What to Do When You Run Out of Oil

what to do when out of oilRunning out of oil is nearly inevitable if you have oil heat. Fortunately, running out of oil isn’t the end of the world. Still, it can be extremely inconvenient and possibly cause issues that will need repair before your heat can be turned back on. Here are some tips on how to check your system when it stops working, what to do when you’re out of oil, and how to avoid running out.

3 Steps to Take When Your Oil Heat Stops Working

  1. When your oil heat system stops working, don’t immediately assume that you’re out of oil. Check your oil level first before you call and schedule an emergency oil delivery.
  2. Check your thermostat and its batteries. If your thermostat’s batteries are old or low, your thermostat may stop working. Change the batteries in your thermostats at least twice a year, at the beginning of the winter and the summer, or when you change the batteries in your smoke/CO2 detectors.
  3. If your oil tank still has oil in it and your thermostat batteries are new, then you might have an actual problem with your heating system. For instance, if you try and turn the system on and there’s no heat, but the fan is running, this indicates a mechanical problem. At this point, you’ll need to call a local oil heat repair company.

3 Steps to Take When You Are Out of Oil

  1. If you are out of home heating oil, turn your home heating system off. Your oil tank naturally accumulates sludge, a mixture of rust, dirt, and debris, microorganisms that form in the tank’s condensation. This sludge can get drawn into the oil lines, which will have to be flushed or even replaced.
  2. You can use standard diesel fuel in a pinch to fuel your home heating system until you can get an oil delivery. Standard home heating oil and diesel are chemically very similar, and in some regions, they are only differentiated by added color. The average 2,500 square foot home uses 6-7 gallons of oil per day when outdoor temperatures are 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so you should add at least that much diesel to your oil tank since it could take at least a day or two to get a delivery.
  3. After adding the diesel fuel and letting it sit in your tank for at least 15-20 minutes, restart your home heating system. If the furnace doesn’t restart after you hit the red reset button, it likely indicates that your fuel lines need to be bled, a procedure that requires the services of a professional HVAC technician.

3 Steps to Avoid Running Out of Oil

  1. Regularly monitor your oil tank’s level. The average home heating oil tank is 275 gallons and has an actual capacity of 225 gallons. If your 275-gallon tank reads as ¼ full, it has 56 gallons of oil, which is sufficient for about a week. Every home is different, but this is a general rule of thumb. You can get a smart digital oil tank gauge that will not only monitor your oil tank’s level, it will even send you an alert when your tank is low.
  2. Get regular deliveries. If you get paid twice a month, have a small shipment delivered every month with your first paycheck. By topping off your tank every month, you should avoid running out and needing an emergency shipment at an inopportune time.
  3. Try to conserve oil on a regular basis. By lowering your thermostat at night, checking and resealing doors and windows for leaks, and taking other steps to reduce energy usage, you can save both money and oil.

Oil Burner Maintenance and Repair Service

When you need oil burner maintenance, repairs, or upgrades, call Tragar. We offer a full range of professional repair services for both oil heat and gas heat systems. Our parent company, Tragar, has been serving Nassau County and Suffolk County residents for over 60 years with our guaranteed 5-star customer service. For information about heating system upgrades or to schedule a COD oil delivery, call Tragar Express today at (516) 206-3805. You can also email us at info@tragarexpress.com.