If your oilheating system has remained in good condition and continues to operate to your satisfaction, it’s still possible that the oil burner may be out of date. Older burners are not as efficient, which means you’re probably spending more money on heat than you should.
Usually, the industry’s rule of thumb is this: if the efficiency of the furnace or boiler is less than 75%—even after a system tune-up has been done—a new burner is advisable. (Your heating oil company may be able to retrofit it with a modern, efficient burner.) A new high-efficiency burner often pays for itself in just a few years through lower heating costs.
When your house gets chilly, the thermostat will send a signal to tell the oil burner in the furnace or boiler to turn on. A fuel pump then starts to draw the oil from the tank and through fuel lines to reach the oil burner.
There is a piece on the burner called the nozzle, which turns the oil into a very fine spray. This oil mist mixes with air and ignites in the combustion chamber, which gets very hot. This heat then gets moved around your home and comes out either through radiators, baseboards or vents.
How efficiently this is done depends on the design of the burner. The newest burners contain electronic pre-purge and post-purge controls to ensure ultra-clean starts and stops. New two-stage burners also have an efficiency level that’s 5–15% higher than older ones because they have been designed to conserve fuel.
Please contact your local heating oil company for more information about your options in new, high-efficiency oil burners.