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.

If you’re wondering the same thing, keep reading, ‘cause we can help.

Think of your heating oil tank like your car’s gas tank

It may sound silly but thinking of your heating oil tank like you would your car’s gas tank will help you figure out how much oil you need – and how long the oil you have will last.

The amount of gasoline you need to keep your car running depends on a bunch of factors, things like: how much you’re driving, what season you’re driving in, what size of gas tank you have, what type of driving you’re doing (highway or city), how well you’ve taken care of the engine, etc.

If your drive to work involves 30 minutes of stop and go traffic in a – let’s say “vintage” – car that may or may not have gotten regular tune-ups (we’re not judging), you’re going to be stopping in at the pumps more often that your neighbor who drives 15 minutes down the highway in her brand new car. And you’ll both have to fill-up more frequently in winter than you will in summer.

Well, it’s the same with your heating oil tank. Certain factors affect how much heating oil you’ll burn – and therefore need.

Factors that affect how frequently you order heating oil

In order to gauge how frequently you need to order heating oil, be aware of the following factors:

  • Is it summer or winter?

  • Do you get your system tuned annually?

  • How warm do you keep your house?

  • Is your house drafty?

  • How big or small is your house?

All these factors affect how quickly you burn oil and therefore, how quickly you need to order more. A system that hasn’t been tuned up recently and is trying to warm up a drafty house in the midst of a Nor’easter is going to use more heating oil than one that is just keeping the water hot in summer.

This chart will help

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 we want to emphasize that “estimate” part. This chart is based on a 2,000 to 2,100 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 24 hours Approximate Days 25 Gallons Will Last
15 7.8 3.2
20 7.0 3.6
25 6.2 4.0
30 5.3 4.7
35 4.5 5.6
40 3.7 6.8
45 2.8 8.9
50 2.0 12.5

Don’t let your heating oil tank get too low!

Heads up, ‘cause this next part is important. As you estimate your usage, make sure that you don’t estimate to an empty tank, or even to 1/8 of a tank. When older systems get below 1/8 of a tank, it can cause sediment from the bottom of the tank to get into the fuel lines and gunk everything up. And things getting gunked up can result in expensive repairs. No one wants expensive repairs.

Knowing your heating oil tank size will help. Most homes have a 275-gallon tank, which safely holds 240 gallons. In that case, the tank would contain 30 gallons if the oil tank gauge read 1/8 full. If it read ¼ full, the tank would contain 60 gallons and need 180 gallons to fill it.

 Heatable says, “Order at a quarter”

Not really a numbers person? That’s okay. There’s a much easier way to never run out of oil—and all you have to do is remember to “order at a quarter.” We recommend this strategy mostly because it rhymes and it’s fun to say, but also because it helps prevent running out of oil. And nobody wants to run out of oil.

Not only does it typically result in lots of arguing about who forgot to place the order – but it’s also bad for your oil tank.

So, once you get a feel for how quickly you’re burning oil, make it a habit to check the gauge on your tank. If it’s in winter, you might want to check it every couple of days; if it’s in summer, you might be okay to check it once a month.

It’s always a good idea to place an order before you’re right about to run out. It’s like bread and milk at the grocery store—as soon as a storm rolls in people run to the store and buy bread like it’s going out of style. Same thing happens with heating oil – when it gets cold, everyone orders, and with a first come first served system, you want to make sure your order is in the queue before the mad rush.

Ready to order heating oil?

With Heatable, 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’re 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.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started with Heatable!

Check Your Oil Price Today