Oil furnace not kickin in

Howdy all. I have oil heating in a house that I've only recently bought. I've never had to deal with oil heating before, but it's been working fine until this evening. I got in from work and the thermostat is set for 72 degrees, but it shows 61 degrees and will not kick in, despite adjusting it. The thermostat is a digital programmable one I installed a couple weeks ago and has worked flawlessly. The connections all seem fine. It indicates that the furnace should be on, but it clearly isn't. I changed the fan from auto to on and the fan did come on, but only blew cool air. I checked the oil reserve level, and it looks to me that I should have plenty still. So... at the moment I'm at a loss. I can't get to the furnace to inspect it tonight since it's in the crawl space under the house (ok... I could but it's awful dark!) So... any thoughts on what the problem could be? What I should look for? Thanks for any help!
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I'm guessing that you don't live in my area of the country as you don't seem to be worried about things freezing tonight. Here and now, I wouldn't give it more than a couple of hours before things were frozen solid without heat. So, anyway, if you were here, I would suspect that you didn't have the right grade of oil for the extreme cold and the oil had gotten too stiff to flow to the furnace. With the furnace in a crawl space, your oil tank is outside, I assume and exposed to the cold. I had problems with my oil furnace in my garage not starting earlier this year and the problem turned out to be a worn out nozzle. New nozzle and it's worked fine since. It would try to start, wouldn't ignite and thus kick out the switch. Tom.
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My first thought is water frozen in the bottom of the tank or in the feed line; but you didn't mention freezing temps. It mught be something as simple as needing to press the reset button of the controller. I have an old unit that seems to kick off for no reason one a year or so. Or, as Tom suggests, the oil itself may be thickening up. Lastly (or maybe firstly), I'd check the circuit breaker. Ya never know.
Joe F.
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=?ISO-8859-15?Q?Just_Annutha_Dewd?= wrote:

As suggested, get to the furnace when you're able and find the burner control "RESET" button. Press once and see if it lights off. Chances are the burner needs its annual "tune-up".
More info on burners here: http://www.freepoolheat.com/oil.html
Jim
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On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 09:04:04 -0500, upon awakening from a drug-induced coma, Speedy Jim woke up in a cold sweat and exclaimed:

Thanks to you and all for the tips. First thing this morning, I called up an oil distributor, and they said that if the dipstick showed 6" or less in the tank, then the fuel level likely is too low. Since I'm just under 6" on the dipstick, I'm going on the assumption that I simply need to refill the reservoir. I'm waiting patiently (and coldly!) for them to come along. The cold isn't intolerable... around 52 degrees... but I'd still hate to do this again tonight! Thanks for the advice.
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