How Long Does Heating Oil Last & How to Conserve It

Written on: February 13, 2020

heating oil lifespan connecticutA question that we get often is “How long will my heating oil last?” And on cold winter mornings, these are important questions to keep your family and your home warm. 

You want to get the most out of your heating oil and you want to live as efficiently as possible and conserve energy. 

How Long Does Heating Oil Last?

Typically, the calculation for how long heating oil lasts is hinged on the size of your home and how long you leave your furnace running. Using a general rule of thumb, most homeowners use tanks 300 gallons or less for one and two-bedroom homes. 

However, having a good understanding of how long your heating oil lasts is important and dependent on a number of factors other than the size of your home. External temperature, the condition and maintenance of your furnace, how extendable the life of your heating oil is are all factors to consider.

What Factors Affect Heating Oil Usage?

Several factors impact how long your heating oil will last. Let’s cover each of those.

Outdoor Temperature

The amount of heating oil consumed during a blizzard or extremely cold weather is different from that of a warm winter season. Extremely cold outside temperatures increase the rate of heating oil consumption — the more the temperature drops, the higher the rate of heating oil consumption. The wind is also something to consider, as it accelerates the rate of heat loss from a house.

Condition of Your Furnace

What’s the condition of your furnace and how long have you been using it? Has it been well maintained or has it suffered some damages without adequate salvaging? Older, aging furnaces and ill-maintained ones have a tendency to consume more oil than newer models that have been designed for efficiency. You may want to consider upgrading your furnace and having regularly scheduled maintenance.

Your Use Case Scenario

What your oil is being used for specifically is essential for determining how long your heating oil will last. Are you using it for heat, or for both heat and hot water? If you are using it for both, you’ll definitely consume more than the heat-only use case. Also, you may want to check how long your furnace stays on, especially if you do not have a programmable thermostat that can automatically adjust your temperature inside.

Calculating Specifically How Long Heating Oil May Last

A measuring technique by Inspectapedia suggests that you can make a very rough guess of your usage by noting how many minutes per hour your oil burner is running. Denoting that oil burners use a spray nozzle that delivers oil at a flow rate of around 0.8 to 1.7 gallons per hour is important. You’ll also need to know your oil tank size and how much oil you have in it (if it’s not a full tank of oil). 

Santa Energy’s tracking technology saves you a load of stress by calculating precisely when your home will need a heating oil refill and gets your heating oil filled automatically before you run out.

How long should 100 gallons of heating oil last?

Using the calculation above, 1.7 gallons per hour  x 10 hours a day (assuming the number of hours you spend at home is 10 hours) = 17 gallons a day. That means, 100 gallons of oil will last you about six days (100-gallon tank / 17 gallons per day = 5.8 days).

Or, if you want to calculate using a full day (24-hours), 1.7 gallons per hour x 24 hours a day = 40.8 gallons a day. If your oil tank size is 100 gallons, then your tank will last two-and-a-half days (100-gallon tank / 40.8 gallons = 2.45 days).

How long will 10 gallons of heating oil last?

Following our previous calculations, 10 gallons of heating oil at a consumption rate of 1.7 gallons per hour should last 5.8 hours. (10-gallon tank / 1.7 gallons per hour = 5.8 hours).

Northeast Temperatures Effect on Heating Oil Consumption

Considering that most residential heating oil consumers are in the Northeast and about 20% of households in the Northeast Census region use heating oil as their main space heating fuel, it is helpful to make estimates based on outside temperature on how long heating oil lasts in this region.

Here’s a chart that’ll help you make estimates based on outside temperature:

Average Outside Temperature (°F) Approximate Gallons Used in 24 Hours
15 7.8
20 7.0
25 6.2
30 5.3
35 4.5
40 3.7
45 2.8
50 2.0

How to Conserve Heating Oil

The question after examining all of these is, how do you then conserve your heating oil?

Regular Maintenance

Make sure you have the right and well-maintained equipment, from your tank to your furnace. Have your furnace tuned up to keep it working efficiently. Your tank should also be checked regularly for degradation, as a corroded or leaky oil tank will degrade your oil faster and external impurities can penetrate your oil.

Proper Insulation

If your house is well insulated, heating oil conservation is easier. Good insulation means the heat is retained in the house, rather than being dispersed through the roof, windows, and walls. Invest in an energy audit and insulate your home properly, seal gaps around the edges of windows and floorboards, reduce drafts.

According to Energy Saving Trust, you could stop losing around 33% of your heat through uninsulated walls which will make your home feel warmer and more comfortable and save costs. 

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Use a Smart Thermostat to regulate the heat, reduce heat wastage and adjust usage when you are not home. 

Layer Up

Dressing in layers and decorating your house for warmth are effective ways of generating heat and conserving energy.

Order Oil During the Off-Season

As the demand for a product increases, the price of that product begins to rise. Oil prices tend to increase with demand, so having your tank filled during a low-demand season is good for you, especially when supply problems can arise during the high-demand winter season.

In addition to our heating oil delivery services, Santa Energy provides a variety of other heating services including furnace maintenance, repair, and new heating system installation.