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Bleeding Your Furnace After Running Out of Heating Oil

Whether you’ve run out of heating oil or just moved into a house with oil heat, it’s probably time to bleed your furnace. If you just refilled your oil tank and your furnace didn’t kick back on, you likely need to bleed and restart your furnace. Bleeding your lines is the process of getting the air out of your fuel lines after your tank has run empty. You can hire a professional to take care of this in the safest and most efficient manner possible, or follow our steps to bleed your lines yourself.

Bleeding Your Furnace Safely

If you’re not typically one to handle home projects, we don’t recommend doing this yourself. While bleeding the lines is not inherently dangerous, you are dealing with equipment that gets extremely hot and is connected to electricity. If you’re not 100% comfortable with what you’re doing, don’t work on it alone. Keep one of your family members nearby for assistance. If you’re not up for a DIY project today, call Bucks County Fuel to resolve the issue.

How to Bleed Your Fuel Lines

  1. Make sure your tank has enough oil. This entire process is for nothing if your tank doesn’t have oil in it. So before you get started, ensure that your tank is full.
  2. Try the reset button. If you’re reading this article, you might’ve already tried this. You want to hit the reset button after your tank was filled. You don’t need to bleed the lines unless your furnace doesn’t start up after the fuel tank was filled.
  3. Turn off the furnace. Depending on the age of your furnace, you’ll either need to flip a switch on or near the furnace, or turn it off at the breaker.
  4. Find what you need. First, locate the manual to your furnace to find out if you’ll need either an Allen key or a wrench to fit the bleeder valve. You’ll also need a container to catch the oil that bleeds out. If you plan on reusing the oil that comes out, you must put it in a clean container and ensure there is no sludge or grime in it. You’ll want to have an old towel or a couple of rags nearby for your hands and to wipe up any oil drips.
  5. Locate the bleeder valve. This will be found near the fuel pump, it’s usually a metal hex nut or a rubber plug. It’s going to be small and could be hard to locate, so take your time. Loosen it just slightly to ensure you can turn it when the time comes, tighten it just slightly again to prevent oil from dripping out.
  6. Position your bucket or container underneath the bleeder valve. You can also attach 1/4 inch nylon tubing to the bleeder valve and place the other end in your bucket for splashing and spilling prevention. Oil on the floor is an enormous slipping hazard, so make sure your bucket is directly where it needs to be to catch the oil.
  7. Turn on the furnace. Turn it on and unscrew the hex nut just until oil begins to flow out. You don’t want the nut to detach completely, it will likely take about a quarter turn to open it up enough for oil to flow out. Air and oil will be exiting at the same time. Let it drain into the bucket until a solid stream of oil comes out. If the furnace cycle stops before the oil flows out smoothly, you’ll need to push the reset button again. Sometimes it can take a few cycles for it to run totally clean. Tighten the screw once the air is out of the lines.
  8. Your furnace should be running well. With the above steps completed, your furnace should be running smoothly. If it’s not, you might need to complete the process again or contact an HVAC professional for some extra assistance.

HVAC Repairs in Bucks County, PA

Bucks County Fuel provides reliable heating repair services in the Bucks County area at affordable rates. When your heating system is not providing the warmth you & your family need, give us a call for professional heating repair services. We’ve been serving homeowners and business owners for over 10 years, offering the best heating and cooling services in your area. Our HVAC specialists are ready at a moment’s notice to diagnose your heater’s issues, then provide a solution that makes sense. We understand heating your home can be costly, that is why we are dedicated to providing affordable heater repair services to all of our customers. Striving to save our customers money year after year, our goal is to be the best HVAC company in Bucks County. We even provide the best heating oil prices in your area and deliver at no cost to you!