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Tune-Up 101

 

“Tune-up” is a term that’s frequently heard in not only the home comfort industry, but in virtually every service industry. Though regular tune-ups are far too often overlooked, they are one of the most important services our industry offers. A properly performed tune-up assures you that your system is operating at peak safety, reliability, and efficiency. In fact, many of the most common repairs we are called to perform could have been avoided with a simple annual tune-up. But what exactly is a “tune-up”? Here’s a brief inside look at what a professional technician does when he services your system:

 

Visual Inspection of System & Oil Tank

The technician visually checks your equipment for any outward signs of impact damage, deterioration, or leaks.

 

Check Oil Lines

The oil line is inspected closely for leaks, kinks or dents. If the line runs underground, the technician confirms it is made of coated copper or has protective tubing to prevent corrosion. He also makes sure the correct fittings are installed and that they are damage-free.

 

Inspect Air Filter

The air filter is one of the most important components of your heating system. Dirty and neglected filters are among the leading causes of failure in both heating and cooling systems, and a clogged air filter can cause extensive damage. A clean filter can also save you money, since dirty air filters cause your system to use much more energy than clean ones. In fact, a clean air filter can help save a typical New England home up to 15% on heating costs.

 

Look for Signs of Sludge

Your entire system is inspected for signs of sludge, which can lead to clogged pipes, valves, fuel screens, and nozzles. Any of these clogs can mean a loss of heat and expensive system repairs.

 

Check Fuel Unit

The technician checks for leaks at the valve stem, filter and pump gasket. He also checks that the fuel pump and low-water fuel cut-off are working properly. The low-water fuel cutoff is a device designed to shut down heating equipment should the water level or pressure fall below a safe level, preventing system damage and potentially dangerous operating conditions.

 

Inspect Nozzle

This check verifies that the nozzle and settings conform to manufacturer specifications. The nozzle sprays heating oil into the combustion chamber. The spray pattern must be the right size and shape to ensure as complete combustion of the heating oil as possible.

 

Clean Flue Pipe

The technician brushes out the flue pipe, inspects the pipe’s condition, and replaces it if necessary.

The flue pipe is a key component of home heating systems. Exhaust gasses and other byproducts of combustion are expelled into the outside atmosphere through the flue, keeping them out of your home’s indoor air.

 

Check Chimney Base

The chimney base is cleaned and the chimney checked for blockages. A blocked chimney can be dangerous to both your home and anyone inside it. If there’s a high accumulation of broken brick or liner, you may have to consult a chimney professional.

 

Inspect Heat Exchanger and Combustion Area

The technician scrubs the flue passages and looks for signs of air or water leaks. He also inspects the condition of the refractory (high-temperature) material and repairs or replaces it if necessary.

 

Once these tasks are completed, it’s time to fire the unit and check its operation. After starting the burner, the technician checks the flame to make sure there’s no impingement. As the burner cycles, he evaluates the quality of ignition, operation, and cut-off. A complete efficiency test completes the tune-up.

 

This is just a brief overview of what takes place during a typical tune-up. Many companies tailor their tune-up methods to better suit their business and customers. Fsi Oil and Propane is proud to provide our customers a comprehensive 20-Point Oil Heating System Tune-Up that leverages our decades of experience and is designed to help keep systems running as efficiently and safely as possible, for as long as possible.