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Reading Your Heating Oil Tank Gauge

Heating oil tank gauge

It may seem like an obvious thing to know how to do, but if you’ve never had to read your heating oil gauge, it’s not something you want to figure out how to do during a dangerous cold snap (like several of the ones we’ve recently faced here in Westchester and Connecticut).

Here are some heating oil gauge basics:

  • On top of the tank is a clear glass or plastic cube that is marked with numbers that resemble the gas gauge of your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red marker or float commonly indicates the amount of fuel left in your tank – if the float is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible at all, your tank is empty or nearly empty.
  • The most common size of heating oil tank is 275 gallons, but beware: the size of the tank doesn’t indicate how much fuel it actually holds. When full, a 275-gallon tank holds approximately 225 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 110 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).
  • 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 225 gallons), you’ll have enough oil to last about a week (this 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 system, 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 these risks and hassles altogether? Sign up for FREE Automatic Delivery and let us worry about managing your heating oil.

  • 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.

Have any other questions about your heating oil tank or heating oil deliveries? Let us know – we’re happy to help. And remember: for reliable heating oil delivery anywhere in our service area, nobody beats Casey Energy!