It's 20 degrees out, after midnight, and your oil burning furnace shuts down. The house is getting cold and you dial the Emergency Service number provided by your oil dealer and request a service call.
What many homeowners do not realize is that the State of Massachusetts requires "Anyone installing, servicing or repairing power oil burners that burn fuel oil" hold a valid Massachusetts Oil Burner Technician Certificate. The only exception is if the person working on the oil burner is an apprentice, (and holds a valid Oil Burner Apprentice certificate), but even then the apprentice may only work on the burner under the direct supervision of a certified technician.
Thousands of times a day, throughout the state, unlicensed service people are making repairs, cleaning oil burners, doing routine maintenance to, and installing new heating systems in resident's homes -- and many times they are not state certified.
What many people don't realize is that an improperly installed or improperly repaired oil furnace can cause a fire in your home, cause fumes or exhaust gases to escape into the home and other dangers that can literally kill you.
In addition to the health and safety risks, untrained, non-certified technicians are more likely to misdiagnose problems with your oil furnace, thermostats, zone valves and regulators that make up your home heating systems. If you're not on a service plan that covers parts and labor, this can cost you money. Even if you are on an oil burner service plan, improper repair or failure to identify the problems can cause permanent damage to your oil burner, water heater and other parts of the heating system.
If you have any concern that a technician working in your home does not have proper state certification, you can visit the state website and use the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety Licensee Lookup at: http://db.state.ma.us/dps/licenseelist.asp, (you can search for a license by license type, licensee's first and/or last name, city, etc).
If you are having a new oil heating system installed, or building or purchasing a new home with oil heating equipment, you can get additional information from the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, (527 CMR 4.00), which contains the regulations that apply to Oil Burning Equipment.
If you have a problem with an Oil Burner Technician, (one who is certified or not), you can get help resolving the issue by contacting The Massachusetts Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at (617) 727-8400