How To Change Furnace Oil Filter? Step-By-Step Guide


Debarghya Roy

Changing a furnace oil filter is essential for a good heating system. A dirty or clogged filter can cause heat loss, fire safety issues, and improper burner operation. But, how to change the filter is not always clear, especially if you’re unfamiliar with home heating systems. Here’s what you need to know about replacing a heating oil filter; you have to locate the oil filter assembly, to start turning off the power supply to your furnace, take safety precautions like using gloves or goggles, and before turning your furnace back on, check for air bleeder screw and make sure there is no air trapped in lines. An annual service call by a specialist in heating equipment can help detect early signs of wear and tear. Changing your furnace oil filter regularly guarantees a better heating system, since a clogged filter can cause expensive repairs and safety hazards.

Key Takeaways


  • Changing the furnace oil filter is important to keep your heating system running safely and efficiently. If neglected, it can lead to fires, and damage to equipment or property.
  • Before changing the filter, have gloves and the necessary tools. Place a cloth beneath the canister to avoid air and oil leaks. Dispose of the used filter in a plastic bag. 
  • Regular maintenance is key to keeping your heating equipment safe and efficient.
  • When it comes to heating equipment, common issues may arise like oil leaks, air leaks, clogged filter cartridges, and no heat/reduced heat output.
How To Change Furnace Oil Filter

Importance of Changing Furnace Oil Filter


Changing the furnace oil filter is important to keep your heating system running safely and efficiently. If neglected, it can lead to fires, air or oil leaks, and damage to equipment or property. For this reason, changing the furnace oil filter on a regular basis is essential. Here’s a 6-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Shut off the heating system: This is necessary to work safely and avoid power or pressure-related accidents.
  2. Find the Oil Filter Assembly: It’ll usually consist of a filter canister/base with a cartridge, gaskets, and o-rings.
  3. Remove the Old Filter Cartridge: Use a wrench to unscrew the center bolt from the canister lid in a counter-clockwise direction. Then throw away the old cartridge.
  4. Clean the Canister/Lid and Fiber Washer: Clean any sludge or debris build-up by cleaning the canister base and lid. Change the fiber washer if it’s worn or damaged.
  5. Install the New Filter Cartridge: Put a thin coat of clean oil around the seal threads, then place the new cartridge in until it’s tight. Then tighten the center bolt on the top cap.
  6. Bleed Air from Oil Piping System: Unscrew the air bleeder screw on the pump strainer in an anti-clockwise direction and catch the air/water mixture in a bucket or cloth. If there are leaks, tighten the fittings and connections to avoid fire risks.

Remember to include changing the furnace oil filter in your yearly maintenance plan. This will help maintain efficiency, reduce energy waste, and minimize repair costs.

Did you know that wool-felt filters used to be permanent filters for heating oil tanks? Now it’s time to gear up and get ready for a messy oil filter change!

Preparing for Oil Filter Change In Furnace


Want to ensure your oil filter change runs smoothly? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Locate the heating oil tank and filter canister. If you’re stuck, consider help from a service technician.
  2. Turn off your equipment and let it cool down.
  3. Close the shutoff valve or cut off the power supply.
  4. Keep a container and cloth nearby for any oil leaks.
  5. Get the required tools: wrenches, pliers, buckets, screwdrivers, fiber washers, gloves, and plastic bags.
  6. Read your boiler manual for model-specific instructions.

Remember that improper oil burner operation could be dangerous. Get annual service calls to save energy, and reduce the frequency of small leaks or faults.

Did you know sludge in oil storage tanks can cause rusted equipment, furnace heat loss, and more? Inspectapedia has the details.

Don’t let a clogged furnace oil filter freeze you out – get prepared for the heating season!

