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How Many Gallons are in My Home Oil Tank?

Find out how to determine the oil level of your home heating oil tank.

A common problem that faces home oil heating customers is determining the amount of heating oil remaining in their home oil tank. Most home oil tank installations have a gauge designed for this purpose making the process of checking your oil level trivial. If you do not have a gauge on your home oil tank, there is another way to determine its current level called “sounding”. Sounding a home oil tank is measuring the amount of oil left in a tank. By knowing the amount of oil left in your tank you can prevent a multitude of home heating system failures caused by running out of oil.


Time Required: Less than 10 minutes

Tools Required: Tape Measure, Pen, Paper, Calculator (Optional)

Sounding your oil tank for the first time can be done in three steps:

  1. Determine the size of your oil tank
  2. Take an oil height measurement of the tank
  3. Calculate the amount of oil left in the tank



To calculate the capacity of your home oil tank it is necessary to take some measurements.  All measurements should be taken in inches.

For rectangular oil tanks you will be measuring the length, width, and height of the oil tank.  Take these numbers multiply them and the number 0.0043 together.  For 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 do the following:

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

The number that you get is the capacity of your home oil tank.



The next step in determining how much oil is left in your home oil tanks is getting the depth of the oil remaining.  This is called how many “inches of oil” you have.  To get this number insert the tape measure into the top of the tank and extend the tape measure until it reaches the bottom.  Slowly remove the tape measure without winding it back up and look for the oil line.  The end of the line is how many inches you have in your tank.



The final step is determining how much oil is in your home oil tank is: taking your tank capacity, dividing it by the height of your tank and multiplying the  result by the inches in your tank.  For example, if you have a  275 gallon tank that is 36″ high and has 24″ of oil you would do the following:

275Gallons / 36″ = 7.639 gallons / inch (Save this number so you can calculate easier in the future!)

7.639 gallons x 24 inches = 183.34 Gallons remaining.


Although sounding a tank can usually be done in less than 10 minutes most home owners do not want the hassle of measuring the contents of their tank.  One sure fire way of making sure you do not run out of oil and preventing heating system failure is to sign up for a home heating service contract with automatic home delivery.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ruby Walters November 12, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Thanks for the instructions, especially those equations. I am looking for someone who does <a href="http://jdvigil.com">hvac in Colorado Springs</a>- do you have any recommendations?


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