March 30, 2021

What to do if You Run Out of Heating Oil

Running out of heating oil is one of the worst nightmares a homeowner, especially in the winter can have. But if it happens – don’t panic.  Below is a check list to help you get through it!

Step 1. Make sure you are actually out of oil. This might seem obvious but there are a number of components that can fail and cause your heating system to stop working. Check your oil tank to confirm if there is in fact no oil. Your float gauge should give you an indication of how full the tank is. If you notice it’s been stuck at the same level for weeks make sure the float is working – remove the plastic site and gently push down on the red disc with your finger. If it bobs back up to the previous level above empty – then it’s working. If it was at a half tank and stays at empty – your float may be bad, and you have no oil too.

Step 2. Order oil ASAP. Once you’ve confirmed you are out of oil, you should place an order ASAP with your home heating oil provider. You should call vs. emailing or trying to order online. If you have a dedicated oil provider, they may be able to expedite your delivery and get someone out to you the same day.  Membership indeed does have its privileges!

Step 3. Add some diesel. If you can’t make it through until your schedule fuel delivery, you can always add some diesel fuel to your oil tank. Diesel fuel and heating oil are very similar, and your heating system will burn diesel fuel just as well as heating oil. You SHOULD purchase a new yellow “gas can” that is only used for diesel fuel if you don’t already have one. This will prevent you from accidentally using the wrong can in the future. On average 5 gallons will get you through the night but 10 gallons may give you extra piece of mind just in case your fuel delivery is later the next day or if it’s really cold. To add the diesel to your tank, open the fill cap on the exterior of your home and pour the diesel in.

Step 4. Restart your burner. After you add your diesel fuel, you’ll have to restart your oil burner. Make sure your emergency on/off switch is in the ON position and the thermostat is on or set to an ideal temperature. This ensures the burner will know it needs to turn on. Now press the reset button so the burner will try to start burning fuel again. After pressing the button, the system should start back up. Wait 15 seconds – if it’s stays on, you should be all set. If it shuts back off, you may have air in the lines, a clogged oil filter, etc. Try hitting the reset button again to see if it will fire up. Don’t press it more than 2 to 3 times. If it doesn’t fire up at this point, then you will need an HVAC technician to assist.

Running out of heating oil is never a fun experience, but it is common especially in colder climates. At Baribault Fuel we know emergencies are never convenient, but 24/7 service is. Give us a call for all your home heating needs!

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