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How to Order Oil From FuelSnap

If you’ve been keeping up to date with our blog posts, you’ve likely heard us recommend ordering from FuelSnap in several of our articles. We recommend this because our website guarantees the best prices when you order heating oil. But, we’ve never actually explained how to order oil. Well, in today’s blog post, I’ll be going over exactly that!

Step 1: Enter your Zip Code

The first thing that you do when you log onto the FuelSnap website is to enter your zip code. This will allow you to see what local dealers are in your area and what prices they are providing to you!

It’s also important to remember that you should enter the zip code of the area you live in. This is because some dealers have a different range of operations than others. So if you were to put in another local zip code that’s not yours, some dealers won’t be able to deliver to you!

By using the zip code for your neighborhood, you can see what dealers are in your area and what they’re offering!

Step 2: Select Your Dealer & Delivery Amount

After typing in your Zip Code you will be brought to another page that shows you your local dealers and their prices. All the dealers that show up on this page, are the dealers in your local area. They are all able to deliver to your area via the zip code that you entered into our FuelSnap page.

On this page, you can select a day of delivery and a price per gallon amount. Some dealers will offer special discounts on oil prices when you order more. For example, if I ordered 200 gallons from one of my local dealers, I could get a few cents per gallon off my order!

An important thing to note about ordering from Fuel Snap is that once you order oil, the price is locked. Meaning that if the price per gallon goes up or down, your order will not be affected. This can be both a good or bad thing depending on if the price increases or decreases.

These are the local dealers for Danbury CT. All of these dealers will be able to deliver heating oil directly to Danbury residents.

Step 3: The Delivery Address & Tank Location

Probably the most important part of placing the order is the address and tank location. Filling out this information is crucial to ensure that you get your oil delivery. The delivery address will also help the dealer to know if they’re delivering to the correct house.

Additionally, make sure to include your email address and phone number as ways for the dealer to contact you. This is so that they can call to confirm with you, as well as to get in contact with you to schedule a tank inspection or to verify possibly incorrect information.

The “Tank Settings” screen will request your address so that the dealers will know where to fill it. The location will also help the dealers understand where they are delivering to.

You can also mark your order with information on whether the tank is indoors or outdoors as well as the tank location at the home. Marking the tank’s location on your order will help the driver know exactly where to go so that they can start filling.

Final Step: Place Your Order

The last thing that you have to do to order oil, is to fill out the information on the checkout screen. Here, you can verify the amount of gallons that you want to put in the tank, the delivery date, the delivery address, and how you’ll pay.

On this screen, you will get a few possible alerts. An important one to note is that some dealers require a tank inspection. This normally consists of checking to make sure that the whistle works and make sure that there is no risk of a leak. Usually, it’s the delivery drive that does this. But once you get an inspection, you won’t have to get another one!

This is what the checkout screen looks like. Here, you will have to verify varying details about the delivery location. Such as what the address is, how many gallons you’re getting, and what payment method you’re using.

When you are ready to finalize your order, simply drag that slider to submit the order. You’ll then get an order confirmation email from both FuelSnap and the dealer. It will include everything that you need to know about the order. This also includes the dealer’s contact number, just in case you need to get in touch with the dealer!

Conclusion

Ordering from FuelSnap is simple and easy! All you have to do is follow the steps above and you’ll be able to order oil with no problem! Just make sure that all of the credentials that you are putting in are correct and ensure that you’re ordering the correct desired amount for your tanks.

You are also always more than welcome to give us a call and we’ll be happy to place an order with you over the phone! We can be reached at 203-456-1499 option 3, Monday through Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm EST.

Happy Heating,

Hunter

What are the Different Types of Heating Systems?

There are a variety of ways to heat your home. From electric heating to furnaces, there are a lot of different ways to heat your home! Some of the most popular heating systems consist of boilers and furnaces. But some electric heating systems have been growing in popularity recently. In today’s blog post, we will be covering the most popular forms of heating systems and how they work!

Boilers

This is one of the most common forms of home heating in the United States, only matched by a furnace. They are known as a form of Hydronic Heat. This is defined as the use of liquid or gaseous water for heating.

Boilers work by heating water and providing either steam or hot water for heating. The hot water and/or steam is then transported around the house and is often released via steam or baseboard radiators.

There are two types of boilers. There are hot water boilers and steam boilers. Steam boilers will tend to run at a higher temperature compared to hot water boilers. However, they are less efficient than your standard hot water boiler.

Similar to furnaces, boilers are designed with a particular type of fuel in mind. For example, there are specific types of burners for heating oil, propane, and natural gas. However, compared to propane and heating oil furnaces, natural gas furnaces tend to be significantly more expensive.

This is often what a boiler system will look like. You will often see these in homes that use hot water as a form of heat. Baseboard heaters are often found in homes with these systems.

Furnaces

Like a boiler system, furnace systems are amongst the most popular heating systems in the united states. However, unlike boilers, furnaces heat air and distribute it around the house using air ducts.

Because furnaces heat the air, they will often have a flue pipe that pushes the hot air through your home’s chimney. This flue pipe should be cleaned during your yearly maintenance. This is because soot can often get stuck in the flue pipe which can be hazardous for not only your furnace but for your home as well.

Furnaces operate by the use of simple convection currents. The air simply passes through the house using ducts that are placed in various rooms in the house. Additionally, there are return ducts that bring cold air back to the furnace to go through the process again.

In the above photo, you will see an old furnace on the left and a new furnace on the right. Replacing these furnaces when needed is vital for your system to be working in tip-top shape.

Heat Pump

Heat Pumps are a type of heating unit that’s located outside. Unlike boilers and furnaces, it doesn’t require fuel to produce the necessary heat it needs to warm the home. Instead, it extracts the heat from outside and pushes it into your home. This is kind of similar to air conditioning except the exact opposite.

The neat thing about using a heat pump is that in the warm spring and summer months, you can use it for air conditioning. When it is used as an air conditioner, it can extract the cold air from outside and use it to keep the house cool during the hot summer.

These heating systems will often have various designs similar to heating oil tanks. But you will often see these types of heating systems in two distinct styles. Heat pumps can be found in both Air-Source and Ground-Source styles. Air-source heat pumps are often found sitting above ground as a singular unit. However, Ground-Source heat pumps use a whole network of pipes underground that take the hot air from beneath the ground.

