Oil burner technicians that do business in Massachusetts are required to be licensed by the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal (MGL Ch.148 Sec.10C).
They are also required to obtain a permit from the local fire department any time they alter, repair, or install any oil burning equipment (MGL Ch.148 Sec.10A). Normal cleaning and efficiency maintenance of your oil burning equipment by a qualified oil burner technician does not generally require a permit, however, "alterations, repairs, or installations" do require a permit from the Fire Department.
When a permit is obtained in Tewksbury, an independent inspection of the completed work is performed by Fire Department personnel. This inspection focuses on the basic safety related features of your oil burning equipment; it does not ensure that all of the manufacturers installation instructions or guidelines have been met by the oil burner technician.
Homeowners Guide for Oil Burner Service
1. When you call the service company, you should always ask for the name of the individual who will be coming to your home to service your oil burner and for a cost estimate. Typically, there is a charge for a service call plus a fee for the parts needed. You should always perform a license search to confirm that the person holds a valid oil burner certificate of competency. To do this, please follow these steps:
- Go to the Department of Public Safety website at www.mass.gov/dps
On the right hand side under "Online Services", click on "License Search"
Click on "DPS License Lookup"
Make sure the search term is set to "Name" and enter the persons name into the search term space. A person holding a valid oil burner certificate of competency will have a "BU" indication under license type.
2. When the technician arrives, ask for proper identification.
3. A good technician will always ask questions of the home owner to assist in narrowing down the problem area. Typical questions include the following:
a. Has this happened before or is this the first time?
b. How was the unit running before it broke?
c. Was the unit making any odd noises or emitting unusual odors?
Has there been a recent power outage?
Have there been any recent changes to your heating system or its operation?
Have you hit any reset buttons or shut anything off?
Have you done on your own to attempt to resolve the problem?
4. If you agreed to the quote you should not be charged with an assistant without prior notice. If the labor necessary requires more than one person, you should be informed of this and have the ability to agree or disagree with the new quote. You should always stay with the technician while he is performing the labor to watch and ask questions.
5. The technician should check the position of switches and valves as well as the furnace for a buildup of oil inside the furnace before immediately hitting the reset button.
Finally, you should always feel free to ask the technician what the cause of the problem was; how he came to that conclusion; and what was done to correct the problem.
Homeowners Guide for Annual Oil Burner Cleanout
Oil burners and boilers should get a cleaning on an annual basis. Someone should always be present with the service technician while in your home.
When paying for a boiler / burner cleaning, make sure that the following is done:
The oil filter is replaced.
The burner nozzle is replaced. You may also want to ask the technician to show you the gallons per hour, the type of nozzle and make sure that it is the similar to the one removed,
The oil pump strainer is replaced.
The chimney and flues are opened and vacuumed clean.
The boiler is opened up and brushed / vacuumed.
The oil line is purged of air after the parts above are replaced.
The chimney cleanout port is closed after cleaning and the flue parts are screwed back together.
A combustion efficiency test is performed.
Before the technician leaves, you should run the thermostat up and make sure you get heat. This will ensure the technician didn’t inadvertently shut off a pump or close a valve.
You should also ask for documentation dated and signed by the technician with the results of the combustion efficiency and date performed.
Reprinted from The Official Website of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS).