Written on: November 15, 2023
At this time of year, you may be wondering about heating oil usage and the process of measuring your tank level, avoiding runouts and more. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the heating oil delivery process.
Throughout the heating season, Hudson Valley homeowners usually need anywhere from 700 to 900 gallons during a normal winter. If you have a 1,000-gallon underground tank, in theory, you could possibly make it through the heating season if that tank is full right now. Keep in mind, however, that the capacity of a 1,000-gallon tank is only about 900 gallons. That’s because space needs to be left in the tank to allow for expansion and to prevent any spillage upon delivery.
This is just one example. Many people also own 275-gallon aboveground heating oil tanks, which typically hold about 230 gallons of fuel when full. A full tank should give you enough heating fuel to last from 4-6 weeks if you own a 2,000 square foot home.
Of course, these are just rough estimates. Many variables affect the amount of fuel you consume. This includes the outdoor temperature, the size of your home, the quality of insulation in your home, the efficiency of your heating system and how well it’s been maintained, and the thermostat setting you choose.
Here’s one way your actual usage can vary. In an average size home, (about 2,400 square feet), if the temperature during a 24-hour period averaged 20 degrees, you probably would burn about seven gallons of heating oil. On the other hand, if the average temperature was 40 degrees the next day, you would probably use a shade under four gallons during that time.
On top of the heating oil 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.
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 your heating oil supplier and let them know. The last thing you want to do is to start guessing how much oil is left in your tank during a cold snap. When your gauge reaches the ¼ level, you need to order more fuel.
Read more about heating oil tanks.
Your heating oil company most likely can give you peace of mind by providing you with its automatic heating oil delivery service. By doing this, your heating oil company can track your fuel use and make a delivery when you’re getting low.
There is no need to schedule and wait for deliveries, and you’ll avoid the expense and hassle of having your heating oil system tested and primed for restart—something that is required after a fuel run-out. There is no extra charge to be on an automatic delivery schedule.
Absolutely. First, heating oil cannot burn in its liquid state. Before combustion can even occur, heating oil must first be vaporized into a finer mist by your oil burner at temperatures above 140°.
Second, the fuel you have stored in your heating oil tank right now is very safe because it can’t explode. In fact, if you were to drop a lit match into a bucket of heating oil, the flame would go out, just as if you dropped the match into water.
Third, a heating oil system poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If an oil burner ever malfunctions, you’ll most likely see smoke and the safety devices will shut the furnace or boiler off.
Find a heating oil company in the Hudson Valley.