An oil burner should be cleaned, checked, and adjusted every year before the winter comes. You should call a professional serviceman to come out to your house on a yearly basis. Some oil companies have their own professionals and will offer you discounts if you set up a plan for them to come out and service your oil burner every year.
A few things you can do to keep your oil burner running smoothly and efficiently is to add a few drops of machine oil to the oil cups (if your furnace has them) every two to three months during the heating season. Another thing you can do is to vacuum around the oil burner clearing any opening that admits air to the burner’s blower.
When the burner is on, the draft regulator should tip 1 to 2 inches to allow air into the burner. If your draft regulator does not tip correctly, you can adjust the counterweight on the regulator to the proper positioning to allow the burner to get air. If you are able to see into the combustion chamber take notice to the color of the flame. It should be bright yellow and only the tip of the flame should be orange. There should not be any smoke. If you see smoke,in the combustion chamber or outside coming from your chimney, or if the flame appears to be orange in color or dirty looking, you should call the serviceman out to your house so he can make adjustments to your oil burner.
If you oil burner fails to start there are a few things you can check first before having to call the serviceman. Check to see if the emergency switch has flipped, sometimes there are two of these. One is usually on the oil burner itself, while the other is usually on a nearby wall. Check to see if you breaker box has had a circuit breaker go off. If you reset this and the oil burner shuts it off again, you should call your serviceman. Check your oil supply. Sometimes the gages get stuck and will tell you that you have more oil than you actually have. You can open the filler cap and stick a long stick into the pipe to see if your gage is correct. Push the reset button on the burner or flue. Make sure that you only press this once, or may fill up the chamber with oil and cause quite an explosion in your oil burner when the burner does light. If the burner starts but then immediately shuts off, call your serviceman as he will need to do some adjustments. If the burner sputters and shuts on and off, there may be dirt in the oil filters. You can clean these by shutting off the oil burner on the main power switch. Take off the lid to the pump housing at one end of the motor, remove the filters and clean them with kerosene.