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How Long Will My Heating Oil Last?

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One question we get a lot here at Black Bear is, “how long will my heating oil last?” The answer to that question, like the answer to many questions about heating costs, is “It depends.”

In this case, there are a number of factors involved – some that we know with certainty and others that we do not. Some of the major contributors to your home’s heating oil consumption include:

  • The size of your home
  • The length of the cold season
  • How cold it gets in the area
  • How insulated your home is
  • What materials your home is made from
  • How high you set your thermostat
  • The number of appliances run by fuel oil
  • The number of people living in your home
  • The per-gallon price of heating oil

One other critical factor is the efficiency of your furnace or boiler: a newer, more efficient heating system will burn less oil per hour than an old one (all other things being equal), so if you find yourself using what you think is too much oil, you may want to consider a heating system upgrade. A brand-new furnace can run as much as 30 percent more efficiently than an older one – enough to cover the cost of replacement in just a few years.

If you’re not ready to replace your heating system, you can keep your current one running efficiently by giving it routine annual heating maintenance. Scheduling a professional to inspect your heating system and give it any service it needs can lengthen its lifespan and help it use less oil.

Heating oil consumption estimates

For a modest-sized house (2,500 to 3,000 square feet) in Sullivan County, you should expect to burn about five to eight gallons or more of heating oil per day – a little more than one gallon per hour with the heating system running intermittently throughout the day. If you have a 275-gallon tank – which typically holds about 230 gallons of fuel (the rest is needed for air) – a full tank should last a little more than a month.

Of course, as you can see from the list above, that number is a rough estimate: every home is different and uses different amounts of heating oil every day during the cold months.

To get a more accurate estimate of how much heating oil your home is using, try this:

  • The next time you get a heating oil delivery, make note of your heating oil tank gauge and how many gallons of oil are delivered; the number of gallons is noted on your delivery ticket.
  • Keep track of the day-to-day temperatures between that day and the day of your next heating oil delivery.
  • Keep track of how many days it took to return to your original tank gauge reading, then divide the number of gallons delivered by that number of days. For example, if you had 200 gallons of oil delivered and it took 20 days to reach the same level on your tank gauge, you used about 10 gallons a day.
  • Compare your fuel consumption to the temperatures you recorded to get a sense of how much temperature affected your oil use.

No matter how much heating oil you use, we’ll be there with more when you need it. For expert heating oil delivery in our Catskill Region service area, trust the pros at Black Bear. Contact us today to become a Black Bear customer!