This is an example of what a ground source heat pump looks like. It’s a large array of wiring that connects to your home from under your yard. It takes the hot air from outside and spreads it throughout your home.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating is a form of heating system where there is a network of pipes that is put into the flooring of the house when it’s being built. This form of heating is not easily included in a preexisting home without ripping the floors apart to implement it.

Radiant heating will transmit heat from beneath the floors and in the walls using electricity. This also means that you can “zone” where the heat is being distributed into the house. This means that if no one is in a specific room in your home, you can turn off the radiant heating in that room to not waste heat and electricity.

Heating with radiant heat is a fantastic way to heat your home. However, maintenance for this form of heating tends to be a bit frustrating. Servicing a radiant heat system is incredibly difficult. The system’s innate complexity makes it very difficult to service them. You will need a technician who is qualified for this type of work to be able to service one of these systems if needed.

This is an example of what radiant heating looks like. As you can see, it is a complex network of wires that can be a little difficult to service without tearing up the floors.

Solar Heating

This is a form of heating that is being seen more commonly nowadays. The solar panels will heat a liquid and will then transfer that directly into an interior space where it is stored for later. The neat thing about solar heating is that if the solar panels can’t produce enough heat to store, then a backup system will come on and provide additional heat that the panels couldn’t produce.

This type of heat can use a variety of different methods to distribute the heat throughout the home. You can use radiant flooring, radiators, forced air, or hot water baseboards to transport heat throughout the home! What you use is completely based upon what your current or previous system was if you choose to use this form of heating in conjunction with your current one, or just use this as your main heat source.

Maintaining solar heating can vary depending on quite a few variables. The site, design of the system, and overall installation can be crucial components for how the system is maintained. This is because different systems will require different ways to maintain and service them when needed. The system has to be properly maintained to be able to avoid breaking down and to ensure that the solar panels are working as intended.

What System Should You Use?

Which heating system that you end up using is completely up to you! However, in terms of reliability and maintenance, boiler and furnace systems are the clear winners. These are the systems that HVAC technicians will have more knowledge of. Both when it comes to servicing them and how they work.

However, that doesn’t mean that radiant heating, heat pumps, and solar heating are necessarily bad to use either. They’re all fantastic ways to heat your home. However, they all tend to be expensive to implement and maintain due to their complexity. Regardless of their complexities, they are still fantastic systems to use as a main source of heating.

Happy Heating,

Hunter

Why your Heating System’s Maintenance is so Important

Heating Oil is still in full swing and as we continue to go through heating oil season, it’s important to ensure that your heating system is working properly. Your heating oil system is a key player in keeping your home warm during the winter. Although with rising prices in oil filling your tank might not be in your budget at the moment. System maintenance is very important for your home heating.

If you’re this late into heating oil season, then I’m sure that you’ve got a system tune-up by now. This is something that should be done annually to ensure that your heating system is in prime condition to heat your home.

System Maintenance Advice

It’s important that before you schedule your tune-up, you change your air filters. If you have an oil furnace you must replace these filters at least once every year. Pet owners should especially clean these out often as pet hair and dust can clog these filters making it very hard for air to properly flow through your system. If you need help replacing your air filters, we have a brief guide on how to replace them in this post.

This is a prime example of why changing out these air filters is so important. The left filter has dust, dander, and other allergens mixed into the filter. You can probably imagine how hard it is for air to cleanly pass through these filters. However, the filter on the left is a brand-new filter that is ready to be installed.

What is in a Heating System Tune Up and What is it?

A heating oil tune-up is when the heating oil system is being looked at by an HVAC technician. They are mostly looking to repair anything in your system that might be a possible issue in the future or anything that needs a replacement.

HVAC technicians will often look at major areas of your heating system. He will also replace anything that needs to a replaced during the tune-up. Some examples of these include:

  • The Supply Line: The first place that your HVAC technician will check is your supply line. This is to ensure that there is oil traveling through it from the tank. They will also check to make sure that there is no sludge in the feed lines.
  • The Filter and Strainer: The filter and strainer are important parts of your heating system. They can also be some of the dirtiest. The filter will often fill up with oil and it will need a replacement. The filter will normally always get a replacement during a tune-up, simply due to how disgusting it can get. If the filter fails or becomes too dirty, the strainer will usually act as a secondary filter. Anything that the filter doesn’t catch, the strainer will.
  • The Nozzle: There is a nozzle in your burner that is part of the conversion process. Before the oil can be converted into heat, it must be automatized by the nozzle. This is a common part of your burner that often gets a replacement. Some electrodes are connected to the nozzle that will ignite the automatized fuel into heat. These electrodes will also often receive replacements if needed.

Additionally, while those are the main parts of the furnace that will often see replacements, a standard tune-up will often cover the following:

  • Checking the Belts
  • Checking the CAD cell eye, the electrodes and the fan controls
  • Changing out the filters
  • Checking and Cleaning the fuel pump’s strainer
  • Checking the the heat exchanger and performing a combustion efficiency test
  • Replacing the burner’s nozzle
  • Replacing the oil filter
  • Performing a vacuum test on the oil line
  • Inspecting the oil tank, oil fitting and oil safety valve
  • Clean and check the flue pipe
  • Test the pump’s pressure, solenoid valve, and stack relay
  • Check the thermostat
During the system’s tune-up, the technician will usually remove the access panel to access the burner. As shown in the above photo, you’ll see that the combustion panel is located behind the black panel.

The Importance of Annual Heating System Maintenance

Annual Heating maintenance is very important to ensure your system is working properly. The HVAC technician must remove the flue pipe. The reasoning for this is because of immense soot build-up. This can not only back up the system and harm its efficiency, but it can be very hazardous.

This is an example of what happens when there is a large build-up of soot. The flue pipe can get filled with it and will usually have to be cleaned out with a shop vacuum. But after cleaning this out, the furnace will run more efficiently. Keeping on top of your heating system will help the system run properly and not become overfilled with soot.

Your Annual HVAC Maintenance

Regardless of whether you decide to opt for a service contract or not, getting a tune-up at least once a year is super important. But when you do this, make sure that you hire a trusted, licensed, and ensured HVAC contractor. There are a lot of HVAC technicians that aren’t qualified for this type of work. Do ample research before you go for a cheap price!

While you’re at it, you should make sure that you top off your oil tank to make sure that you have a full tank! You can order heating oil online by using our FuelSnap website. Make sure that you fill up around a quarter of a tank to prevent running out!

