When it comes to actually looking at and reading your oil tank gauge, it seems pretty simple – just like reading the gas gauge on your car. However there’s a little more to understanding how to read it and make sure it’s working properly.
The first step, while obvious, is locating the gauge on the top of your tank. It’s pretty easy to spot and will be sticking out of the top of the tank. The gauge is either a clear plastic or glass tube with a red or yellow float inside and markings on the outside: F, ¾, ½, ¼. These markings reflect how much fuel is left in the tank and the red float will align with the appropriate mark. If the float is near the ½ mark, then you have a half tank. If the float is near the bottom of the gauge, less than ¼, then your tank is getting close to or almost empty. Stop everything and call for oil if it’s that low.
Now that you know how to read the gauge, you might be wondering, how many gallons do I have left if I have a half tank? Typically, most homes have a 275 gallon tank which can hold about 225 gallons when it’s full. So a half tank is about 112 gallons, a ¼ tank is about 56 gallons, etc.
If you aren’t on automatically delivery, you might be wondering just how far a gallon of oil will take you and how long until you need to order more. In the Summer months, a gallon of oil goes much further if you are only using it to heat water. However in the Winter, assuming an average external temperature of 32 degrees and an average home size of 2,500 sq. ft., you will most likely use 6.5 gallons per day to heat your home and water. Some simple math will allow you to figure out how many days of oil you have left: approximate number of gallons in tank divided by the approximate gallons used per day (about 6.5).
If your gauge looks like it hasn’t moved in awhile and you know you have been using the heat and hot water, you should make sure your gauge is actually working. A simple and easy way to check is by removing the outer case of the gauge (the clear plastic or glass tube) and gently pressing down on the float. If it bobs back up to the original position, then it’s working – go ahead and replace the casing. If the gauge stays in the new position, then it’s time to get a new one installed and call your heating fuel provider to make sure you don’t run out of oil.
If you don’t want the hassle of having to constantly monitor your oil gauge you have 2 very simple and easy options. The first and most convenient is signing up for automatic delivery. Your fuel provider will determine your usage over time and schedule deliveries to make sure you never run out. The second is a smart oil gauge which allows you to check your heating oil tank from your smartphone – anytime, anywhere! You can even set up alerts via text or email, so you know when it’s time to reorder. Another added benefit is that you can track your oil usage – to the hour. You can track how much oil you are burning throughout the day and adjust the thermostat to conserve fuel. Save money on heating oil by optimizing the thermostat settings.
Think your gauge might be faulty, give us a call, our service team is always here to help!