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’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
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.
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.
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.