Everything you need to know about home heating oil & deliveries

Whether you’re a first-time user or seasoned veteran, you can always learn more about home heating oil and your oil delivery options.


Home Heating Oil Tanks – Things to consider


An average oil tank will last 15-20 years. If your home is new, this shouldn’t be an issue but if you live in an older home, it might be time to consider a new oil tank. Oil Tanks come is many sizes and have above ground and buries options.


The most common size for a residential heating oil tank size is 275 gallons. Other common above-ground tanks include 500, 550, 675, and 1000 gallons. Sometimes two oil tanks are connected in tandem to provide maximum storage.


Similar to a propane tank, oil tanks are not filled to the top. Tanks are equipped with a whistle (also known as a ‘vent alarm’). It is the most critical component when filling an oil tank from outside. The whistle is located at the bottom of the vent pipe and hangs approximately 6” down from the top of the oil tank. As air is forced out of the tank by the incoming oil, it blows by the whistle, creating a sound that the driver hears outside. Once the oil level rises to the level of the whistle, the sound is muted, and the driver knows to stop pumping, as the tank is full.


Oil Tank Size


An industry rule-of-thumb is that one or two-bedroom homes most often need a 275-gallon heating oil tank; three- or four-bedroom homes need a 300 to 500-gallon tank. To be more specific, you would need to have an energy audit performed to determine your home’s heat loss. That calculation would tell you the size of your furnace, which would lead you to the number of gallons you could be expected to burn in a heating season. From there you would get your tank size. Wow – a lot of calculations!


Another factor to consider for a heating oil tank replacement include: actual physical space. Some homes just can’t fit larger heating oil tanks; be sure to measure your space before you start to shop for your tank. If you are using a heating oil service contractor, let them know your expectations for space usage by the tank, especially if you are moving from an underground outdoor tank to an above ground indoor tank in your basement.


Many new home heating oil/fuel oil customers wonder “How do I know the size of my oil tank”? or “How many gallons does my oil tank hold”?


While the most common above ground oil tank size is 275 gallons, capacity can range from 105 gallons to 500 gallons. A quick and easy way to determine if your oil tank has a capacity of 275 gallons is to measure the height, width and length of the tank.


A steel vertical 275-gallon oil tank typically measures 27″ wide, 44″ high and 60″ long. There are instances when tanks of the same measurements lay flat.

Check out our handy fuel oil capacity chart located here.


How does my oil tank gauge work?


Most gauges make use of a rigid metal rod attached to a float inside the oil tank. When the tank is full, the float rises and pushes up the disk to the top of the gauge. Just like in your car, the tank gauge measures the level of fuel remaining, NOT the number of gallons you have left.


Your oil tank should have a tank gauge that will give you an approximation of how many gallons of oil are in the tank at any time. A typical oil tank gauge looks like the picture below.


The tank gauge measures oil inventory in increments of 1/4 or 25%. If your gauge reads 1/4 full you have approximately 68 gallons in your tank, 1/2 equals approximately 136 gallons, 3/4 equals approximately 204 gallons.


If your fuel oil dealer offers automatic delivery it is their responsibility to keep your oil tank from running out but also from getting too low. When a tank gauge approaches 1/8 full it increases the chance that sludge from the bottom of the tank can clog oil filters. Clogged oil filters result in the inability of oil to reach the oil burner and loss of heat. Customers who prefer to call their home heating oil dealer to order oil are referred to as “will call” customers. If you are a “will call” customer, be sure to order a delivery before your tank gauge reads 1/4 full.


Here is our oil tank fill calculator.


We also offer a Smart Oil Gauge. Find out more about this amazing product here.


Home Heating Oil – Fuel Oil Deliveries


As mentioned above there are two types of customers – Automatic Delivery and Will Call Delivery. In either case, your home oil delivery will arrive via an oil delivery truck. Your driver will locate your filler pipe and connect the hose to the fill pipe. There are gauges on the tank that are set to zero at the start of the operation. The ending numbers determine how much fuel oil was placed into your oil tank.


Once the hose is connected, the driver is ready to start pumping heating oil from the truck into your oil tank. The delivery driver then slowly pulls the lever on the handle and begins to fill your tank. The slow start allows for them to listen for the vent alarm (whistle) and make sure that they aren’t overfilling the tank.


If you have any further questions regarding your oil delivery, please feel free to reach out.


Did you know home heating oil is dyed red? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires heating oil and other distillate fuels that are not for highway use to be colored with a red dye. The red color identifies the fuel as exempt from the federal, state, and local taxes applied to fuels sold for use on public roadways and as illegal for use in vehicles that normally operate on roadways.

Combined Energy Services Employee

Combined Energy Services

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Monticello, NY

216 East Broadway
Monticello, NY 12701
Phone: (845) 794-1210
Fax: (845) 794-0238

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1483 Route 739
Dingmans Ferry, PA 18328
Phone: (570) 828-1700
Fax: (570) 828-2523

Andover, NJ

430 U.S. 206
Newton, NJ 07860
Phone: (973) 948-0090
Fax: (973) 383-0161

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1 Musket Ct.
New Hampton, NY 10958
Phone: (845) 294-4343 / (845) 343-5353
Fax: (845) 606-8026
All Gas Welding: (845) 294-7771

Kerhonkson, NY

6525 U.S. 209
Kerhonkson, NY 12446
(corner Rt 209 & Rt. 44/55)
Phone: (845) 647-6226
Fax: (845) 626-1290

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155 South Route 303
West Nyack, NY 10994
Phone: (845) 535-5340
Fax: (845) 535-4491


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Dingmans Ferry, PA

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