How to Read an Oil Tank Gauge

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If you think your boiler, warm air furnace or water heater has stopped working, the first thing you want to check is the oil tank gauge. By finding and reading your oil tank gauge, you can figure out if the heating appliance in your home is broken or if your tank is out of fuel. By reading your own oil tank gauge, you can save money and brush up on your maintenance skills.

  • Locate the oil tank gauge in or outside or your home. The gauges are usually located on top of the oil tank and look like a rounded cylinder.

  • Look for the floating assembly inside the gauge. The floating assemblies are usually metal rods with a red dot or line at the top of it.

  • Follow the top of the gauge, the red line or dot, to the number it is closest to. The numbers should be in fraction form like zero, 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4. If the red marker is on zero or close to it, your oil tank is empty or the gauge is broken. If it is at the 1/4 mark, it is a fourth of the way full. if it is at 1/2, it is half full. The gauge can also get stuck at certain spots causing the gauge to read incorrectly.

  • Test your gauge to see if it is working properly by unscrewing and removing the plastic cover that goes over the gauge. Push the metal floating assembly slowly to the bottom of the gauge and release it. If it slowly starts to rise again, it is working properly. If the gauge was already at the bottom, slowly raise it up and if it lifts easily and falls back down quickly, it is working properly. If it gets stuck either way, it is a broken gauge.

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