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What To Do if You Run Out of Heating Oil

Running out of heating oil is more common than you may think. Typical reasons for running out include:

  • Not monitoring your tank.
  • A sudden cold snap which drives up consumption causing your heating oil to run out faster than expected.
  • Heating oil theft.
  • A delay in a delivery either due to a problem with the supplier or snow/cold weather preventing tankers getting out.

Steps to Take if you do Run out of Heating Oil

  • If it is winter, take steps immediately to retain the heat you have in your house i.e. close curtains, block draughts under doors etc. This way you will keep the house warmer for longer whilst you are without central heating.
  • If you have other forms of heating such as a wood fire or electric heaters, bring these into operation if it is cold and you have vulnerable people in the house that need to be kept warm.
  • Order some more oil. You will pay a premium for an emergency delivery. Remember that a minimum order quantity in the UK is 500 Litres.
  • Make sure you know how to bleed your system once the delivery is made to remove air and make sure it starts. You may also need to speak to an OFTEC registered heating oil engineer as running your tank down to empty can cause sludge to block filters and prevent your central heating restarting.  This may require a call out.

How to Avoid Running out of Heating Oil in the Future

If you run out of heating oil, it makes you realise how uncomfortable it can be without your hot water and central heating. To help stop it happening again we recommend:

  • Install an oil tank monitor so that you can easily track the level of oil in your tank.
  • Install more oil tank security measures to prevent theft.
  • Don’t leave ordering your oil until the last minute. Plan ahead and try and order when you’ve got at least a ¼ of the tank left. Not only does this give you a buffer if there are problems with deliveries, but it also helps to prevent sludge being stirred up from the bottom of the tank and blocking filters.
  • Take part in a monthly payment plan so that you put money away for your oil each month. That way, finding the funds for filling up your tank is not so difficult and means you don’t have to leave topping up until the last minute.

By following this simple advice, we hope you can avoid running out of heating oil this winter. If you have any other comments or tips, please let us know by posting a comment.

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