Happy Heating,

Hunter

How Long Will a Tank Of Oil Last During the Winter?

It’s February! This means that it’s peak heating oil season! When you order your next delivery of oil, you might be wondering how much a full tank will last you during the winter months. A tank of heating oil will normally last you a couple of weeks. However, that is more of an average. In this post, we’ll cover this question a little bit more in-depth.

The Size of Your Heating Oil Tank

The biggest factor in how long your smart oil gauge will last is the tank’s size. The two most common forms of heating oil tanks are 275-gallon tanks. These tanks have a maximum capacity of 275 gallons. However, the tank will never be filled up to the max. The dealers will usually fill up the tank and leave about 5 or 6 inches of oil on the top. This is to prevent the risk of leaking and overflow. So the true capacity of the tank is around 250 gallons. The second most common size oil tank is a 330-gallon tank. The true capacity of these tanks tends to be around 300 gallons.

It’s also fairly common to have “dual tanks”. These are when you have two tanks (normally either 275 or 330-gallon tanks) connected. They are connected via their feed lines and a crossover pipe on the top and bottom of the tank. This will normally give the homeowner a larger tank capacity. With this increased tank capacity, you won’t have to order heating oil as often.

Homes that have underground tanks usually will have a capacity of 550 gallons. Sometimes even going up to 1000 or 2000 gallons! These tanks are less common because over time they can become an environmental hazard. Due to this, they are often being replaced with newer tanks.

A 275-gallon tank will hold up to 250 gallons of heating oil and is usually the most common size for heating oil tanks. The 275 above measures around 5ft long. 330-gallon tanks are the second most common tank in the United States. The length of a 330-gallon tank will normally measure around 6ft long.

The Size of Your Home Impacts Heating Oil Usage

After determining the size of your tank, you will need to know how much oil your home needs daily. Some of the factors that impact you much heating oil you’ll use daily include:

  • The Size of Your Home. This is important to know because it will greatly affect how many gallons are being used daily. For example, a 1500 square foot home may use an average of 500 gallons per year, while a 3500 square foot home could use up to 1500 gallons per year!
  • Your Home’s Energy Efficiency. A home that is 2500 square feet and well insulated may only use a minimum of 600 gallons per year! Meanwhile, a home of the same size that is poorly insulated, might use at least 1200 gallons per year.
  • Your Heating System’s Age. A heating system that has been well maintained will usually last a lot longer than one that hasn’t been properly maintained. Some of these well-maintained systems can last upwards of 30 years or more! While this is great, technology tends to make these types of systems more efficient over time. They are usually upgraded into newly designed oil-fire furnaces to reduce the heating oil cost by up to 30% or more!
  • Interior and Exterior Temperature. Turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees is a good way to decrease your heating oil usage. But an even bigger factor is the exterior temperature. On a day when it’s 10 degrees out, the average home may end up using an average of 8-12 gallons of heating oil just to keep the home warm. On a day where it’s only 30 degrees out, you’ll likely only burn around 5-7 gallons of heating oil on that day.

Daily Heating Oil Usage

Once you have the size of your home, you can use the below table to figure out how much heating oil you’ll use per day on average. This will provide you with a rough estimate of how long a full tank of heating oil will last.

But keep in mind, that you don’t want to ever let your tank go empty! Always make sure to order at a quarter to ensure that you don’t run out of heating oil.

A home that’s 2500 square feet will use approximately 4-6 gallons a day during a 30-degree winter day.

How Long Will a Tank of Heating Oil Last?

The final factor that you should keep in mind to figure out how long your tank of heating oil will last is: the time you place your order. Similar to a car, it’s important to be aware that you should never let your tank run empty. This will not only shut down your burner, but it can also cause sludge to become sucked into the feed lines, which will ultimately clog up your system.

Due to this, it’s highly recommended that you order heating oil when you only have 1/4 left in your tank. We often say “reorder at a quarter” because you must do so.

“Reorder at a quarter” is a good rule to go by for when you should order heating oil. Your heating tank gauge will only provide you with an approximate reading. They will never be 100% accurate, so you must stay on top of how many gallons are actually in the tank. Because a 275-gallon tank will only hold 250 gallons at most, you should always reorder at 1/4 of the tank’s capacity (68 gallons).

The approximate reading on the 1/4 gallon mark on the tank gauge is 68 gallons. Because a 275-gallon tank will only hold 250 gallons when it’s full, that usually means that you have 182 gallons of usable heating oil before it’s time for you to order oil. Using the graph above, you can calculate your average usage of heating oil based on the recent temperatures outside. Example:

  • The Size of Your Home: 2500 Square feet
  • The Average Outside Temperature Since Last Fall: 30 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Average Daily Gallons at 30 Degrees Fahrenheit: 5.2 gallons per day
  • The Size of Your Tank: 275 Gallons (Will hold 250)
  • The Point to Reorder: 1/4 tank or 68 gallons
  • Usable Gallon In-between Fills: 182 Gallons (250-68 = 182 Gallons)
  • Average Number of Days Between Fills: 182 gallons / 5.2 gallons/day =35 days

With the average exterior temperature being 30 degrees Fahrenheit, a standard 275-gallon oil tank that heats a standard 2500-square-foot home will usually last an average of 35 days in between fills.

When To Check if you Need Heating Oil and When to Order

When you wake up in the morning during the cold winter months, the last thing you want is a cold house. Most of the time when this happens, it means that you’ve run out of heating oil. If you run out of heating oil, follow our step-by-step guide on what to do in this scenario.

Usually when you have an old-fashioned float gauge in your tank, we recommend checking your level at least once every two weeks. Especially during the winter months. You can set a reminder on your phone every week or so to check your oil tank. Doing this will give you another line of defense to prevent you from running out.

Another great thing that you can do for your tank is install a Smart Oil Gauge. Doing this will let you check your oil level wherever you are from your smartphone. You can program text and email alerts for when your tank gets low and you won’t have to worry about running out of heating oil again!

But, if you’re new to heating oil and are curious about how much heating oil your home might use, refer to this table below for your expected use during the winter.

This chart approximates the amount of gallons a tank of heating oil will cost in CT. Your home’s energy efficiency and outdoor temperature might skew your results slightly on either side of the range depending on the winter season.

