How Does a Heating Oil System Work?

Written on: January 29, 2024

Understanding Heating Oil System Controls

heating oil Chester County, PA You may already know that there are two types of central heating oil systems. These are a furnace, which sends warm air through ductwork, and a boiler, which sends hot water or steam through pipes. But let’s dive a little deeper and take a tour through some of the many controls you’ll find on both heating oil furnaces and heating oil boilers.

Limit controls, thermostats and switching relays are all used in the operation of heating oil systems. And these controls have become more accurate and sophisticated with the introduction of more technologically advanced equipment.

The Thermostat Has Full Control

The thermostat is the boss! It manages all the other controls to make the heating oil system start working. When heat is needed, the thermostat starts the oil burner through the primary control and an electrical circuit.

Today, many people are using a smart thermostat in their oil-heated homes. A Wi-Fi enabled thermostat allows you to view and change temperature settings from anywhere, thanks to your smartphone.

Once the smart thermostat gets installed, you register it online. This gives you access from any location. If you’re away from home, you can use your phone to adjust the temperature setting so your home is at the perfect temperature when you return. You can also monitor the temperature in your home when you’re away on vacation and call for help if you detect a heating problem.

Read more about smart thermostats.

Limit Controls for Heating Oil Systems

Limit controls on heating oil systems regulate warm air, water temperature and pressure control. There are two categories: high limit/safety controls and low limit/operating controls.

Primary Controls for Heating Oil Systems

Primary controls monitor the oil burner’s flame. Solid-state controls and advanced microprocessor-based controls are very accurate. Primary controls also have a reset button that allows you to restart your oil burner (when the power comes back on after an electrical outage, for example).
Additional protection circuits, such as the cad cell (cadmium sulfide photocell sensors) were added to heating oil systems in the 1970s. A cad cell, which is usually mounted on the oil burner, uses its photo cell “eye” to send a shutdown message to the primary control board if it cannot “see” the burner’s flame any more.

Oil Burner Power Switches

There are usually two switches that control the power to the oil burner. A red emergency switch is typically located at the top of the basement stairs. If the heating system is in a utility room, look for the emergency switch near the room’s entrance. A second burner power switch is typically found on or near the heating system. If your heat stops working, it’s always a good idea to check these switches to make sure they have not been turned off by accident.

Discount Heating Oil in NJ, DE, and PA

If you’re a homeowner in New Jersey, Delaware, or Pennsylvania who wants fast, affordable, and hassle-free low-cost, high-quality heating oil, order your fuel from Lawman’s Oil.

We offer COD fuel, the lowest possible prices, prompt deliveries and premium high-quality B20 Bioheat Plus® fuel. For the convenience of Lawman’s customers, you can go to our online portal to make your heating oil delivery requests.