Heating Basics: Reading A Fuel Tank Gauge
Written on: February 1, 2021
If you manage your own heating oil or propane deliveries, one simple but important task you’ll have to master is reading your tank gauge. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to do: if you haven’t tried it, here are the basics.
Reading A Heating Oil Tank Gauge
- Your heating oil tank gauge is usually a clear glass or plastic tube located at or near the top of the tank. The gauge is marked with numbers that look a lot like a car’s fuel gauge: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red or yellow marker or float tells you how much fuel you have left; if the marker is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible, your tank is empty (or close to it).
- 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 for a heating system repair.
Two more things to keep in mind:
- A common heating oil tank size is 275 gallons, but that’s a little misleading, since a 275-gallon tank actually only holds about 240 gallons of fuel (the remaining volume is left for air and debris). That means that if your tank 275-gallon heating oil tank is half-full, you really only have about 120 gallons left.
- Many factors will affect the speed at which you will use up your heating oil – the weather, the efficiency of your heating equipment, and the air tightness of your home, to name 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 6-7 gallons of heating oil per day.
Reading A Propane Tank Gauge
- Unlike small propane cylinders that you’d typically use for your RV or barbecue, larger domestic propane tanks typically have a built-in fuel gauge, often located under the tank dome or cover.
- The gauge usually looks a lot like the gas gauge in your car, with numbers that show the percentage of the tank that is full. Most gauges read from 0 to about 95 percent; tanks are never filled to 100 percent capacity because propane gas expands as temperatures rise (space must be provided to allow for the expansion).
Let us manage your heating oil and propane deliveries for FREE
Of course, if you don’t want to hassle with reading gauges or calling for fuel deliveries, there’s an easy way to do that: contact us to sign up for FREE Automatic Delivery.
We’ll estimate your delivery based on an estimate of your past usage and the current weather, getting your heating oil or propane to you when your tank is about one-quarter full.
Have any other questions about your propane or heating oil tank? Just ask – we’re happy to help. And remember: for reliable heating oil delivery and propane delivery in the Hudson Valley, trust the pros at Downey Energy!