How much heating will I use and how can I use less?
If you’re like us, you love a tip…especially when it’s a tip to keep you warm in the winter or save you money. If that describes you, read on for some warming tips
How often do I need to order heating oil?
One of the questions we hear a lot from our customers is “How often do I need to order more heating oil?” Either they’ve just moved to New England (if that’s you, welcome, it’s totally awesome here), or they’ve just bought a house, but either way, they’ve never had an oil burning furnace or boiler before.
Factors that affect how frequently you order heating oil
In the same way that certain factors affect how much gas you burn in your car, certain factors affect how much heating oil you’ll burn at home.
Is it summer or winter?
Do you get your system tuned annually?
How warm do you keep your house?
How well insulated is your home?
How big or small is your house?
How long will a 1 / 4 of a tank of heating oil last?
So, as you’ve no doubt figured out, as nice as it would be to have a consistent number of gallons of heating oil to order each month, it ain’t gonna happen because there are too many factors. But don’t worry! We’ve pulled together a chart that should help you estimate how quickly you’re going through oil and how long a 1/4 of a tank of heating will last. (1/4 of a tank is 60 gallons for a typical tank.)
And we want to emphasize that “estimate” part. This chart is based on a 2000 square foot house; your house may be larger or smaller, more or less efficient. Use the chart to get an idea of how the temperature outside affects your burn rate inside.
|Average Outside Temperature (°F)||Approximate Gallons Used in 1 Day||Approximate Days 1/4 of a Tank (60 Gallons) Will Last|
Looking for more? Check out How Often Do I Need to Order Heating Oil?
How long will a full tank of heating oil last?
To start, how much does a full tank even hold?
If you are like most people, you may say “looks like a lot.” And, well, you are right! Your tank (likely 275-gallons) can hold about 240 gallons.
Again the many variables will affect how long a tank of heating will last, including the weather, the size of your home, how well insulated your home is, the efficiency of your heating system, and how warm you like it inside.
If your house is totally average and it’s the middle of winter you should be ordering a new tank of fuel approximately every 3-4 weeks. This will ensure that you have at least a quarter of a tank of heating oil in your tank to hold you over. Remember to always Order at a Quarter!
How much heating oil is used for hot water?
So, assuming you have a heating oil/hot water tank system, and you have an average sized home that you share with 3 average hot-water-using people - how much oil can you expect to go through in an average summer or winter?
Summer: The heating oil used for hot water will typically be about 25 gallons a month in the non-heating season months. If you’re bad at math, that’s a little less than a gallon a day to heat your water. Again – this is assuming you don’t take 40-minute showers every morning.
Winter: Now, you might expect that that number would go up in winter. But the opposite is actually true. Since you’re often running your furnace anyway in the winter to stay warm, it essentially heats up your water at the same time for free! Pretty sweet, huh? So you won’t need a substantial amount of additional heating oil when your furnace is already going full-steam! (Of course you’ll use more oil overall in the colder months to heat your home, but we had to lead with the positive!)
Variables involved in actual heating oil usage for hot water
Heating oil usage for hot water is impacted by many different factors and the amounts will vary greatly depending on things like:
How many people live in the house? (If you have a kiddo heading home from college in the summer, you’ll likely see your usage go up)
How often do you use the water for showers, tubs, laundry, and washing dishes? (More hot water = more heating oil).
How efficient is your heating oil system? This is obviously a big factor since you’ll use less oil if everything is in tip-top shape! (If you want to take a quick peek at the health of your tank as a starting point, check out our safety checklist here). You’ll also want to make sure your actual system is working right (i.e. your furnace) and the best way to do that is by scheduling regular annual tune-ups.
Want to learn more? Read How much heating oil is used for hot water?
Can the heating oil in my tank go bad?
It’s a great question. It would be very rare for the heating oil in your tank to ever go bad, but to be honest – it is possible. While we aren’t chemical engineers or scientists, we do have enough insight to give you an answer!
Here are some quick helpful tidbits:
Heating oil is different than gas (it lasts longer!)
Gasoline is more volatile and will evaporate and destabilize over the course of six months and can lose its combustibility. (And gasoline mixed with ethanol will separate in as little as 3 months)
Heating oil is a more stable fuel. So while it won’t “expire” like gasoline, it’s not great if it sits a long time and doesn’t circulate through the heating oil tank and filter like it should. When it sits, water can possibly get into the tank and this condensation can result in algae, bacteria, or sediment that can build up and clog the system (lines, filters, burner).
