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Commonly Reported HVAC Problems:

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Oil burner keeps tripping the reset button:

Beckett Oil Burner, notice the red reset button

That would be the little red button on the box at the oil burner itself. If your oil burner stops running the first thing you should check is the reset button. If you press it and the burner fires up then that was the problem. If the button should trip again then there is a definite problem and you should schedule a service call immediately.

CAUTION: Can not stress this enough... Do not keep resetting the button and ignoring the problem.

Now, what is this button and why would it trip?

It is a safety device. It shuts the burner down when it thinks there is a problem. It is on the primary control and is hooked-up to a cad cell, which is basically a light sensor. (The same thing that turns outside lights on at dusk.)

On a call for heat, with the burner running, the cad cell senses the light of the flame. If it stops sensing the light of the flame, it causes the red button to trip, shutting down the burner before any significant damage can be done.

cad cell
Now, why would the sensor stop sensing light while the burner is running?

Many reasons, and almost all of which require a service call. And please, for your own safety, not to mention quality and efficiency, do not attempt your own repairs or maintenance on oil burners. The transformer and/or ignitor is aproximately 10,000 volts.

Below is a list of possible causes. Items in red usually require a service call. Items in blue however can be addressed, some even fixed by the homeowner.


Red = Professional fix | Blue = Homeowner fix

  • Faulty or dirty cad cell
  • Faulty primary control
  • Bad or weak ignition transformer or ignitor
  • Bad burner motor
  • Bad fuel pump
  • Blocked oil filter, strainer or nozzle
  • Delayed oil valve not opening (some units)
  • Cracked electrodes
  • Improperly set electrodes
  • Air in fuel line
  • Burner running with a very high smoke
  • Burner sooted-up
  • Loose electrical connections
  • Damaged flexible coupling
  • Water in oil tank
  • Out of oil - Have your tank filled
  • Chimney blocked - Have it cleaned
  • Closed oil valve - Open valve
  • Air in the fuel line, pump not primed - Prime pump, may need to call for service

Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and Hannabery HVAC does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.

Commonly Reported HVAC Problems

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