Heating Repair: Troubleshooting Malfunctioning Oil Or Gas Burner When Safety Switch Is Not Tripped

Posted on: 31 March 2015

Maintaining a consistent temperature within the household requires approximately 48% of your household's total energy consumption. Making sure that you regularly inspect your oil or gas burner and diagnose any problem that may come up immediately will reduce energy loss. The most common sign that there is a problem is when the safety switch is tripped; however, what do you do when your oil or gas burner is simply not working and the safety switch has not been tripped? Read on to find out.

Check Thermostat Settings

The thermostat is responsible for detecting the temperature in a room. If you have specified that you would like the room to be maintained at a higher temperature, the thermostat will send a signal to the oil or gas burner telling it to send heat over. In short, if the thermostat settings are not right, there will be no heat in the house. You want to make sure that the thermostat settings are set at a couple of degrees higher than room temperature, and preferably closer to what your ideal temperature is.

Once you have reset the thermostat, you will want to wait for an hour or two for the oil or gas burner to start working and distributing heat again. If the thermostat is set correctly and re-setting it does not alter the room temperature, then there are only two options left: the thermostat is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced or the problem lies not in the thermostat, but elsewhere.

Check Fuel Level in the Tank

Perhaps, the true problem lies in the fact that you are out of heating oil. If you are out of heating oil, your oil or gas burner will stop running immediately, but the safety switch will not be tripped. Most experts recommend inspecting fuel levels regularly in order to refill the tank before it runs out. Allowing the heating oil to run out completely can cause damage to the burner. The tank should be refilled when it is less than a quarter full. Keep in mind that the nine warmest months will generally use an equivalent amount of heating oil as the three coldest months.

With that said, simply purchase heating oil and refill the tank for it to start running smoothly again. Restarting the tank is as easy as simply pushing the reset button. To save money, experts recommend filling the tank before heating season begins.

Relay Trouble Due to Being Overly Tight

Last but not least, relay troubles are also some of the most common problems associated with a malfunctioning oil or gas burner when the safety switch is not tripped. Generally speaking, a clear indicator that there are relay troubles will be a distinct humming or buzzing sound coming from the heating system control where the relay switch and unit lies. If the cover that holds the relay switch is too tight, it may prevent the relay from operating entirely. This will lead to a loss of heat.

To solve this problem, simply pull the cover off. You should see the results that you are looking for immediately. Speak with a heating repair technician to determine whether the cover needs to be replaced or whether it needs to be readjusted.


When the oil or gas burner is not working, you can try to diagnose and troubleshoot the problem by yourself; however, you should highly consider speaking with a heating repair technician from a place like A Bailey Plumbing if you do not have any prior experience in handling the burner, as there are many safety hazards that you need to be aware of. This is especially true if you may be dealing with the electrical circuit that supplies the burner or any electric motor problems.