How Much Oil Can I Expect to Burn Over the Winter?

Written on: January 27, 2020

How much oil can I expect to burn over the winter?

Obviously, many variables affect fuel usage, with the big wild card being the type of winter we have. Will the temperatures be average, colder than normal or warmer than normal? Other factors will also affect your fuel use, including the size of your home, the quality of insulation in your home, the efficiency of your furnace or boiler and your family’s own heating preferences.

But here’s one basic rule of thumb that will help to give you a general estimate. If outdoor temperatures average about 32° over a 24-hour period, a typical 2,500 square foot house will burn about six or seven gallons of heating oil per day.

So if temperatures are right around the freezing mark and you have a quarter of a tank of oil left in a 275-gallon tank, you’ll have enough oil to last about a week. This is why you should always call for your heating oil delivery when your tank gets no lower than one-quarter full, especially during cold weather.

One good tip is to always better to be conservative and order your heating oil early rather than getting stuck in a no-heat emergency because you waited too long and your tank went dry.

Your heating oil tank gauge: a quick review

Even if you’re a long-time oil heat user, it never hurts to review the basics of reading the heating oil tank gauge, especially at this time of year. Here are four quick points.

  1. On top of the tank is a clear glass or plastic cube that is marked with numbers that resemble the gas gauge of your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red marker or float commonly indicates the amount of fuel left in your tank – if the float is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible at all, your tank is empty or nearly empty.
  2. 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 your heating oil service professional to get it fixed. The last thing you want to do is to start guessing how much oil is left in your tank.
  3. As far as estimating how many gallons you have in your tank based on the reading you see on the gauge, keep this in mind. The most common size of heating oil tank is 275 gallons, but the size of the tank doesn’t indicate how much fuel it actually holds.
  4. When full, a 275-gallon tank holds approximately 225 gallons; the rest of the space is left to allow for air or debris at the bottom of your tank. So if your gauge reads “½” in a 275-gallon tank, you have about 110 gallons left, not 135 or so as you might first expect. Other tank sizes may include 340 and 420 gallons (the size is often indicated on the side of your tank; older models may not include that information). But you will typically see that information on your oil delivery ticket.

Why not take care of filling your oil tank now before we get locked in a long cold spell?

If you’re looking for affordable heating oil from a fuel supplier that offers fast and hassle-free deliveries, contact Lawman’s Oil today.

Not only will you get high-quality, low-cost heating oil, you’ll also be helping the American Breast Cancer Foundation provide much needed support, education, and access to early detection to individuals in need. We donate 1¢ of every gallon you buy to the American Breast Cancer Foundation.