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Understanding your Tank Gauge

What does 1/8 of a tank mean and how long will it last?

For those of you that use a COD company or a full service company and are on Will Call, do you know how much oil is actually in your tank and how long it will last.  A frequent problem that arises with COD and Will Callers is running out of fuel or having to keep track of their fuel use.  While for some this isn't an issue at all, for others running out of fuel and having to frantically call around to get fuel is a big problem. So how can this be avoided? The best way is to familiarize yourself with your tank.

First is to understand how much oil is in your tank, luckily there is a gauge on the top of the tank that shows you how oil is in the tank.  There are variants to this but for the most part they all look like the image below.
While some look different than this they all show the amount of Oil in the tank in variables of fourths or eighths.  

An oil tank if filled from top to bottom will hold 275 gallons, however no tank will ever be filled 100% because dangers of compression, expansion, and pressure.  Most tanks will be filled to at most 255 gallons, which will show as full on the gauge.  That means that 1/8 full will usually be around 32 gallons.

When it comes to use and how long the fuel in your tank will last there is no one straight forward answer, but you should never let wait until you have 1/8th of a tank left.  In most cases you will run out of fuel before more oil can be delivered.  It is best to call your oil provider once your gauge gets to 1/4th.

The amount of fuel that is used depends on the age of your heating system, how well your home is or isn't insulated, how cold it is outside, and if your fuel is being used for more than just heating you home.  If you have an oil fired water heater then you'll need to be more mindful of the fuel you use as your gauge gets down.

Enrolling in automatic deliveries is the best way to avoid running out of fuel but you should still familiarize yourself with your gauge and check it periodically. 

Author: 
Robert Stahelski

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