Check Oil Prices Near You and Order Online

Usually, when your heating oil tank is down to 1/4 full, it’s time that you order heating oil. You can check your local heating oil prices on our FuelSnap website. This will let you price compare against other local dealers so that you get the lowest price available to you!

You can choose exactly how many gallons you want so you can avoid getting a surprise amount. Finally, be sure to check your tank every week or so to ensure that you don’t run out of heating!

Happy Heating,

Hunter

The Differences Between the Smart Oil Gauge and the Duo

The newest addition to the family of Smart Oil Gauge devices is the Smart Oil Gauge Duo, and it is increasing in popularity. With the inclusion of the Duo, we have made a lot of changes to the device. If you have used both models of gauges, you can see some of them right off the bat after taking the cap off. But today, I’ll be covering all of the noteworthy differences between these two devices.

Different Cap Designs

One of the things that you’ll immediately notice is that the caps on both devices are vastly different. The original Smart Oil Gauge has a white cap installed onto the top of the gauge. However, the Duo has a gray cap that comes apart in two pieces. The top piece of the Duo cap sits directly onto the top of the Duo and the other part of the cap can be screwed on. While the standard gauge only has that white cap that screws onto the top of the gauge.

Now, these caps might just seem to be just simple caps. However, these caps are much more different than you would think. The regular gauge’s white cap doesn’t provide a complete seal to protect the interior of the device. Which isn’t an issue on indoor tanks. However, on outdoor tanks, it can cause moisture to fill up the interior of the gauge. That’s why we typically recommend wrapping some Teflon tape around the top threads of the gauge.

But with the Duo, that is no longer necessary. We designed this cap to be able to provide a seal to protect the interior of the device, which is why the cap comes in two pieces. The top piece sits directly onto the top of the gauge and the second piece of the cap will screw down onto the top threads protecting the top cap’s seal.

Indoor and Outdoor Usage

Another major difference between the gauges is the usage of indoor and outdoor tanks. The standard Smart Oil Gauge has an Indoor model and an Indoor/Outdoor unit. The indoor/outdoor model is more suitable for outdoor use but can be used on indoor tanks as well. The indoor-only model is strictly only for indoor usage.

Meanwhile, the Duo has only one model, that can be used on both indoor and outdoor tanks! We recently had a beta testing program that allowed some of our users to test the Duo on their outdoor heating oil tanks! We had done some significant testing on our end to ensure that the gauge would be able to work on outdoor tanks. However, nothing would prove to be more valuable than data in the field. Now after our successful beta testing program, we can safely say that the Duo can be used on outdoor tanks!

No Blind Spot

While I mentioned this in our previous Smart Oil Gauge Duo blog post, it is still important to know that the Duo has no blind spot. When you get a delivery of heating oil, there is usually only a few inches of headroom in the tank that is usually left open for air. With the original gauge, it wouldn’t be able to pick up the top 8″ of the tank very well. This is because the gauge’s signal would bounce around a lot at the top of the tank. The amount of gallons that the gauge would show on your app would vary depending on your tank size. But ultimately the gauge would read less oil than what you had in the tank. If you are interested in learning more about the blind spot, we have an in-depth article here regarding it.

This is what the blind spot on the standard Smart Oil Gauge looks like. You will see that the gauge is able to clear the blind spot once the oil level in the tank has cleared the top 8″ of the tank.

However, with the Smart Oil Gauge Duo, we’ve completely gotten rid of the blind spot. The Duo has an operating distance of 0″-72″ inches, which means it’s able to pick up oil within the top 8″ of the tank that the original Smart Oil Gauge isn’t able to pick up. This makes the Duo more accurate in the long run because it has a wider operating range.

Adapter & Tank Compatibility

While the standard Smart Oil Gauge has three separate adapter types that it’s compatible with, the Duo only has two adapters that it’s compatible with. The standard Smart Oil Gauge has an adapter for 1.25″ NPT tank fittings, 1.5″ NPT fittings, and Roth tanks. Meanwhile, the Smart Oil Gauge Duo only has adapters for 1.5″ NPT fittings and Roth Tanks. This is because the Duo gauge cannot fit in the 1.25″ NPT fitting adapter.

However, despite their differences the Duo and standard Smart Oil Gauge both have relatively the same tank compatibility. They are both incompatible with Roth 1500L tanks while being compatible with other Roth tanks. But unfortunately, the Duo is not compatible with tanks that have a 1.25″ NPT fitting. This is because as mentioned previously, the Duo cannot fit in the 1.25″ NPT fitting adapter.

Different Interiors

One of the most useful parts about the duo compared to the standard Smart Oil Gauge is the ability to take out the interior of the gauge and take it with you inside to troubleshoot. For example, say you have a change to your WIFI network and you need to update the credentials on the app. With the Duo, you can take the interiors of the gauge out and take them inside your warm house to troubleshoot! This makes troubleshooting the Duo much easier than troubleshooting the standard Smart Oil Gauge.

In the above photo, you’ll see that the two different models of smart oil gauges have different interiors. The Duo on top will allow you to take out the interiors and bring them inside to troubleshoot. Meanwhile, with the standard gauge, the boards are seated into each other.

However, unfortunately, with the standard Smart Oil Gauge, the boards are connected. This makes it very difficult to take the interior parts out of the standard gauge. Taking the interior parts out of the gauge will only cause the boards to disconnect which can make reconnecting the boards a little more difficult.

Operating Ranges

We mentioned this briefly in our Smart Oil Gauge Duo introduction post, but the Duo and Smart Oil gauge have two different operating ranges. The standard Smart Oil Gauge has an operating range of 8″-72″. This is because the standard gauge only has one sensor on the bottom. When there is oil within the top 8″ of the tank, the signal that the gauge sends tends to bounce around the top of the tank a lot. Which will cause the gauge to read less oil than what’s actually in the tank when you get a fill. This is the Smart Oil Gauge’s blind spot. Due to this blind spot, the standard gauge cannot pick up those top 8″ of the tank because there is not enough room to send the signal.

As shown in the above graph, the gauges have two different operating ranges. The Duo has a 0″-72″ operating range because it is a dual-ultrasonic sensor. While the standard Smart Oil Gauge has only one ultra sonic sensor.

However, the Smart Oil Gauge Duo has a dual-ultrasonic sensor that both takes readings and sends them. This gives the Duo an effective operating range of 0″-72″. This means it can take a reading within the top 8″ of the tank even after you get a fill! This ensures that you’ll be able to know how many gallons of oil you have in your tank after your fill!

