You are currently viewing How Long Will a Tank of Heating Oil Last?

How Long Will a Tank of Heating Oil Last?

The last thing you want on a freezing winter night is to find out that your heating oil tank is empty. To avoid such an unpleasant surprise, the first thing you should do is keep track of your consumption and familiarize yourself with the important factors that affect it. Do not worry if you do not know anything about them. Below we will break down all the factors and give you an estimate that will put your mind at ease. 

Factors Affecting Heating Oil Consumption

How long will heating oil last? Well, a variety of factors influence and determine how long. Here are the most important ones:

Your Home’s Size & Insulation Status 

The size of your home plays an important role in the amount of heating oil you use. The more room and area you have to heat, the more oil you will need.

The quality of your home’s insulation, the type of windows installed, and the condition of your roof are all key factors here. The overall insulation condition of your property serves as an additional layer of protection. Inferior insulation can negatively impact the amount of oil needed to keep your home warm. If the cold weather is able to enter the house through the cracks, your consumption will rise significantly.

Change in Oil Composition

Heating oil is essentially the exact same as diesel that people use in their cars. The chemical composition of the oil changes over time.  Why? Because the oil can undergo chemical reactions when in contact with other contaminants.

As long as your heating oil tank is clean and free of contaminants, it will typically remain functional for 18 to 24 months.

Furnace or Boiler Condition

To use less fuel, your furnace must be clean and in good condition. Otherwise, its performance will decrease, which in turn will lead to higher oil consumption. If you think you are using too much oil, it may be worth considering switching to a newer, more efficient heating system, as it will use less oil per hour than an older model, all other things being equal.

Cold Weather Duration & Intensity

The colder the outside temperature is, the more heating oil is consumed to compensate for the comfortable warmth inside the house! You also need to take into account how long the winter season lasts where you live. Cold season does not last the same time everywhere.

Thermostat Setting

This is another obvious reason that determines your overall oil consumption during the cold season. Some may feel more comfortable with the room temperature set above 70 degrees, while others can get by with 65 degrees, so your personal preferences will affect overall consumption.

Heating Oil-Powered Devices

If you have many appliances that rely on heating oil, you need more oil to supply them all. This is one of the factors that affect a household’s energy consumption. To get a good idea of your total heating oil consumption, you need to read the instruction manuals of all your appliances and calculate how much each one uses.

Idle Time

Last but not least factor that determines the answer to the question “how long will heating oil last?” is the time when the furnace is functioning at the desired level. What does it mean? Well, if you are not home, you do not need to set the thermostat to the desired level, because there’s no one home to enjoy the heat! So when you are not at home, you save a lot of money on oil consumption.

Heating Oil Consumption Estimate

Now that you know the most important factors, let’s take a look at some scenarios to better estimate how long your heating oil will last.

As mentioned earlier, weather temperature is a key factor. For example, if the temperature outside drops to 15 degrees, you will likely use around eight gallons of heating oil each day. On the other hand, if it’s milder outside, say 50 degrees, then you’ll probably use about two gallons per day. 

Another essential parameter is, of course, the size of your house. So let’s look at another scenario from this aspect. For a house with an area of about 2,500 to 3,000 square feet, you can expect to use about five to eight gallons of heating oil per day, or a little more than a gallon per hour when your heating system is operating.

To better compare the above factors, you can use the following table to make a rough estimate.

How big is your house? (square feet)Outside Temperature (degree Fahrenheit)Approximate Consumption(gallons)
1000 10 3.30 
1000 20 2.70 
1000 302.10 
1000 40 1.50 
1000 50 0.90 

The outside temperature and the size of your home are not the only factors, but they are the two common denominators when it comes to estimating a household’s oil consumption.

Your best bet is to monitor these factors for a month and record everything. If you just topped off 100 gallons of oil and only took 10 days to reach the same level, you are using 10 gallons every day.

Bottom Line

There is no magic formula for estimating heating oil consumption. Many factors interact to determine your oil consumption. From your lifestyle to the materials used in your home to weather conditions and the size of your property. To play it safe, keep track of your monthly consumption and have a plan.Here at Bucks County Fuel, we offer all types of services related to your heating oil needs. From oil deliveries to tank repairs and installations, our team of professionals works hard to make sure your home stays comfortable and efficient. Browse our website to learn more about us, or contact us today and we will be happy to help.