Actual “expiration” timing:
Oil should last over 18-24 months, but ULSHO oil (what we use at Heatable) should last well over 2 years in a moisture free environment. And since ULSHO has less impurities, it should technically extend the “life” of heating oil if everything else is properly maintained and working right!
Avoid moisture at all costs:
We already know condensation will make stuff grow in your tank (ew), but it can also contribute to faster tank erosion in older tanks. Basically the bacteria and sulfur from the oil make an acid that eats away at it. It can happen if the vent and fill pipe are not properly installed or if the tank is left empty for long periods of time. And, as we know, a corroded tank could result in a tank leak – a pricy and messy outcome.
Since tank “moisture” isn’t going to scream out at you, the best way to prevent this situation is to have your annual tune up!
How can I use less heating oil and save money this winter?
Feeling like you have a good handle on your usage, now it’s time to learn about how to use less. These three steps will help you use less heating oil and save more money this winter!
Step #1: Address cracks, gaps, and insulation.
Before you spend hundreds of dollars on space heaters (and ugly sweaters), spend $20 on a good caulking gun and some expanding spray foam and start sealing. You may be surprised at how much less drafty other rooms in your house become.
Step #2: Use the right thermostat to save money and use less heating oil.
Keeping your home’s thermostat set to the same temperature (72°F) all winter actually causes you to lose heat. That’s because the hotter it is inside – and the colder it is outside – the larger the force behind the cold air pushing the hot air out. A way to combat this is to switch out your old manual thermostat for a programmable one. They’re simple to install and can be set to automatically turn on and off at specific times of the day or night to maximize heating efficiency.
Step #3: Add insulation to your basement to use less heating oil.
Don’t ignore your basement. Basements are the biggest entryway for cold air to enter your home—so looking into ways to add insulation directly to the walls and ceiling will reduce the amount of incoming air. Also make sure to seal around the sill plate (the long piece of wood that sits directly on top of the foundation wall) for extra insulation.
Want more? Read How to Use Less Heating Oil and Save Money This Winter.
What’s the Most Energy-Efficient Way to Set Your Thermometer?
Some things never change. Every fall, people begin to ask us about the “right” way to use a thermostat to save money. They generally fall into two schools of thought. On one side, there’s the set-it-and-forget-it group and on the other, the never-seen-a-thermostat-that-didn’t-need-tweaking group.
The two schools of thermostat energy efficiency
School of Thought #1: Set it and forget it
We like to call this first group, the School of the Straight and Narrow. They choose a one-size-fits-all temperature, set the thermostat to it, and leave it there until summer. Doesn’t matter if it’s nighttime or no one is at home. That temperature stays set.
The reasoning behind this school is that it will take more energy to heat up a cold house than it takes to maintain a consistent temperature.
School of Thought #2: The only constant is change
We refer to the second school as the School of the Rollercoaster Ride. Its adherents believe that the thermostat should be turned down when you’re sleeping or away from home. The reasoning behind this school of thought is that leaving the thermostat set will cost more in the long-run because the energy saved from those off-times will more than make-up for the extra costs of heating a colder house.
Adjust your thermostat for greater energy savings
Ding, ding, ding! The second school of thought wins the prize for energy savings. The Department of Energy estimates you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by changing your thermostat setting depending on time of day. That percentage of savings is greater for buildings in milder climates, i.e. not New England. But still. If you turn down your thermostat at night and when you’re away from home, you’ll save energy. And saved energy equals saved $$.
Want to read more? Read the full story at What’s the Most Energy-Efficient Way to Set Your Thermostat?
What are the advantages of ordering heating oil with an app?
The Heatable app and website make it easy to order home heating oil. You can see our super low heating oil price and place an order from your computer or smartphone wherever you are, whenever you want.
And because we’ve automated just about everything and focus on simply delivering heating oil, we’re able to keep our costs down—and then pass on those savings to you in the form of a super low price for heating oil.
Learn more by checking out What Are the Advantages of Ordering Heating Oil with an App.
Learn more about Heating Oil
Visit our Ultimate Consumer’s Guide to Heating Oil for everything you need to know about heating your home with #2 heating oil.
Heatable’s the smart way to order oil! Our website and quick order app put you in control of your heating oil purchases. You can order anywhere and at any time. Just enter your zip to see your super-low price and get started.
We provide lower prices for all! Heatable is committed to providing consistently low heating oil prices. Our technology and streamlined process allow us to offer the same low price to everyone – no negotiating necessary.
We’re heating oil superstars! Founded by industry veterans, we’ve been around the block (literally hundreds of thousands of times). We have our own bright orange trucks, and make our own deliveries.
Heating oil delivery at your fingertips. Try us today!