Should You Buy a Standard Smart Oil Gauge or a Duo?

Now this begs the question, which gauge should you buy? Well, this also depends on your tank setup. If you have a tank that has a 1.25″ NPT fitting, then you’ll need to buy a standard Smart Oil Gauge because the Duo isn’t compatible with the 1.25″ NPT fitting adapter.

However, if you are willing to deal with the blind spot then the standard Smart Oil Gauge is perfect for you! While it’s not as accurate as the Smart Oil Gauge Duo, it is very accurate within the 8″-72″ inch operating range that it has.

But, if you’re the type of person who likes knowing what your tank level is at all times, then I would recommend purchasing the Smart Oil Gauge Duo!

Happy Heating,

Hunter

How Accurate is The Smart Oil Gauge?

If you have a heating oil tank, you’ll want to know what the exact level is every once and a while. The Smart Oil Gauge will give you the tank’s readings right onto the gauge’s app on your phone. The sensor uses an ultrasonic sensor to measure how many gallons of oil are in the tank. By now you’re probably wondering, exactly how accurate is the gauge? In this post, we’ll break that down for you just to see how accurate it is!

What Exactly is the Smart Oil Gauge?

The Smart Oil Gauge is a type of WIFI heating tank gauge. It uses an ultrasonic sensor to take readings of the tank’s level. It will then report those readings and store them until it’s scheduled to upload. However, the device relies on WIFI to be able to send the readings up to the cloud. The homeowner will then be able to keep track of the oil level no matter where they are in the world!

The Smart Oil Gauge can thread into the top of your tank and will use an ultrasonic sensor to take readings of the oil level and transmit that data to the app on your phone.

The Smart Oil Gauge’s Blind Spot

An important factor of the smart oil gauge is the gauge’s blind spot. This is important to know because this will tend to happen when the tank receives a fill. The gauge, unfortunately, cannot see the top 8″ of the tank super accurately. This is because the signal that the gauge sends when the oil is within those top 8″ tends to bounce around a lot.

You will often see this when the tank gets a fill. If the amount of oil that you get goes into the top 8″ of the tank, you will see that the gauge won’t pick up any oil past a certain point and varies on each tank. For example, on 275-gallon vertical tanks, the blind spot would show up as 235 gallons on the app. It will take time for oil to clear the blind spot, but you will see a slow decline in oil level with a sudden spike back up once the gauge clears the blind spot. If you want a more in-depth explanation of the blind spot, we go more in-depth about it in our Smart Oil Gauge 101 blog post, and we have an in-depth write-up about it here.

How Accurate is the Smart Oil Gauge?

The lower the oil level in the tank, the more accurate the gauge is. The only limitation that the sensor has is the 8″ blind spot on the top of the tank. As mentioned previously, the sensor isn’t able to accurately pick up the oil level within those top 8″. This is when the oil is too close to the sensor which causes the signal to bounce around a lot at the top of the tank.

The Smart Oil Gauge’s sensor is similar to your car’s backup sensor. It sends out an ultrasonic wave that records the time it takes for the pulse to come back to the sensor. The Smart Oil Gauge has an operating range of 8 inches to 72 inches, which equates to six feet. The gauge will be able to accurately pick up anything within these six feet.

Tank Geometry Will Affect the Gauge’s Accuracy

The Smart Oil Gauge is best used on vertical and horizontal tanks. It’s also important to know that if your gauge is configured for the wrong tank, the readings will be inaccurate. So your tank dimensions must be correct. In the below photos, we’ve gathered up the statistics for the most popular tanks that we see the gauge being used on:

275 Vertical Tank

275 Horizontal

330 Vertical

330 Horizontal

Roth 1000L

Smart Oil Gauge Adapters

Making sure if your gauge needs an adapter or not is very important. Some tank fittings are not going to be big enough or too big for the Smart Oil Gauge. That’s where the adapters come in. For Roth tanks, the adapters are required for installation. Without the Roth adapter, the gauge will not read accurately and will always read full.

This sizing chart will tell you what the requirements for each adapter and if they’ll fit on your tank or not.

Fittings that are too big or small for the gauge will need adapters as well. Using the above chart will help you understand what kind of adapter you’ll need for your smart oil gauge if your fitting is too big or small. You will need one of these adapters on your tank if your gauge doesn’t fit.

Post-Fill Readings

Making sure to keep your tank’s level within the gauge’s operating range is important. This is so that you get the most reliable readings possible from the Smart Oil Gauge. Some readings can vary from tank to tank depending on your tank orientation. Tank dimensions are always different, so it’s important to know what your tank dimensions are so that you know the readings you are getting are accurate.

Whenever you get your tank “topped off” the tank will most likely be within the gauge’s blind spot. When the oil is within the blind spot, it is out of the sensor’s operating range. Usually, when this happens, you can give the gauge a couple of weeks to clear this blind spot. Sometimes in the winter, it can take a couple of days to clear, while during the summer it can take a couple of weeks.

Happy Heating,

Hunter

Installing a Smart Oil Gauge on a Tank With Three Openings

One of the best things that you can do for your oil tank is install a Smart Oil Gauge. It will alert you when your tank is running low on oil and when you need to buy some! Buying the gauge will also give you the freedom to buy oil whenever you need it. This will ultimately save you hundreds of dollars a year that would normally be spent on automatic delivery. The gauge will also show you how much oil you are using per day, week, month, and year. This will better help you conserve your heating oil.

With all that said, when you go to install your smart oil gauge on your tank, you’ll notice that you don’t have a spare fitting. While very uncommon for this to happen, you’re not entirely out of luck just yet. In this blog post, we’ll cover what to do if you don’t have an extra fitting to plug your gauge into.

Overview of a Heating Oil Tank

Typically, most heating oil tanks have 4 openings on the top:

  1. The opening for the fill pipe. The driver will pump oil into your tank from this opening.
  2. The opening for the vent pipe. This is where air will enter and leave the tank when you fill it up. Sometimes this pipe will include a float gauge alongside it.
  3. The opening for your float gauge.
  4. An extra opening. You can use these extra openings to install additional gauges or equipment. Second tanks will also sometimes be connected to the main tank using these fittings. Tanks that are top-fed will also usually be set up using one of these fittings. That usually means that instead of oil coming out of the tank from the bottom, it’s drawn from the top. That is commonly found in outdoor tanks or tanks that are hard to access.
A majority of heating oil tanks have 4 openings: 1) The Fill Pipe, 2) The Vent Pipe, 3) The Float Gauge, and 4) an Extra Opening (that is usually the most ideal location for a Smart Oil Gauge). In the above tank, the oil is drawn out from the oil burner on the bottom right of the tank and not from one of the fittings on the top.

