Reading an Oil Tank Gauge

You know what your oil tank looks like, you know where it is, you even know how many gallons it holds when full. But do you know how to read the gauge to figure out how many gallons are actually in it at any given time? Don’t wait until you have no heat to read the gauge. Check your oil tank gauge ahead of time, when it’s not an emergency.

How to Read an Oil Tank Gauge

How to Read an Oil Tank GaugeChances are your oil tank is in the basement or outside somewhere close to the house. It’s a big metal tank.

Sticking up on top of the oil tank is a clear tube with a red float inside. On the outside it is marked: F, ¾, ½, ¼, (from top to bottom). Those numbers tell you how much of the tank is full. The red float goes up and down according to how much fuel is in the tank. So, if the float is aligned with the ½ mark, the tank is half full. If the float is at the bottom of the tube or not visible, then the tank is empty or close to empty.

How to Calculate How Much Oil is in Your Tank

Most houses have a 275-gallon tank. When full that tank holds close to 225 gallons. If the gauge reads ½ you have about 110 gallons of fuel. At ¼ you have about 55 gallons and at ¾ about 170 gallons.

How Much Oil Do You Need to Fuel Your Home?

At an outside air temperature of 32° (average over a 24-hour period) the typical 2500 sq.ft house will burn about 6.5 gallons per day. So if you have half a tank (110 gallons) and it’s cold out you’ll use up that fuel in about 17 days. If you’re not on automatic delivery you need to give us 5-days’ notice so you wouldn’t want to wait more than about 10 days to call for a delivery.

How to Know if Your Fuel Gauge is Working

To check that your fuel gauge is actually working, carefully remove the outer casing and press down on the float—gently but firmly—and then release. If it bobs back up, it’s working; if it stays down, it’s not working and you should call us to come take a look. We’re here 8:00am to 4:30pm at 603.430.9919.