How Do I Know How Much Heating Oil is in My Tank?

Learn How to Read Your Oil Tank Gauge in Northern New Jersey

If you use oil to help heat your home, you may be worried about running out of oil, especially on the cold winter days we get in New Jersey. The last thing you want is for your heating system to stop working when it’s freezing outside. Not only is that an uncomfortable headache for you and your family, it can potentially cause serious and costly problems in your home, such as frozen or burst pipes. But how do you know how much oil is in your tank? Thankfully, Woolley Home Solutions is here to explain how to get initial readings from your oil tank, so you know when it’s time to call for a refill.

Oil Tank Gauge Basics

  • Most oil tanks have a gauge that comes preinstalled with your tank. It generally looks like a clear glass or plastic tube that is marked with numbers, which should resemble the gas gauge on your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red marker or float commonly indicates the amount of fuel left in your tank, and will gradually move downward as the tank becomes empty. If the float is at the bottom of the gauge or is not visible at all, then your tank is empty or nearly empty.
  • To make sure your oil tank 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, you can contact us and we’ll come take a look.
  • Don’t have an oil tank gauge, or did you discover your gauge is broken? You can use a large stick, a string and weight, or a folding ruler to measure the oil level in your tank. All you have to do is mark the top of the stick or string, then dip it into the oil tank until it reaches the bottom. Once you pull the measuring tool out, you can compare the oil level to the top and bottom of your tank.
  • The most common size of heating oil tank is 275 gallons, but the size of your tank doesn’t indicate how much fuel it actually holds. When a 275-gallon tank is full, it holds approximately 225 gallons, with the rest of the space left empty to allow for air or debris at the bottom of your tank. Keeping this in mind, if your gauge reads “½” in a 275-gallon tank, then you actually have about 110 gallons left. Other common tank sizes include 340 and 420 gallons, and if you’re curious about the size of your tank, it’s usually indicated on the side. Older models may not include that information.
  • Trying to figure out how long your remaining oil will last? Calculate it like this: 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. Let’s say temperatures are right around freezing and you have a quarter of a tank of oil left in your 275-gallon tank (which only holds 225 gallons), you should have enough oil to last about a week. This is why we urge you to call for a heating oil delivery when your tank is no lower than 1/4 full, especially when it’s cold outside.

Related Post: How Much Heating Oil Will I Use This Winter?

Once you have a  reading from either the tank gauge or your own measuring tool, you can use our handy tank chart to work out if you will need to have your oil refilled or not. This chart is easy to use and you can get results by filling in the different questions. You will need to have some type of measurement, whether it be from a gauge or measuring tool, for the tank chart to work. Many factors influence how much fuel you’ll burn, including the outside temperature, the efficiency of your heating system, and the efficiency of your home. Keep in mind that it’s always better to be conservative and order your heating oil early rather than getting stuck in a no-heat emergency.

Related Post: Does Heating Oil Go Bad?

Need an Oil Delivery in Greater Maplewood, NJ?

Woolley Home Solutions is proud to be the area’s premier heating oil delivery, HVAC, and plumbing service. If you’re interested in ordering high-quality heating oil from a reputable local company, we can help! Click here to learn more about the services we provide, or skip the reading and place your fuel delivery order right now. We look forward to serving you!