Where Should You Install the Smart Oil Gauge if you only have Three Fittings?

If your tank only has three openings, you’ll have two options on what to do. Whichever way you decide to go will be different depending on your tank.

Orientation #1: Fill Pipe / Vent Pipe / Float Gauge

If your openings are as follows: Fill Pipe > Vent Pipe > Float Gauge, then you’ll most likely have to remove the float gauge on your tank. However, removing said float gauge can be a little bit annoying. You can’t simply just unscrew the float gauge because its arm will crash into the interior of the tank. We go over replacing your tank gauge in depth in this blog post here. You can use that as a guide to remove your float gauge.

Removing your tank’s float gauge can be a little tricky. But by following our step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to replace it with no problem!
Pulling the disk up out of the tank will raise the gauge’s arm up and out of the way to make it easier to unscrew and remove the gauge from the tank.

Orientation 2: Fill Pipe / Vent & Float Gauge Combo / Top Feed Oil Lines

It’s more common for oil tanks to have their feed lines on the bottom of the tank rather than the top of it. However, oil feed lines can sometimes be located on the top of the tank. With Roth double-wall tanks, the feed lines are always on the top of the tank. However, for some Granby steel tanks, you can find them located on the top. One important note to keep in mind for these setups is that your tank will never be truly empty. This might sound odd, but this is because when the feed lines are at the top of the tank, they can’t reach the bottom of the tank completely. This normally leaves a little bit of oil on the bottom of the tank. Think of it like a straw that can’t reach the bottom of a large cup.

If your feed lines are on the top of the tank and you wish to have them moved to the bottom of the tank, then you MUST have a technician come out and move the location of the lines for you. This is NOT something that the average homeowner is capable of doing. The technician must first create a vacuum inside the tank to remove the tank’s plug without all of the oil spilling out. They must also be able to ensure that there is not a large buildup of sludge on the inside of the tank. This is often the last resort for your oil tank, but it can open up an extra fitting on your tank allowing for the installation of the Smart Oil Gauge.

Oil tanks that are top-fed will normally have the feed lines look like this. There are more often than two feed lines on these tanks. One of which will be going directly to the oil burner, while the second one is the return line, coming back from the burner. Very few systems will have a return line.

What’s the Bottom Line When Your Tank Only has Three Fittings?

The Smart Oil Gauge is a fantastic tool to have for monitoring your heating oil levels and usage. A lot of folks will tend to go to some great lengths to install one onto their tank. Luckily, you can remove the float gauge from your tank fairly easily. We have a guide on how to do so right here.

But, if you need to relocate your feed lines, we recommend that you contact a local HVAC technician to do so. Waiting until they’re at your home for a major reason to ask them is a smart idea. That way, you don’t have to request a consultation every time that you have a question. They will be able to tell you if they can move the feed lines to the bottom of your tank.

If you’ve decided to take off your float gauge from your tank, you’ll then need to see how the gauge is installed. Follow the steps in our steel tank installation tutorial to get the gauge installed onto the tank!

Happy Heating,

Hunter

What’s a Furnace Tune-Up?

Heating system maintenance is very important for keeping your system in tip-top shape. Annual maintenance is a great thing to do and it is not something you should forget about. But you’re likely wondering what a Furnace tune-up is. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing what it is and what to expect from it.

HVAC technicians come equipped with everything they need to get your system up and running and ensuring that your system is working correctly.

Types of HVAC Systems

Furnace Systems

There are several types of HVAC systems and each one determines how it receives a tune-up. Furnaces are the most common form of heating systems and often the most serviced. How a furnace works is pretty simple, it blows hot air through a duct in the house that will often transfer heat throughout the home.

Forced Hot Air

Another form of heating system uses “Forced Hot Air”. These systems will often work together with a compressor and cooling coils. They will provide heat during the cold winter months, but also provide cold air in the hot summer months.

Boilers

Many homes nowadays will often use boilers to transport hot water throughout your home which will come out through baseboards in your home. The hot water will then come out through the baseboard radiators in your home. While the tune-up process is similar for both boilers and furnaces, boilers do not have air filters like a furnace does.

This is what an oil-fired furnace will often look like. They are used to send heat throughout your home and keep it warm.
Air ducts are often used to transfer both heat and cold air throughout your home depending on the time of year. They do this to both heat and cool the home.
If your home has baseboard heating, they will often look like this. This also means that your home will usually use a boiler to heat your home and transfer hot water throughout the home.

The Steps of a Tune-Up

The process of a heating system tune-up is similar to servicing your car. Like checking the fluid levels and filters on your car, an HVAC technician will do this for your furnace. The technician will often inspect, clean, and replace the following items if needed.

Checking Your Oil Supply Line: Your HVAC technician will check for incoming oil from your heating oil tank. They will usually disconnect the line to ensure that the burner is getting good oil flow from the tank. Sometimes there is some resistance in the line. This is usually due to a build-up of sludge. Usually, if this is the case, the line will need cleaning by pressurizing it from one end to the other. Alternatively, you can drain the other end of the line by hard-pumping the oil out of it.

The HVAC technician will normally disconnect the supply line from the filter to ensure that enough flow and oil are reaching the tank. If there’s a build-up of sludge, the technician will carefully and slowly use some pressure or a bit of suction to remove sludge from the line.

Changing the Oil Filter/Cleaning or Replacing the Strainer: The oil filter in your tank can get quite disgusting over time. In this instance, the technician will take out and replace the filter. He will also inspect, clean, and replace the system’s strainer if it needs it. The strainer will usually act as a second filter inside the system. It will catch anything that makes it past the oil filter.

This image shows how important it is to regularly change your oil filter. Over time, the filter can build up an incredible amount of sludge. To prevent the system from getting overfilled with sludge, it’s a good idea to clean it out every so often.
This is the strainer for your standard heating oil system. It will catch anything that the filter will not be able to catch. The strainer will also need to be replaced as needed.

