Reading a heating oil gauge may seem like a pretty basic skill to master – and it is. But it’s also an important skill to have, especially if you’re a will call customer who schedules your own heating oil deliveries.
If you’ve never tried to read your heating oil gauge, here are the basics:
Your heating oil tank gauge is a clear glass or plastic cube marked with numbers that look a lot like what you’d find on the gas gauge of your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red indicator shows the amount of fuel left in your tank; if the marker (often a float) is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible at all, your tank may be empty (or close to it).
The most common heating oil tank size is 275 gallons – but that doesn’t mean it actually holds 275 gallons of fuel. When full, a 275-gallon tank holds approximately 225 gallons; the rest of the space is needed to allow for air or debris that settles at the bottom of your tank. So when the gauge on your 275-gallon tank reads “½”, you actually only have about 110 gallons left, not 135. Some other common tank sizes include 340 and 420 gallons (you can look for the size on the side of your tank – just keep in mind that some older models may not include that information).
If outdoor temperatures hover around the freezing mark over a 24-hour period, a typical 2,500 square foot house will consume about six or seven gallons of heating oil per day. So, for example, if it’s a steady 32 degrees here in RI 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 (that’s why it’s a good idea to call for a heating oil delivery when your tank is no less than one-quarter full).
Many factors influence how much fuel you’ll burn, of course – the outside temperature, the efficiency of your heating system, and how well your heating system was installed, to name a few. Remember: it’s always better to be conservative and order your heating oil early rather than getting stuck in a no-heat emergency.
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.
Have any other questions about your heating system? Let us know – we’re happy to help. And remember: for reliable heating system installation and heating oil deliveries in Rhode Island, no one beats the pros at Vaughn Oil.