Signs Your Oil Tank Is Too Low

oil tankAs the weather warms up, heating is not on most people’s minds, but now is the perfect time to deal with any maintenance or upkeep issues. In addition, heating oil prices are usually at their lowest during summer.

How Can I Check If My Oil Tank Is Low?

Just like the oil tank in your car, it is best to monitor the level in your heating oil tank on a regular basis. This is done using your oil tank gauge and conducting manual inspections of your oil level with a gauge stick. Again, just like a car.

There is one other similarity to cars –  the oil tank gauge isn’t read by how many gallons remain inside, but rather measures what percentage of full remains. In general, many residential heating oil tanks have a capacity of 294 gallons.

How Low Can I Let My Oil Tank Get?

The amount in the tank is measured by a dipstick with inch increments on it, just like the one you use for your car. Your furnace or boiler will most likely stop running if you let the oil level get down to the bottom four inches or so (approximately 32 gallons). This happens because the feed line from the tank to the furnace is usually placed roughly 3 to 4 inches above the bottom of the tank.

How Long Should Heating Oil Last?

Let’s take a look at the numbers. Most oil-burning furnaces will burn an average of between 0.8 and 1.7 gallons per hour while in operation. For example, let’s take a one-bedroom home with a 300-gallon tank. If you keep your furnace running for 10 hours daily, you’ll need to fill your tank every 17 days.

What Happens If Your Tank Runs Out of Heating Oil?

It’s only natural to worry about possible damage to your tank if you run out of oil, especially with the car analogies above. After all, you can damage the fuel injectors in your car if you run out of gas. Luckily, that is not the case with heating oil. If it runs empty, you won’t damage your furnace.

Trust Tragar with Your Family’s Year-Round Comfort

When it’s time for heating system maintenance or upgrade, call the experts at Tragar Home Services. Tragar has a 60-year track record of keeping Nassau County and Suffolk County residents comfortable. For information about heating system upgrades, call Tragar Express today at (516) 206-3805. You can also email us at