What to do if your tank runs dry (and how to fix it)

January 27, 2021
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You wouldn’t believe how many panicked calls we get every week from people who’s domestic oil tank has run out of oil. 

It’s the last thing that anyone needs, especially in the middle of Winter. It’s an unnecessary added stress, plus it can damage your heating system. 

But, if it’s already happened what do you do?

In this blog we’ll explore what to do if your oil tank runs dry and how to prevent it from happening in future.

What to do if your oil tank runs dry…

First things first…

Don’t panic.

We know, easier said than done. 

But it’s already a stressful situation and panicking isn’t going to solve it. If you check your tank and you’ve definitely run out of heating oil then there isn’t much you can do at this point. Your heating system should automatically cut off if it runs out of oil, for safety reasons. 

The best thing you can do is to contact your heating oil supplier straight away and organise a fuel delivery. Doing this immediately will minimise the time spent without a heating system.

But, it’s worth knowing how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Order your fuel delivery

Why shouldn’t you let your oil tank run dry?

It’s not a good idea to let your tank run dry if you can help it. 

Don’t worry, there are no safety concerns, your oil system is designed to switch off if your oil runs out. 


But, running out of oil can add unnecessary stress to your life, and can present a bit of a problem especially if it’s in the cold of Winter. 

Plus requiring a speedy fuel delivery to ensure you aren’t without heating for too long may end up costing you more for delivery. 

But the main issue is that running your oil tank dry can damage your heating system. Residue and dirt can collect at the bottom on your tank, especially if it’s old and if the tank runs dry this can be drawn into the heating system. If this happens you may need to get a maintenance visit in addition to re-filling your oil tank.

Related content: How do I check my heating oil level

How to avoid your tank running dry in the future 

Prevention is better than cure.

So, the best way to stop yourself running out of heating oil is to put in place some preventative measures. Some of the things you can do are:

1. Know your tank capacity and understand your regular usage…

It might take a little time to get your head around this, especially if you’ve just moved in. But, it’s a good idea to get to grips with your tank capacity, and how long your tank lasts you under usual circumstances. 

This will give you an idea of how often you might need to order, and when to start looking out for low levels of fuel. 

Related content: How often does a domestic oil tank need filled up?

2. Set a schedule to check your oil tank…

Even the most organised person can forget to check their oil levels. So, to avoid running out and letting it slip your mind, you should set a regular day to check your fuel oil levels. 

Set a reminder on your phone calendar or mark a specific day in your old-school manual calendar to help you get into a routine. 

In the summer months, when you are not using your heating system as much you can get away with checking your levels every 6 weeks. When your usage increases during the colder months, you should check your levels once a fortnight.

This should ensure that you keep on top of your oil levels and ensure that you don’t run out. 

3. Install a digital monitoring system in your oil tank

Another great way to make sure you don’t run out of heating oil is to install a digital monitoring system. A digital monitoring system remotely monitors your fuel level and sends you the information. 

You can see how much oil you have at a glance, without leaving the couch. And some digital monitoring systems will alert you when levels are low (or if levels suddenly drop).

At Carnegie, we’ve partnered with Kingspan for over 20 years, providing our customers with fantastic quality oil storage products and value for money technology solutions. We offer three different monitoring solutions:

  1. Kingspan Watchman Alarm
  2. Kingspan Watchman Sonic
  3. Kingspan Watchman Anywhere

If you continually have to hit the reset button to get your boiler firing, or if it’s making a loud noise then it might be a sign that you need to schedule a delivery. 

Related content: What is a digital oil monitoring system (and do I need one?)

In conclusion: What to do if you’re tank runs dry

First things first...DON’T panic. 

We know it’s a natural reaction. 

But it really isn’t going to help the situation. Your heating system will turn off automatically, so all you really need to do is call your fuel supplier and arrange a delivery A.S.A.P.

The best way to stop yourself running out of fuel is to put in some preventative measure such as a schedule to check the level or a digital oil monitoring system.

If you need a fuel delivery then get in touch. We’ll always try to get out the following day or earlier if possible for our regular customers, so give us a call if you 

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