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How Do I Read My Heating Oil Tank Gauge?

Heating oil tank gauge

Do you know how to read your heating oil tank gauge?

It may seem like an obvious thing to know how to do, but if you’ve never tried it, you probably don’t want to wait until the coldest night of the year to learn.

Here are some heating oil tank gauge reading basics (please note: your heating oil tank is more than likely in your basement; if not, it’s outside somewhere close to the house).

  • On top of the tank is a clear glass or plastic cube with a series of markings on the outside: F, ¾, ½, ¼. Just like a gas gauge for your car, the numbers tell you how full the tank is, typically indicated by a red marker or float. If the float is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible, your tank is empty or nearly empty.
  • Most oil-heated houses have a 275- or 288-gallon tank which, when full, holds approximately 225 gallons of fuel (some allowance is made for air or debris at the bottom of your tank). That means if your gauge is at ½, you have about 110 gallons left; if it’s at ¼ you have about 55 gallons left. Other common tank sizes include 340 and 420 gallons (if your tank is older, it may not indicate a size on its nameplate; most modern models do).
  • If outdoor temperatures average about 32° over a 24-hour period, a 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 reaches about one-quarter full). The colder it is outside, or the larger your home is, the faster your heating system will consume fuel oil.
  • To make sure the gauge is actually 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 Massachusetts service area, no one beats the pros at Needham Oil.