How to Check Home Heating Oil Level

If you’ve moved into a new house or have recently switched to using domestic heating oil, you’re probably brimming with questions regarding how to check home heating oil levels, how to know how much oil is left in your tank, or simply how often do you check it? There’s nothing worse than running out of heating oil, so implementing small oil maintenance habits regularly can save you money long-term and help you avoid an emergency phone call with your oil supplier and call with your heating engineer in case any damage has occurred to your boiler whilst firing up with no fuel. To ensure you’re always on top of your heating oil level, we’ve compiled a simple guide covering how to check your heating oil level and other questions.

How to Check Your Heating Oil Level

1. Become familiar with your fuel oil tank

This may sound strange, but we all have to start somewhere. The first step to checking your heating oil levels confidently is knowing how to! There are many types of oil tanks, though most should have a label on the front or side of the tank dictating its size and capacity. There are many benefits of consistently measuring your heating oil tank, from helping you to keep track of your finances to ensuring you stay warm through winter. Most tanks have float gauges or sight level tubes, allowing you to check how much oil is left in your tank easily. When it shows the tank to be about a quarter full, it’s time to think about ordering more oil online with Rix.

2. Choose a date

Checking your heating oil level is an easy task to forget, leaving you wondering how much oil is left in your tank at the end of the month. Checking your oil tank levels regularly is important for keeping on top of stock and deliveries. We recommend choosing a regular date to check your tank’s oil level, for example, the 2nd of every month. Pop a reminder in your phone or calendar; this way, you’re less likely to forget to check.

Reminder: Don't forget to check that your gauge is in working order as a faulty reading could cause problems.

3. Use a dipstick

A dipstick is the most common manual method of checking how much oil is left in your fuel tank in the UK. We recommend you use a straight measuring stick. Simply dip the stick into the fuel tank, pull it out, and the stick will display the heating oil level in your tank, similar to how you would measure oil in a car. We recommend you think about placing your next fuel order when your tank gets down to its last 12 inches (30cm) of fuel.

4. Sight gauge

It’s increasingly common for fuel storage tanks to be fitted with a clear plastic tube on the side, making it easy for you to check the heating oil level. These tubes are often called sight gauges or can sometimes be referred to as a water gauge. Be careful when using this method, as any discolouration in the sight gauge can make it difficult to check how much home heating oil you have left accurately.

5. Float gauge

Float gauges are pieces of equipment that float up and down with the oil level. The gauge floats on top of the water and shows you your oil level via a piece of string that’s wound around a gauge, turning the dial depending on the level of the oil. It will show the oil level in increments of quarters only.

6. Digital monitors

If you’re wondering how to check your home heating oil level in a less labour-intensive way, then digital monitors are for you. Like smart home readers for gas and electricity, heating oil tanks can now be fitted with digital monitoring systems that remotely monitor heating oil levels.

While keeping on top of your heating oil levels is paramount, and we highly recommend consistent personal monitoring, we always advise you to have a professional carry out regular tank health checks and servicing to ensure there aren’t any problems that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. We recommend you have a professional service your boiler every 12 months. Please enquire about our oil boiler servicing options today.

Why should I choose heating oil?

Over 1.5 million homes in the UK use oil for home heating because it is safe, clean, and efficient. New A-rated oil-fuelled boilers can produce up to 97% efficiency, making heating oil a more economical fuel than others.

When should I buy heating oil?

If you are new to owning a heating oil fuelled boiler, you may be wondering, when is the best time to buy heating oil? Heating oil is typically cheapest during the summer months when demand is lowest. Buying at this time also ensures you’re prepared for any cold snaps. However, we realise not everybody can fill their tank in the summer, so our advice would be to order it as early as possible before winter arrives.

Overall demand and prices will still be lower, helping you save money on heating oil and avoid long waits, which can happen if it snows or during the busy Christmas period. You can keep an eye on heating oil prices through our website, which gives you free, instant, up-to-date quotes.

How much heating oil do I need?

The average UK household consumes approximately 2,512 litres of heating oil per annum. However, many variables can influence this figure, such as how big your house is, how well insulated it is, how many people live in it, and how cold the weather has been. At Rix, our minimum heating oil order is 500 litres. Most domestic heating oil tanks have a capacity between 1,000 – 2,500 litres. If your tank is running low, we recommend you fill it up to get the most value for money from your heating oil, when buying in larger quantities.

How do I know if my heating oil is low?

There are many indicators that your fuel tank is running low, many of which don’t require you to check your home heating oil level. Here are a few indicators that your fuel tank is running low:

1. Your oil tank is making banging noises. A series of loud bangs or rumbles indicates that there is air in your fuel line, telling you that your heating oil level is very low.

2. Your boiler doesn’t automatically fire. If you find you have to keep resetting your heating oil system every day, there’s a good chance your levels are low.

3. You haven’t filled up in a while. Though you may not think you are using much heating oil, especially in the summer, you may be surprised at how low your fuel tank is. Even a small home will need to refill its oil tank at least once per year, with larger houses needing to refill at least once just over winter.

4. There’s no heat in your house. The clearest indication that you’ve run out of heating oil is if your radiators are cold.

Depending how low your heating oil has fallen, you may require an engineer to restart your boiler. Low fuel levels can clog filters and fuel pipes, which may require an OFTEC registered engineer.  

Why choose Rix Petroleum as my heating oil supplier?

Unlike many other suppliers in England, Wales and Scotland, Rix Petroleum is an independent, family-owned company with a rich heritage for developing loyal, trusted relationships with our customers. We prioritise providing a friendly, reliable, flexible, and competitive service for all of our customers. Rix Petroleum has many depots located throughout the UK, ensuring our staff have the local knowledge you need from your oil supplier.

We hope in this blog you’ve learnt how to check your home heating oil level, and now know how to check how much oil is left in your tank to inform your heating oil level buying habits. To discover more about domestic heating oil, check out our various blog posts. To order heating oil for your home, contact us today.