system go for about three years with some pretty stinky results. After about three hours the cabin smelled like the inside of a Panzer during the N Africa Campaign, the girlfriend was not pleased.
    A second from a three year neglector for a one year tune-up? I'll third that.

    Current Penn fuel prices, residential heating oil first: Oct 4 - $2.76 gal.....Oct 25 - $2.87.....Nov 8 - $2.96

    Natural gas: 1990's - $2.- per 1000 cubic feet
    2005 - $15.- " " "
    Now - $ 3.50 " " "

    When you do convert to natural gas include a line also to convert the dryer, you'll save plenty.

  19. #19
    Eastcoast is offline Senior Member
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    When you do convert to natural gas include a line also to convert the dryer, you'll save plenty.
    Heck throw in a line for a gas range in the kitchen and one for a fireplace in the living room as well.

  20. #20
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    I wouldn't switch to gas. PGW has about the highest gas rates in the country. At least with oil you have a wide choice of suppliers.

    Plus, I have a feeling as time goes on gas is going to become more and more expensive. With an oil furnace/boiler you can convert them to burn alternative fuels like bio-diesel very easily.

    If your even more handy, there is a whole movement of people converting to waste oil, things like used cooking oils.

 

 

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