Posted: October 23, 2019

I Ran Out Of Heating Oil: Should I Restart My Furnace?

out of heating oil new yorkWhen your furnace runs out of oil and you lose your heat, you can’t expect it to start up right after your tank has been refilled. Although you can find countless tutorials on-line about how to restart a furnace after it has run out of heating oil, it’s not necessary to do this when you’re a Bottini Fuel customer.

If you call and tell us you need an emergency delivery because you ran out of oil, we won’t just pump fuel into your tank and then leave. After refilling your tank, we will go inside your home and prime your burner so oil will begin pumping through your fuel lines again. This task includes bleeding the air out of the oil line, as well as clearing the filter, nozzle, and oil pump.

Obviously, the last thing you want is a fuel run-out, especially during the winter. Running out of oil means more than just losing your heat. The lower the fuel level gets, the bigger the risk that any sediment resting at the bottom of your tank will get sucked into the fuel line. This will clog your fuel line and now you’ll be dealing with a repair on top of a run-out.

How to avoid running out of heating oil in the Hudson Valley

Most of our heating oil customers are on an automatic delivery schedule. Our computer system tracks how much fuel your home will typically use based on how cold it is outside. We will deliver fuel automatically to you, usually when your tank gets to be one-quarter full. The result: No more tank watching, a much lower risk of run-outs and no more calling for a delivery. You’ll also avoid the expense and hassle of having your furnace primed for restart.

Heating degree days and your daily burn rate

To estimate the next delivery day for our automatic delivery customers, we record the daily high and low temperatures throughout the year and develop a unique “burn rate,” also known as a k-factor, for each of our customers. This lets us determine how much heating oil you will use each day. Think of it as your home’s miles-per-gallon.

This information gets entered into our delivery software and it’s used to optimize deliveries. With this method, we can avoid excessive fuel deliveries and, most importantly, make sure our customers have a minimal risk of running out of fuel.

How do heating degree days work?

The official start of the heating season arrived on October 1. That means for the next six months, we track heating degree days.

A heating degree day (HDD) is a number that is used to express how much energy is needed to heat a home or building. HDDs get calculated by subtracting the average temperature of a given day from 65º, which is the temperature below which heat is needed; every degree that a day’s average temperature is below 65º is considered one HDD. For example, if the average temperature for a given day is 40 º, its HDD number is 25 (65 – 40 = 25).

Of course, neither heating degree days nor your burn rate can give us a precise measure of how much fuel you’re using; many other factors come into play, including:

Wireless tank monitors for greater accuracy

While automatic delivery is a solid way to lower the risk of running out of oil, it’s not a perfect science, especially if we get hit with extended cold snaps.

To bring you more peace of mind, we can install a device that wirelessly monitors your fuel usage in real time, so we will always know the actual amount of fuel in your tank.

With this precision, Bottini Fuel customers can feel 100% confident they will get exactly the fuel they need, when they need it.

We install wireless tank monitors for oil and propane aboveground tanks. We’ll always know how much fuel is in your tank. You will too—thanks to our user-friendly phone app. We have different types of monitors—cellular and Wi-Fi—available to fit your home’s needs. Contact us for details.