How to Read Your Oil Tank

Updated March 23, 2017

Oil tanks are large tanks that house the heating oil used to heat your home in the cold winter months. Knowing how to read your oil tank is essential to knowing when to put in an order to have your tank refilled so that you will have the fuel needed to heat your home when the temperature drops. An oil tank contains a floating assembly inside a glass gauge that moves up and down according to the amount of oil inside the tank.

Locate your oil tank, which is usually found in your basement or garage. Your oil tank is fairly large with several pipes connecting from it and a glass gauge sticking from the top.

Wipe the glass gauge free of dust with a cloth if it is dirty or dusty so that you can easily read the measurement.

Note where the red floater is sitting within the gauge and read the number found next to it. The number next to the red floater indicates how many gallons of heating oil are left in your oil tank.


Some oil tanks offer measurements in terms of how full the tank is, such as ¾ and ½ rather than gallon measurements.


Beware of smoking or lighting flames around an oil tank--oil is extremely flammable.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
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About the Author

Kayla Lowe has been a freelance writer since 2008. She writes for various online publications and is also the author of the book "Maiden's Blush," a Christian-fiction romance novel. Lowe is pursuing a degree in elementary education.