New Heating Oil Tank: How Do I Choose?
You probably don’t think about your heating oil tank very often – until it’s time to replace it. When that time comes, one of the factors you’ll need to consider is size, or capacity. So just how big a heating oil storage tank do you need? Let’s take a look.
Current Heating Oil Tank Specs
Before you consider a new heating oil tank, it’s helpful to know the size of the tank you currently own. When it comes to sizing a heating oil tank, two numbers matter:
- How many gallons of oil it will hold (its capacity)
- How big the tank is (measured in height, width and depth).
Capacity is often listed on the tank’s nameplate; you’ll need a tape measure to work out dimensions (be sure to write them down; you’ll need them later).
One thing to keep in mind is that your tank will never be able to hold its nameplate capacity, because space must be left for air or debris in the tank. A typical 275-gallon tank (see below), for example, will only hold about 225 gallons.
Consider the range of sizes available
Aboveground home heating oil tanks usually come in set sizes, the most common of which is 275 gallons. Other common sizes for aboveground tanks include 288, 340, 420, 500, 550, 675, and 1000 gallons (underground tanks can be substantially larger).
Estimate your heating oil use
A somewhat useful rule-of-thumb is that one or two-bedroom homes typically need a 275-gallon heating oil tank, while three- to four-bedroom homes usually need a 300 to 500-gallon tank. This is a little bit of an oversimplification, but it’s a good starting point for a discussion.
Consider the materials and construction of your tank
One of the more important factors to choosing a heating oil tank for your home is the material from which your tank is built. Steel tanks are common, but they can corrode from the inside out, resulting in possible leaks down the road; overall, they can last as little as 15 to 20 years. A more expensive double-walled tank, with a fiberglass interior storage compartment, is virtually leakproof and will last as long as 50 years if properly installed.
Consider other factors
Some other things that you’ll have to consider when it comes time to replace a heating oil tank include:
- Available space: The amount of space available for a tank could limit your options.
- Orientation: Most heating oil tanks come in horizontal or vertical configurations – check to make sure the model you want comes in the orientation you need.
- Lifestyle choices: Do you leave your home empty for two or three months every winter? Do you have elderly people or a newborn in your space who prefer or need warmer temperatures? Do you prefer to “sleep cold”? All these factors will affect how much heating oil you need – and how big a tank you should get.
- Your family plan: As your add people to your household, your energy needs increase. If you have a growing family, keep this in mind when you invest in a heating oil tank, since it will probably serve you for 20 years or more.
Of course there are other considerations to buying a heating oil tank – warrantees and construction materials, for example. That’s why it when it comes time to shop for a heating oil tank in northern NJ, it pays to call the pros at Bolkema Fuels.
Be ready – once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we expect a surge in installations that could back up our technicians for weeks. If you are ready to install a new oil tank, lock in an appointment time with a deposit so you’ll be early on the list.
If you have an emergency and need a new heating oil tank right away, please contact us for an emergency heating oil tank installation in northern NJ.
Please note: At Bolkema Fuel Company, your safety and comfort are always our priority. Please see our Covid-19 Service Update Page to learn more about how we are working to keep our crews and your home cooling and heating systems working through this challenging time.