10 Factors That Influence How Long a Tank of Heating Oil Will Last

You may notice, with all the crazy weather we’ve been having, that you’re using heating oil more quickly than you expected, even though the weather hasn’t been consistently cold this winter.

There’s a reason for that (actually, there are several, as we’ll see). Many factors influence the amount of fuel you burn in a winter season, and the speed at which you burn it. Here are 10 of the key ones:

  1. The size of the oil tank – Some common sizes for home heating oil tank are 275, 340, 420, and 500 gallons.
  2. Your thermostat setting – Increasing the temperature on your thermostat by just a few degrees will make a big difference in how fast you burn oil.
  3. The outdoor temperature – Colder outside temperatures mean more oil burning. Because outdoor temperature varies widely during the day and season, oil companies like us use heating degree days (HDD) to describe the heating load that your heating system will have to meet. A heating degree day is based on the temperature at which is assumed that no heat would be needed – typically 65 degrees Fahrenheit (check out this interesting link for a heating day calculator)
  4. Outdoor wind conditions – Wind significantly increases how quickly heat is lost from your home – especially if your home is under-insulated and poorly sealed (see below).
  5. Insulation level – As much as 15 percent of the heated air in your home could be lost due to poorly insulated floors, basements, crawl spaces, and attics.
  6. Air leaks – A drafty building loses heat significantly faster than a tight building, even if the drafty building is insulated. This is why weatherization is one of the best ways to save money on your heating bills.
  7. Oil burner nozzle size and fuel unit pumping pressure – An oil burner nozzle delivers oil into the oil burner combustion chamber in a very fine spray to aid to help it burn better. The size of the nozzle and the pressure at which fuel is delivered to it will influence how fast you burn oil – an expert technician will know exactly how to set your heating system to get the most out of it.
  8. Oil burner efficiency – The efficiency of heating equipment can vary widely from one system to the next, or even from one season to the next on the same equipment. Your system can lose 10 or more percent of its operating efficiency in a single year if it’s not properly maintained.
  9. Oil burner cycling rate – Most heating systems take a few minutes after start-up to reach peak operating efficiency. If your heating oil burner is turning on and off rapidly (short cycling) – most likely due to it being mismatched to the heating load of your home – you are wasting energy and money.
  10. Other factors – For a more complete discussion on the factors that influence your home’s heating and cooling performance, check out this resource.

As you can see, the amount of fuel you burn is not easy to predict – which is why it’s so much easier just to leave it to us. Sign up for Automatic Delivery and we’ll figure out exactly when you’ll need a heating oil top off so you never have to think about it again.

Sign up for FREE Automatic Delivery today and let us worry about managing your heating oil supply. Contact us today to get started!

For everything you need in home heating, trust the pros at Carroll Home Services – keeping Maryland homes warm for more than a century! Contact us to get started today!