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Change Furnace Oil Filter


Changing your furnace oil filter is a must for improving efficiency and preventing damage. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Turn off the heating system: Ensure safety from potential injuries, electrical shocks, or fire.
  2. Locate the filter canister: It’s usually a circular or oblong flat cap on a vertical metal pipe near the bottom of the heating oil tank.
  3. Empty the oil lines: When spinning out air bleeder screws, stop when no air is expelled. Otherwise, it could build up and cause problems like water leakage.
  4. Remove the old filter cartridge: Turn off valves at the ends and loosen both end bolts with your hands.
  5. Replace the new filter cartridge: Put it in the canister lid, and tighten both ends gently. Use the fiber washer seal if needed.
  6. Purge the air: Bleed air until it auto-burns well. After tightening the air bleeder screw, check for any loss of pressure.

Before changing the filter, have gloves and the necessary tools. Place a cloth beneath the canister to avoid air and oil leaks. Dispose of the used filter in a plastic bag. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your heating equipment safe and efficient.

Maintenance and Safety Tips for Furnace Oil Filter 


Ensuring the safety of your heating oil filter is key for your system to work properly and avoid potential risks. Here are some Maintenance and Safety Tips to remember:

  • Change your Heating Oil Filter regularly – At least once a year. This prevents clogs, air leaks, low efficiency, and dangerous puff backs from sludge. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, or ask a technician for advice.
  • Inspect and Clean Components – Look for leaks, cracks, and misalignments in the oil piping system, tank fittings, bleeder screws, etc. Also, check gaskets, filter screens, and pump strainer/fuel nozzle for debris/clogs that could cause breakdowns.
  • Proper Disposal – After taking out the old filter cartridge from its canister base/body, properly discard it in an appropriate plastic bag/waterproof container. Failing to comply with state/federal regulations could get you fined.
  • Prioritize Fire Safety – Before replacing the oil filter, turn off the power supply/fuel shutoff valve to prevent leaking while spinning.
  • According to Inspectapedia.com; improperly installed Oil Burner systems cause 70% of all yearly service calls. This may result in power failures, heat loss, or even fires/explosions.
  • Fixing your furnace can be tricky, but these tips can help you get your home heated up quickly.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting Techniques of Furnace Oil Filter 


When it comes to heating equipment, common issues may arise. Here are some tips to try to resolve them.

  1. Oil Leaks: Loose fittings or damaged filter? Replace the oil filter cartridge and inspect the pipes for any leaks.
  2. Air Leak: Air bleeder screw not tight or fiber washer missing? Bleed air from the system and check fiber washer is in place and secured correctly.
  3. Clogged Filter Cartridge: Debris and sludge buildup in filter housing? Clean the filter housing by hand and install a permanent wool felt filter.
  4. No Heat/Reduced Heat Output: Nozzle dirty or clogged? Service tech should replace the nozzle, perform annual services, clean the furnace/boiler, inspect the pump strainer, and check power/gauge readings. Fire safety systems such as the fusible link should also be checked.

It’s important to remember that even after these tips, your equipment may need professional services. Small oil pipe leaks can cause damage if not addressed quickly. Also, old filter cartridges should be disposed of correctly as they may contain harmful substances.

Proper maintenance and frequent inspections can prevent extensive damage to heating systems. Changing an oil filter is like playing an operation with a heating system!

Conclusion and Final Thoughts


It’s important to note that with the increasing importance of energy efficiency and fire safety in heating systems, proper maintenance can save us from inconvenience, damage, and cost associated with service calls and repairs. The location of the oil filter canister base, type and size of fittings for the oil piping system or tank connection, location of air bleeder screw or valve, and whether you need a wool felt filter or fiber washer, all need attention. Dispose of old filters properly by putting them in a plastic bag and contact local services for details on safe disposal methods. Clean and inspect the pump strainer and gauge regularly. Install new filters every year as part of the annual service.  When screwing in new cartridges, use proper thread seal and avoid over-tightening techniques. Take care of your heating equipment and enjoy a warm and cozy home this winter!

About the author

Debarghya Roy: A heating systems author, Passionate about energy efficiency and sustainability, Sharing insights and empowering readers through informative blog articles.