Homeowners should inspect their heating oil system periodically for defects. An inspection can alert you to leakage problems with the tank or supply lines, as well as malfunctions within the heating oil appliances. It is imperative that you know the location of supply valves and how they operate in case of an emergency.
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Things you need
- Adjustable wrench
Locate the breaker for the furnace in your homes breaker box and flip it to the off position to prevent the furnace from turning on during maintenance or when the oil supply is low.
Find the shutoff valve on the heating oil tank supply line. Every heating oil tank has an oil supply line that runs to the home. Aboveground tanks have the valve on the tank; below-grade tanks position the valve where the line enters the home.
Grasp the knob to the shutoff valve and turn it clockwise. Typically shutoff valves have a knob that is turned multiple times to close it or a lever that is turned perpendicular to the pipe to shut off the heating oil.
Locate the heating oil line coming from the furnace. It should be made of copper or brass tubing. Follow the line with your eye from the tank until you locate the fusible-link safety shutoff valve. It should be located within 3 feet of the furnace for safety reasons. They are meant to shut off the unit during a fire to prevent an explosion.
Turn the valve clockwise to stop the flow of heating oil. If the knob has broken off, grasp the nut with a pair of adjustable pliers and turn it until it stops.
Tips and warnings
- Turn off the heating oil in inclement weather that could cause a flood.
- Turn off the heating oil at the first sign of a leak.
- Turn off the supply valve if the tank has a low supply of heating oil.
- Contact authorities in case of spills.
- Fuel oil spills may contaminate wells or storm water drains and destroy septic systems.
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