Furnace Reset Switch Fundamentals: A Crash Course

Your home's oil-burning furnace has a reset button on the burner. That reset button is a safety mechanism. It triggers an automatic system shut-down if there's a problem with the furnace that could be significantly hazardous. While sometimes the reset will trip accidentally, it's important that you understand this safety button, its function, and what can cause it to trip. Here are some of the things that you need to know.

How Does The Reset Button Work?

The safety reset on your furnace is connected to a sensor or a series of sensors that will shut the furnace down if the pilot light or burner shut down. Whether it's an interruption in the fuel source or any other problem that disrupts the flame, the safety reset button will shut the furnace down to prevent any catastrophic problems. 

What Kinds Of Things Can Trigger The Reset Button?

At the core, your reset button will shut the furnace down as a result of interruption in the fuel supply. This can be caused by a couple of different things. 

The first thing you should check is to make sure that there's fuel in your oil tank. If the tank has run out of oil, the interruption will result in the pilot light going out, which will trip the safety switch. You'll have to get an oil refill and then bleed the system using the reset button and the bleeder valve to restore the furnace's proper operation.

If there's oil in the tank, that means there's an interruption somewhere between the tank and the furnace. In most cases, it's a valve that's been closed, shutting off the flow of oil to the burner. Make sure that the valves are open so that the oil is flowing properly. Once you have restored the flow of oil to the burner, you can hit the reset button to ignite the burner again.

What Should You Know About The Reset Button?

The safety reset will be programmed with a limiter switch in it. You can only press the reset button once every thirty seconds or so. This is intended to keep from burning out the pump by starting the furnace burner without a fuel source. Take your time and allow the burner to rest for a minute between cycles. 

If the reset button doesn't restore operation after a cycle or two, you'll need to call a furnace repair technician. He or she can evaluate the situation to figure out what's triggered the safety reset and fix the problem. The more you understand, the easier it is to keep your furnace running properly and safely.