How To Read Your Home’s Oil Tank Gauge

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If you’re a will call customer, keeping a close eye on your heating oil tank gauge during heating season is important – especially in 2020, when it seems like anything can happen.

Finding How Much Fuel You Have

But first you have to know where to find and read that gauge (don’t worry, it’s easy). Here are some heating oil gauge reading basics:

  • The heating oil gauge is almost always on top of the tank. It is a clear glass or plastic tube that is marked with numbers that resemble the gas gauge of your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼ indicators. A red marker or float indicates the amount of fuel left in your tank – if it is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible at all, your tank is empty or near-empty.
  • The most common size of heating oil tank is 275 gallons, but beware: the size of the tank doesn’t indicate how much heating oil it actually holds. A 275-gallon tank actually holds about 240 gallons; the rest of the space is left to allow for air or debris at the bottom of your tank. So if your gauge reads “½” in a 275-gallon tank, you actually have about 120 gallons left, not 135 or so. Other common tank sizes include 340 and 420 gallons (the size is often indicated on the side of your tank; older models may not include that information).
  • 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.
  • Some rules of thumb: If outdoor temperatures average about 32° over a 24-hour period, a typical 2,500 square foot house will burn about six or seven gallons of heating oil per day. 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 240 gallons), you’ll have enough oil to last about a week (which is why we urge you to call for your heating oil delivery when your tank gets no lower than one-quarter full, especially during cold weather.

Many factors influence how much fuel you’ll burn, of course – the outside temperature, the efficiency of your heating equipment, and the efficiency of your home, 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.

The best way to avoid the hassles of tank gauge monitoring? Sign up for FREE automatic heating oil delivery from Hocon. With automatic delivery, our computer models will look at your past oil use and the current weather, scheduling your heating oil delivery in CT when your tank is about one-quarter full. Contact Hocon today to make the switch from will call!

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