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Old 04-05-2011, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Revere, MA
287 posts, read 544,983 times
Reputation: 195
Default Questions regarding oil heat/oil tank usage

Ok, I am one adult and three children (small children) in a 2 floor 3 bedroom townhouse. I have oil for my heat and hot water. But I never had oil before and I'm not sure how much exactly I'm supposed to go through and how long it should last me. As it is springtime, I am not using it for heat. March 4 I had it filled up to a little bit more than 3/4 of a tank full. Now a month later it is down to a half of a tank. I don't even take a shower everyday because I am trying to conserve the oil. So, I take a shower every other day. A 10 min shower at most. Wash dishes every 2-3 days. I only use cold water in the washing machine. My daughter has a 5 min shower every day and the babies have baths every other night. Should I be going through so much oil so fast?? This doesn't seem normal to me.
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Alaska
5,151 posts, read 8,396,162 times
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It depends. How old is the furnace? How big is the tank? Is the tank above ground or underground? How old is the tank? Did the previous owners leave any usage information?

If I had to guess, my first thought would be your tank might be leaking, but more information is needed to be sure. I suggest you talk to your neighbors who also have oil, to see what they use. That will give you an idea if your problem is a leak.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,213 posts, read 10,773,821 times
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Depending on the size of the tank, you could very likely have a leak. A leaking oil tank is a very bad thing. If you own the home, I would immediately contact a local UGST specialist in your area and have it inspected.
If oil is leaking into the ground, it could cost you a fortune. If it is leaking, all the contaminated soil has to be removed by a licensed Under Ground Storage specialist, and properly disposed of. The tank would have to be drained and properly cleaned before it can be removed, then disposed of, again by a licensed specialist. All work have to be verified and paperwork filed with the government, so it must be done my a licensed specialist. The government isn't know for it's sense of humor...!!
The whole thing is a huge undertaking. If it s a rental, Let the LL know of the problem.
A specialist will come out and take soil samples from all around the tank and have the samples tested by a special lab to see how much oil is in the soil, and by tat determine the steps that need to be taken.
That is, of course, the worst possible situation, you may not have a leak at all, but it needs to be checked out. Oil should last you a long time. You description of use sounds like it could be leaking.
Hope for the best, but plan for the worst...!!
I might add, if you recently purchased thge home, it is required that the tank and surrounding soil be tested before escrow can close, so perhaps someone screwed up...
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:55 PM
 
21,331 posts, read 14,662,448 times
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There is so many variables involved with this it's very hard to give estimates. Windows? Insulation? Efficiency of the furnace?

You would need to do heat loss estimate for anything reasonably close.

A rough guesstimate based on my experience. Assuming a 2000 sq ft. home with decent insulation and windows in your area you're going to be in the 1000 gallons a year range give or take a few hundred gallon.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Revere, MA
287 posts, read 544,983 times
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Well, like I said I'm not using it for heat right now so I don't think the insulation of my house would come into play right now. I didn't even use it for heat during the winter. The one time I tried to use it for heat, it used up a 1/4 tank of oil in 10 days. Not even two damn weeks. And the heat was not even on all day. So I just turned the heat off and used electric heaters all winter, since I don't have to pay for electricity. The size of the tank is 250 gallons. It is an above ground tank, located in my basement. I have no idea of the age of it. But I know the residence was built before 1978. And I have no idea of the previous owners usage either.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:30 PM
 
21,331 posts, read 14,662,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felicitev21 View Post
The one time I tried to use it for heat, it used up a 1/4 tank of oil in 10 days.
Which is about 62 gallons or 6.2 gallons per day. Figuring 180 heating days that's about 1,100 gallons.

Again a lot of factors here, for example when you used it was it really cold? That would certainly drop the 6.2 gallons figure.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Revere, MA
287 posts, read 544,983 times
Reputation: 195
Yes, it was during a couple of pretty cold weeks in January, I think the tempersture was around 10-25 degrees those weeks.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:27 AM
 
21,331 posts, read 14,662,448 times
Reputation: 6783
Again Assuming 2000 sq. ft. home with at least some insulation and half decent windows I would suggest you're in the right range for usage.

Nailing this down without heat loss calculation and more accurate usage over longer period is impossible.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Alaska
5,151 posts, read 8,396,162 times
Reputation: 3462
When was the last time you had your system serviced? If it's been over a year or never, I'd call in someone to do it and then ask them what they think is happening. If you've never had maintenance service, most companies would have left a sticker on your furnace with their number.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:01 AM
 
1,392 posts, read 1,865,214 times
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Have you had your oil boiler serviced? Cleaning it will increase its efficiency. What temp do you keep the house.
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