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How Do I Read My Heating Oil Tank Gauge?

Heating oil tank gauge

Knowing how to read your tank gauge is important – but don’t worry, it is a pretty easy thing to do. If you’ve never done it before, it’s a good idea to learn how to do it now, before you’re left with a heating oil run-out during the next cold snap.

Here are some gauge reading basics:

  • Your heating oil tank gauge is a clear glass or plastic cylinder, usually located on top of the tank. On its surface are markings that look just like a car’s fuel gauge: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red marker or float tells you approximately how much fuel you have left; If the marker is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible, your tank is empty or nearly empty.
  • The most common heating oil tank size is 275 gallons, but that’s a little misleading: in actuality, a 275-gallon tank only holds about 225 gallons of fuel – the remaining volume is reserved for air and debris. So if your tank is half-full, you really only have about 110 gallons left – not 135 gallons or more. Here’s a tip: if you need some help to determine how much fuel to order, try our fuel calculator.
  • Many factors affect how quickly you’ll use up your heating oil: outdoor temperatures, the efficiency of your heating equipment, and the amount of air leakage in your home, to name just a few. But here’s a rough estimate: 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 hover around freezing 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 is no less than one-quarter full.

  • 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 a repair professional for service.

Of course if you don’t want to hassle with reading your heating tank gauge or managing your fuel deliveries, there’s a FREE and easy way to do that: sign up for Automatic Delivery from Q-Dog. We’ll estimate your fuel delivery based on computer modeling and your past usage, delivering your heating oil when your tank is about one-quarter full – no calls, no gauge watching, no hassles.

You’ll even get a 25-cent per gallon discount on your first automatic delivery fill-up (contact us today to learn more).

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 Maryland service area, Q-Dog’s got you covered!