Avoiding Heating Fuel Runouts

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Running out of heating oil or propane in the dead of winter is no fun – but sudden shift in weather here or an over-busy schedule there and you could easily find yourself in a no heat emergency.

On the plus side, a modern furnace will have emergency features that shut down your equipment before long-term damage can occur.

Then, there’s the minus side.

Besides the discomfort and risks of being in a dangerously cold house, a heating oil runout can clog filters and fuel lines with the sediment that collects at the bottom of your oil tank; that means you will need a service call, a possible system reset, and a new filter. If you have a propane gas furnace, any shut down of your system requires a pressure test and inspection from a licensed professional before your heat can be restored. With any heating interruption, frozen pipes are also a major concern, with potential for thousands of dollars in flood damage.

The bottom line: it’s a good idea to avoid running out of heating fuel. But what happens if you do?

If you run out of heating oil or propane

  • If it is winter, take immediate steps to retain the heat you have in your house: close curtains, block under-door drafts, hang blankets over doorways, etc.
  • If you have other forms of heating such as fireplace or electric heater, use them. NEVER use outdoor equipment (barbecues, outdoor stoves, etc.) indoors – carbon monoxide build up can be extremely dangerous or even deadly.
  • Contact us ASAP for an emergency delivery.

Preventing a heating oil runout

When it comes to fuel runouts, prevention is always best. You can avoid running out of home heating oil or propane if you:

  • Choose automatic delivery – let us worry about managing your heating oil or propane deliveries.
  • Monitor your fuel gauge regularly, especially during a cold snap.
  • Order when your tank is no less than 25 percent full (sooner if it is really cold) – don’t wait until the last minute; instant deliveries are not always possible.
  • Install an electronic tank gauge to monitor your fuel level.
  • If you have an outdoor heating oil tank, secure it to prevent theft.

If you run out of heating oil or propane this fall or winter, don’t panic – contact Hocon. Our experts will refill your tank and take care of any problems to keep your family safe and warm in your Connecticut home.