Inspect, Replace, or Adjust the Components of the Burner: Before the combustion process, heating oil must go through a nozzle to become automatized. However, the nozzle can clog and wear out over time. But, the technician can replace it during the tune-up. After he replaces the nozzle, the HVAC technician will use a special template to match up the tips of the nozzle with the tips of the electrodes, as shown in the below photograph. The electrodes will then ignite the automatized fuel. If these electrodes show any wear and tear, the technician will promptly replace them. Finally, the technician will do a visual inspection of the system’s combustion chamber to ensure everything is working smoothly.

During the tune-up process, the technician will replace the nozzle and adjust the electrode as shown above. If the electrodes are too worn out to line up with their template, then the technician will need to replace them.

Check and Clean the Heat Exchanger. The cool air in your house will pass through the heat exchanger before going through a conversion process. That process turns it into hot air. Over time older furnaces will tend to fail, and this is often because of cracks in the heat exchanger. These cracks allow the burner’s exhaust to mix in with the clean air that is making its way into your home. Before they become a problem, the HVAC technician will be sure to take a careful look to find these issues and fix them.

This is a close-up view of the heat exchanger and shows what the technician will need to examine for any possible damage.

Perform a Combustion Analysis: There’s a special tool that the technician will use to measure the efficiency of your system. He’ll use it to perform a pump test that’ll help check the color of smoke to ensure that it’s adequate. Finally, the analyzer will check both the temperature and CO2 content. It will then use that information to effectively calculate the system’s efficiency.

The technician will use this analyzer to measure the CO2 content and temperature of your exhaust gases.

Change The Air Filters: The easiest part of your heating system tune-up is changing out your air filters. You can do this once per year yourself. However, it’s not a problem if you wait for your HVAC technician to replace them during your annual tune-up. Replacing the filters doesn’t require you to use any tools and they are very easy to replace! We go over how to replace them in this post here.

The Peace of Mind of a Furnace Tune-Up

As we continue to make our way through the cold months of the year, it’s good to be confident in your heating system to keep you nice and warm through this time of the year.

Having annual preventative maintenance on your HVAC system will ensure that your system is still running as efficiently as possible. Like changing the oil on your car, changing your system’s oil filter and worn-out items on your furnace should be done regularly. Just be sure to hire a qualified, licensed, experienced, and insured technician to do this for you.

Happy Heating,

Hunter

How to Read Your Heating Oil Tank Gauge

In a home that uses oil heat, it’s important to know when you’re running low on oil so that you can order. Even if you pay the premium pricing for automatic delivery, you should still check to see how many gallons of heating oil are in your tank. To keep track of this, your tank should come with a tank gauge of some sort. Regardless if it’s the Smart Oil Gauge or a standard float gauge, we’ll help you understand how to read your gauge to ensure that you’re on top of how much heating oil you have in your tank.

How to Read a Float Gauge

Most fuel tanks will often come with a traditional float gauge. This float gauge comes equipped with a metal arm that has a bobber on the end. These bobbers are usually made of cork, but recently plastic ones have been growing in popularity. On the top of this gauge, in particular, you will see a plastic cylinder and disc combination. The little disc moves up and down depending on where the bobber sits in the tank. The plastic cylinder has markings on it that will give you an estimated reading based on where the disc sits in the cylinder.

This is what the interior components of a heating oil tank look like. As you can see, the extendable arm will move up and down depending on where the bobber sits on top of the oil.

You can read a float gauge by looking at the vial’s tick marks. You can typically indicate the oil level by Full, 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 markings. Because the heating oil tank is rounded on the top and bottom, these gauges tend to not be very accurate. This is because they cannot account for the curvature of the tank and you will often be reading less oil than you have. You should order oil as soon as the float gauge reads 1/4 tank. This will be enough to hold you over until your next delivery arrives.

These gauges will only provide an estimate of how many gallons are actually in the tank. Due to this, we recommend that you multiply the level shown by your float gauge by the gallon maximum in your tank. For example, if a 275-gallon tank had a float gauge reading at 1/4, you would multiply .25 * 275 = 69 gallons. For a 330-gallon tank, you would multiply .25 * 330 =82.5.

Most home heating oil tanks come with a float gauge that looks like this. It will give you an approximate reading that will help you know how many gallons of oil might be in your tank.

Is your Float Gauge Accurate?

Because these gauges only give approximate readings, they can only be used to give you an idea of how many gallons of oil are actually in your tank. Additionally, due to all the moving parts on the sensor, it is prone to wear and tear over time. If you have suspicions that your float gauge is stuck, then simply unscrew the plastic vial using your hands. Then, gently push down on the disk and if it moves down, then the gauge isn’t stuck. The gauge’s arm will then float back to the top of the oil, giving you the estimation.

One of the most common ways that a float gauge gets stuck is by simply rotating inside the tank itself. This can happen gradually over time and as a result of this, the float can get wedged against the side of the tank, preventing it from moving.

Float gauges will tend to get less buoyant over time. This is often due to a build-up of sludge that can hold down the gauge, preventing it from floating on top of the oil level’s surface.

This is an example of what the float will look like when it’s coated in sludge. The sludge will prevent the gauge from reading accurately and bog it down.

How Much Heating Should I order and when?

After knowing how much oil is currently in your tank, you’ll have to figure out how much you’ll want to order. Using the below graph, you can determine how much oil you can fit in your tank. Use the below equation to figure out what the ideal number of gallons to order will be.

The Tank’s Capacity – Current Oil Level = The Amount you’ll need to order

For a standard 275-gallon oil tank, the maximum capacity for your tank is normally around 250 gallons. This is because dealers will leave the top few inches of the tank clear to prevent overflow and overflow. The same applies to 330-gallon tanks, but they’ll normally have around 315 gallons of oil as their true capacity. If your 275-gallon oil tank is 1/4 full, then we’ll use the equation shown above, 275 – 206 = approximately 69 gallons.

Standard 275-gallon oil tanks will often hold anywhere from 240-250 gallons, depending on how it’s orientated. Use the above table as a guide to tell you how much to order.
Your standard 330-gallon tank will be able to hold 288-305 depending on its orientation. Use the above table to guide you on how many gallons of oil you should order.

With the above guides that we’ve provided you with, you’ll be able to determine when you should order heating oil. You can find the best prices available to you on our FuelSnap Website! This will help you prevent overcharging from local dealers!

