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How To Read An Oil Tank Gauge

Posted: February 15, 2021

reading fuel gauge massachusettsWith the temperatures as low as they have been, we know the system in your Massachusetts home is working overtime. If you’re a heating oil customer, we strongly recommend automatic delivery as the best way to ensure that you will not run out of fuel, even on the coldest days. We track the oil usage of our automatic delivery customers so that your next delivery is scheduled to happen well before a run-out.

If you still prefer Will Call, we understand, and we want to make sure you know what the numbers on your oil tank gauge mean. This way, you can anticipate when you’ll need your next delivery and let us know with plenty of time. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Check out the top of your tank. You’ll see a clear glass or plastic tube with markings that are similar to what you see on the gas gauge in your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼. You’ll see a red marker or float that notes how full the tank is. If the marker is not visible to you, or if you see that it has made its way to the bottom, then your tank is empty or almost out of fuel. If this is the case, please be sure to contact Pioneer Oil & Propane right away so we can make an emergency delivery with your heating oil.
  2. Make sure your gauge is working properly. Take off the outer case, and gently push the marker/float down. If it comes back up to where it started, then your gauge is working. If it stays down, let us know so we can come see what’s causing this issue.
  3. Understand the numbers. The average size home uses a 275-gallon heating oil tank. When it’s “full,” this size tank holds approximately 225 gallons of heating oil. This allows for some space for debris at the bottom. Based on this, a gauge that is at ½ contains about 110 gallons of heating oil. This formula applies to tanks that have a 330-gallon capacity as well, usually for larger homes. Most newer tanks have their capacity noted on their nameplate, but if you have an older tank, you may not see this.

Common Heating Oil Supply Questions

I am a Will Call customer. If I see that my tank is ¼ full, when do I need my delivery to take place?
Most of the time, when the average temperature is around 32° F, a 2,500-square-foot house uses approximately six to seven gallons of heating oil per day. With a 275-gallon tank, a reading of ¼ means your heating oil supply will last about a week. If the temperature drops, or if your home is bigger, you’ll go through the fuel in a shorter period of time. If you let us know before your gauge reaches the ¼ point, you’ll eliminate your risk of a run-out.

Does my boiler run more smoothly if I have more heating oil in my tank?
Yes. A boiler will run more smoothly when it’s at least ¼ full. Keep your boiler operating at its maximum efficiency with regularly scheduled fill-ups.

Contact Pioneer Oil & Propane today to sign up for automatic delivery for your heating oil, or to get more information about heating oil for your Massachusetts home.