Measuring How Many Gallons of Heating Oil You Have in Your Oil Tank

oil-tank-removal-installationA very common issue that heating oil customers face is measuring the amount of heating oil in their tank. Most of the time oil tanks have a gauge that will show you how much heating oil you have. If your oil tank doesn’t have a gauge, however, you can still determine how much heating oil you have in your tank by a process called “sounding.” Knowing how much oil you have left in your tank is important because this way you can prevent running out of oil which can cause a number of problems with your heating system. Sounding involves 3 easy steps: determining the size of your oil tank, taking an oil height measurement of the tank, and calculating the amount of heating oil left in your tank.

What you need: Pen, paper, tape measure

Time required: About 10 minutes

Step 1: Determine the size of your tank

If you don’t already know how many gallons of heating oil your tank can hold, you’ll need to calculate it by taking some measurements. Please take all measurements in inches. If your oil tank is rectangular you’ll need to measure its length, width, and height. Now take these 3 numbers and multiply them along with the number 0.0043 together.

Example: if you have a home oil tank that has a length of 72in, a width of 24 in, and a height of 36 in, you would calculate your tank’s capacity the following way:

72″ x 24″ x 36″ x 0.0043 = 267.49 Gallons

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The number that you get is the number of gallons your tank can hold.

Step 2: Determine how many inches of heating oil are in your tank

To do this insert the tape measure in the tank and extend it until it hits the bottom of the tank. Carefully remove the tape without allowing it to wind back and check where the oil line stops. The end of the line will show you how many inches of oil you currently have in your oil tank.

Step 3: Calculating the number of gallons in your heating oil tank

The last step is calculating the number of gallons of heating oil in your tank. This is the formula to do it:

( tank capacity / tank height ) x  number of inches of oil = total amount of gallons in your tank.

Example: You have a 275 gallon tank that is 36″ high and has 24″ of oil, you would do the calculation the following way:

275Gallons / 36″ = 7.639 gallons / inch (Make note of this number so you don’t have to calculate it again in the future)

7.639 gallons x 24 inches = 183.34 Gallons remaining.

By following these 3 easy steps you can measure how many gallons of heating oil you have left in your oil tank and ensure you don’t run out of oil.

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