5 Ways To Avoid Heating Oil Problems In Winter

Posted on: 13 September 2022


When you heat a house with oil, it's vital that you make sure there is plenty of fuel for heating the home as the weather gets cold. The following strategies will ensure you always have enough fuel to keep your family warm. 

1. Regularly Verify Gauge Readings

Tank gauges are handy for a quick check of your oil levels, and you should be checking them weekly throughout the heating season so you don't inadvertently run low on fuel. Unfortunately, tank gauges commonly fail for a variety of reasons, so ask your delivery person or HVAC technician to show you how to check the fuel levels with a dipstick. Verify the gauge readings with a dipstick reading at least once a month so you aren't caught unawares. 

2. Fuel Up Early in the Season

Get ahead of everyone else filling their tank in autumn and early winter by scheduling your first oil fill-up in the middle of summer or at the end of the season. Heating oil prices tend to be lower at this time, plus you won't have to worry about seasonal winter shortages that may otherwise make it difficult to get a fill when you need one. Further, early-season cold snaps can leave you in the lurch if you have postponed the first oil fill-up of the season. 

3. Sign Up for Regular Deliveries

One way to minimize the chances of running out of fuel is to sign up for regular deliveries through your fuel oil provider. Some services even offer discounts for those that sign a contract for regular tank refills. Your delivery service can help you determine the frequency of deliveries you require based on your expected usage and tank size. In some cases, you may be able to go under contract for a set oil price, which means you will be protected from the seasonal heating oil price increases that are common in winter. 

4. Stay Abreast of the Forecast

Bad winter storms and extreme periods of low temperatures can deplete your heating fuel stores quickly. If your home is difficult for a delivery truck to access when there is snow and ice, then you may need to top off your tank before the storm arrives. This is especially true if the bad weather may stick around for a few weeks and will impede regularly scheduled deliveries. 

5. Schedule Annual Tank Service

Issues with your tank can leave you without heat even if you have plenty of fuel. An annual inspection can catch issues like broken or clogged fuel lines and valves, both issues that can prevent the fuel oil from flowing into your furnace. The inspection also checks for sludge in the tank because too much sludge increases the chances of clogged lines. Your HVAC or oil delivery company should offer annual inspection services.

Contact a fuel oil delivery service if you have further questions.