As up and down as the temperature has been so far in 2018, it’s a little hard to predict how much heating oil you’ll use from week to week – which means you’ll definitely want to keep a close eye on your fuel gauge (or just sign up for Automatic Delivery and let us worry about it).
If you haven’t had much experience reading your heating oil tank gauge, here’s a quick guide:
On top of the tank is a clear glass or plastic tube marked with numbers much like the gas gauge of your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red marker or float indicates the amount of fuel left in your tank – if the marker is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible, your tank is empty (or nearly empty). To make sure the gauge is working, carefully remove the outer case and gently press the float down. If it bobs back up to the original position, the gauge is working. If the gauge is not working, contact us – we’ll check it out.
It’s important to know not only the size of your heating oil tank, but also how much fuel it actually holds. For example: when full, a 275-gallon tank (one of the most common household sizes) only holds about 225 gallons; the rest of the space is taken up by air or debris. So if your gauge reads “½” in a 275-gallon tank, you actually have about 110 gallons left, not 135 or so.
A typical 2,500 square foot house will burn about six or seven gallons of heating oil per day with an outdoor temperature of 32 degrees. So, for example, if temperatures are right around the freezing mark and you have a quarter of a tank of oil left in your 275-gallon tank (which, remember, holds only 225 gallons), you’ll have enough oil to last about a week. Please remember – this is only an estimate! Many factors influence how much fuel you’ll burn – the outside temperature, the efficiency of your heating system, and how free of air leaks your home is, to name a few. It’s always better to order your heating oil early rather than getting stuck in a no-heat emergency!