Cleaning the chimney base is an important part of the yearly maintenance. When the oil burner runs it burns the #2 heating oil to create a flame. Variables such as air intake level and pump pressure, if changed, can alter the flame and cause it to run sooty. Something as simple as lint accumulation from a nearby dryer or animal fur can get sucked into the air intake, start to clog them and cause it to start running poorly. It’s recommended that homeowners take a small brush and clear the air intake on a regular basis to ensure proper combustion.

Signs of a burner running sooty can be little black pieces of soot that escape the smoke pipe on top of your boiler and other nearby devices. Our trained service technicians have soot vacuums that are specially designed for vacuuming soot. It’s not recommended for the homeowner to vacuum soot because it is designed to trap the fine particles that could be harmful if breathed or spread through the house.

When an oil fired home heating system is running poorly, soot can accumulate in the boiler passages, smoke pipe, and chimney. If the accumulation is too much, it will restrict the draft of the boiler and cause back pressure. Back-pressure will also cause the oil burner to run poorly and create more soot. If the passages block up enough, it will cause soot and exhausts to be expelled from the the boiler and into the boiler room or basement.

Other conditions can cause issue within the chimney itself, such as animals dying inside or storm water causing internal decay and damage to the chimney. It’s possible cleaning the chimney base will alleviate the problem, but a chimney sweep may also be in order.

Cleaning the chimney base as part of an annual maintenance is an important step in ensuring your heating system is running safely and efficiently. Don’t forget to schedule your annual maintenance!

If you see soot accumulation on the boiler, or smell unexpected fumes, the customer should turn the service (oil burner) switch off immediately and call aour licensed and insured service technician. We are ready to help 24/7, so if you live in Suffolk County, New York, call us for expert help if you are having issues with your oil burner.

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