Reading Your Heating Oil Tank Gauge?
Posted: January 27, 2020
Reading your heating oil tank gauge might be the most basic task you’ll have this heating season. If you’re a will-call customer, it’s also one of the most important, since it stands between you and a no-heat emergency.
Here are some reminders about reading your heating oil tank gauge:
- The fuel gauge is a clear glass or plastic cube or cylinder, usually located on top of the tank, marked with numbers like the ones you’ll find on the dashboard of your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼, etc. A red marker or float typically indicates current fuel levels; if the marker is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible, your tank is empty or nearly empty.
- The most common heating oil tank size is 275 gallons, but it’s important to note that a 275-gallon tank only holds about 225 gallons of fuel – the rest of the tank’s interior is taken up by air and debris. That means if your gauge is half-full, you only have about 110 gallons left – not 135 gallons or more. Other common tank sizes include 340 and 420 gallons.
- The speed at which you burn oil depends on many factors – outdoor temperatures, the efficiency of your heating equipment and the air tightness and insulation of your home, to name a few. But here’s at least a starting point for making an estimate: If outdoor temperatures average about 32° over a 24-hour period, an average 2,500 square foot house will burn between six and eight gallons of heating oil per day.
So putting this all together: if temperatures hover around freezing and you have a quarter of a tank of oil left in your 275-gallon tank (which, remember, holds 225 gallons), you’ll have enough oil to last about a week. This is why we urge you to call for your heating oil delivery when your tank is no less than one-quarter full, and why we time our automatic heating oil deliveries to that level as well.
- To make sure the gauge is actually 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 for service.
Have any other questions about heating oil, heating oil service, or heating oil deliveries in RI? Let us know – we’re happy to help. And remember: for reliable heating oil delivery anywhere in our Rhode Island service area, Vaughn Oil’s got you covered!