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Does oil tank gauge read fraction of total tank capacity or recommended fill?

D107
D107 Member Posts: 1,800
Found this 'Glow Oil' ad online, which indicates that the gauge is reading percentage/fraction of recommended fill level, not the total capacity; their recommendation is that 'full' is 255 gal. With our Roth 1000L, fill chart says max fill should be 263 (94% 275). To find out how much oil was left in our tank I'd always assumed gauge was reading percentage of 275, not 263 max fill. Which is it?



Now that family house is for sale, been trying to gauge how low to let tank get before closing. Some recommendations are calibrated in inches--saying no lower than 4 inches. But that's not easy to ascertain. 4 inches in the Roth is 15 gallons, 5.5% which table rounds off to 5%. In this situation--where I don't want any last minute problems--I'll order oil when tank hits 3/8 or 1/4 which would be 16inches. I have to assume the copper intake tube sits 2-3 inches off the bottom of the top-feed so even if bottom oil is not sludgy, the tube would be sucking air at less than 3 inches of oil.

Also Roth says the length of its vent whistle may further reduce the maximum fill.


Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,953
    The bottom line on oil tank gauges of the float type -- which most of them are -- is that you are lucky if they read within 10 percent of the "real" value -- however you define real. There are accurate ways to gauge a tank -- several of them -- but float gauges aren't one of them.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    D107
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,689
    Oil gauges are about as accurate as dial type car gauges. You can note where empty is when your run out, and where full is when you fill it.

    I wouldn't let it get below a 1/4. You can either get a delivery of 50 gallons (and pay a lot), or ask the seller if they want you to fill the tank and credit you the difference at closing when they do a final walk through.
    If you're on automatic delivery, you should let your oil supplier know, because technically you have a contract with them and it's on you to notify them.

    You don't want it to run out. And you wouldn't be very nice to have the new buyer move into the home and run out of oil the next day, or have to find an oil company in an emergency situation.
    You wouldn't want someone to do that to you, right?
    steve
    D107
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,800
    edited November 2018
    Thanks, yes of course I wouldn't leave the new owner with half a gallon; adjustments are always made at closing, just wanted to get a sense of the mechanics of these gauges. Roths I think are not oval so perhaps gauges more accurate than older tanks, but still I agree 1/4 minimum IF you know oil company will deliver in a day or two of your call.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,953
    Nope. Roths are no more accurate than others. No less accurate, either.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    D107
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,594
    Forget the gauge. Someone needs to stick the tank the day before closing, (or as late as possible) and compare to a Roth tank chart in inches.
    Document it, give it to your attorney, and get reimbursed.
    D107
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,800
    I'm hoping our rapport with the buyers will be good enough to avoid having to stick it. Perhaps if the gauge says 3/8 I'd accept 1/4 and they'd be ok with that. on our Roth the only convenient location to stick it would be the gauge port. I guess that could take 5 minutes, maybe even in buyer's presence. There's so many other things going on with closing I was hoping to simplify this process.
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited February 2019
    Would think most people would just ASSUME gauge IS accurate. Especially 1-st time buyers.

    Might be worrying about small potatoes.Unless you know tank underreads , or want to stick the tank, I'ld just use what gauge says.

    Other costs of selling swamp minor errors in how much oil is left in tank. (Extra work for being more accurate for not much change in dollars.)

    Other issue is don't want to run out of oil, Here in southern NH last week I burned 9 gal/day, 1500 SF, 61 year old house.
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,800
    House closed months ago, and they accepted a photo of the gauge from which I took off a few gallons. Worked out fine. And to be fair I only charged them @ the price I payed for the oil under the contract, not the price it had risen to by the time of the closing. By the time the closing was imminent I had had so many issues with the oil co that I didn't want to pay them to stick the tank and somehow cause an issue--which for a qualified tech would never be a problem but that oil co. used to hit the reset button 10X to purge the oil line on the annual tuneup. One time they did that the suction assembly hose in the tank dropped to the bottom where it remains to this day. I left plenty of oil in the tank for the new owners who are converting to gas.
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    Didn't notice thread was so old.

    I'ld say cost to have tech come out and stick the tank would exceed any savings your likely to gain from finding tank gauge errors. Likely by 2-3X .