How to Read a Smart Oil Gauge

Another type of gauge that you can use to monitor your heating oil level is the Smart Oil Gauge. This gauge is a remote WIFI gauge that you connect to your WIFI and install onto the top of your tank. This gauge will send an ultrasonic signal down to your oil level that will then bounce off of the oil level and go right back up to the sensor. By using the Smart Oil gauge app, you’ll be able to tell how much oil is in your tank. That will tell you when you’ll need to fill up next.

It will be able to account for your tank’s curvature as well. This will allow you to get accurate date readings on your oil level! We can configure the Smart Oil Gauge to a variety of different tank sizes and shapes. Additionally, the gauge will give you weekly status readings for “Gallons per Day”, “Days Until 1/4” and “Days Until 1/8”. You can even order heating oil through the app! The Smart Oil Gauge app has direct integration with FuelSnap, which gives you access to local prices, anytime and anywhere!

Using the smart oil gauge is by far the best way to figure out how many gallons of heating oil are in your tank. The smart oil gauge will also become more accurate the deeper you get into the tank. This is because we wanted to ensure that if your gauge is reading 40 gallons, then that’s the amount of oil in the tank.

Keeping Track of Heating Oil Usage

Another handy feature with the smart oil gauge, is that it keeps track of your oil usage. The Smart Oil Gauge will be able to tell you how many gallons you are burning on average, per day. However, your usage will be different than your neighbors and friends. It’s all dependent on what you use heating oil for, and the size of your house.

If you use it for heat and hot water, then your usage will be higher than someone who uses it for one or the other. The size of your home will also change your usage data. Larger homes will often burn more oil than smaller houses. This is because your boiler has to work harder to push the heat throughout your home. Your usage will often be lower during the summer months than in the winter months. The warmer weather will often incentivize you to use less oil. During the winter months, you will be burning a lot of oil and will need to get a fill frequently.

The Smart Oil Gauge will give you exact readings on your heating oil usage per day. It will let you know what your heating oil usage was on a specific day.

If you look at the above graph, it will show you the usage data of one of our Smart Oil Gauges. You can see that around late September-early October we had low usage that went up to larger amounts the closer we got to winter.

Using the Float Gauge and Smart Oil Gauges

Now that you understand how to read a float gauge and the Smart Oil Gauge, you’ll know which one is best for you! You can even use both gauges in conjunction with each other! Being able to use both gauges at the same time will give you the best data possible from your tank. While you don’t have to use both, it is beneficial to do so.

If you don’t wish to use both at the same time, that’s perfectly fine! You can use one or the other and use a yardstick to measure the oil level to get an accurate reading. Make sure to plug that information into an Oil Tank Calculator to ensure your information is correct.

Happy Heating,

Hunter

What’s a Double Wall Tank?

If you’ve been shopping around for a new heating oil tank, you might’ve come across double-wall tanks. These tanks are very useful and are growing in popularity here in the United States. But like all tanks, they come with pros and cons. Before you decide to buy one of these tanks, I recommend reading our article on Granby Vs Roth tanks. We go a bit more in-depth about the differences between standard Granby tanks and Roth tanks.

How Does a Double Wall Tank Work?

Double-wall tanks are the most popular form of tank heating in Europe and are gaining popularity here in the United States. Double wall tanks come with an interior plastic tank that contains the heating oil. It is normally made from aluminum or steel and surrounds a plastic tank similar to a shell. The metal surrounding the tank acts as a backup in case the interior tank begins to leak.

As shown in the double-wall tanks here, there is a plastic interior tank and a metal exterior tank. The number one manufacturer in the United States or double-wall tanks is Roth North America.

What are the Pros of Double Wall Oil Tanks?

There are many pros to having a double-wall tank. We’ve compiled a list of the pros of the double wall tank below.

Protection from Leaks: The biggest advantage of a double wall tank is leak protection. If the interior tank were to ever receive a puncture or damage, the exterior tank will prevent that oil from spilling all over your floor. Although that isn’t common with these types of tanks, it is still a great precaution to have in case the interior tank begins to leak.

Saves Space: With these tanks being a bit taller than Granby tanks, they take up less space. This gives you the freedom to install two of these tanks close to each other in just about the same space for one Granby tank.

No Possibility for Corrosion: While your standard steel oil tank will eventually corrode over time, the interior tank will not. This is because the interior tank is plastic. The tank will eventually start to slowly deteriorate over time, but that will tank for a long time.

Less Sludge Buildup: With the inclusion of the plastic tank, you will often see less of a sludge buildup. This is because the interior tank will not rust from the inside out, which will result in less sludge production.

Better Warranty: Unlike steel tanks, double-wall tanks normally offer a longer-lasting warranty. Most of the time, the warranty tends to last 30 years, while steel tank warranties normally only last 10 years.

Like standard steel tanks, Roth tanks can be installed outside. However, most of the time they will need a steel cover if being installed outside.

What are the Cons of a Double Wall Oil Tank?

Like all tanks, there are both pros and cons to owning them. Double-wall tanks are not different. Here is a list of the cons:

They’re Expensive: One of the major cons of these tanks in particular is that they are more expensive than standard steel tanks. This is because, unlike steel tanks, they have a bit more of a complicated construction process.

Unfamiliar Technicians: Unfortunately, many technicians are unfamiliar with these tanks. Additionally, because the standard steel oil tank has been around for 70+ years, technicians tend to prefer them over double-wall tanks.

Isn’t an Exact Replacement: Double-wall tanks have a different footprint than steel tanks. You might have to make a few changes to your existing fill and vent pipes to get a tank like this installed.

The Installation is Complex: If you wish to install multiple tanks together, then a very complex piping setup needs to be put in place. This setup is very specific and you MUST follow it if you want to install the tanks correctly.

When installing these tanks side by side, it’s important to follow the process exactly, so that the tanks are properly set up.

Is a Double Roth Tank Worth Investing in?

We highly recommend investing in a double-wall tank. They are not only more compact, allowing for more space optimization, but the plastic interior tank is very useful. It provides a safe form of protection that we think is worth the extra money that it costs. Additionally, the inclusion of a 30-year warranty, makes it all the more appetizing.

However, you should consider this decision very carefully. We don’t want you jumping into anything without doing enough research. Take a look at our article on Granby vs Roth Tanks first before you decide to replace your current tank.

Happy Heating,

Hunter