Furnace Maintenance in San Antonio, TX

How Much Heating Oil Will My Furnace Use This Winter?

As a homeowner, it’s necessary that you prepare your budget for the added costs of winter heating. Before you can figure out an estimate of how much it’s going to cost you to supply your furnace with fuel, you first need to know how much oil your furnace will burn over the entire winter season.

There’s No Short Answer

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. How much oil your furnace uses will depend on a variety of factors related to you and your home. Two of the most weighed factors include the size of your home and how long you run your furnace.

How Big Is Your Home?

It’s not hard to understand that a one-bedroom home is going to take less oil to stay warm than a four-bedroom home. The larger your space is, the more oil your furnace is going to need to burn to stay warm. When determining how much oil you’ll need to buy, it can be helpful to look at the specific size of your oil tank.

How Often Do You Run Your Furnace?

How often your furnace stays running will play a big role in determining your overall wintertime heating maintenance. Furnaces that run for 10 hours a day are going to use less fuel than those that run 24 hours a day.

Outside Temperatures

Another factor that can significantly impact how much heating oil your furnace burns during the colder winter months is the outside temperature. The warmer the outside temperature is, the less your furnace is going to have to work to bring the inside of your home up to a comfortable temperature.


Insulation acts as a barrier between the warm inside of your home and the cold outside. The thicker this barrier is, the less cold air will seep into your home. With more insulation, you can keep your home warmer and allow your furnace to work less. A home that has insulation at the recommended R-value for your area is going to use less fuel than a house with minimal insulation.

Design of Your Home

The way that your home is designed can play a large role in how quickly your home heats up. A single-story home is typically easier for a furnace to quickly heat up and maintain than a two-story home. This is simply due to the fact that your furnace will have to supply more heat to a higher distance than with a single-story home.

Furnace Age and Condition

Another necessary factor that you’ll need to take into consideration when it comes to determining how much oil your furnace will burn is its age and condition. Older furnaces are much more likely to burn more oil than newer state-of-the-art models. In fact, many older furnaces have a large nozzle that allows for more oil waste than newer units do.

Estimated Gallons Used

It’s been estimated that the average oil-burning furnace will use anywhere from 0.8 to 1.7 gallons per hour. Homes that have a newer model furnace, thick insulation, and are single-story are going to land on the lower end of this scale. On the other hand, homes with many bedrooms, multiple stories, minimal installation, and older furnaces are going to be on the higher end of this estimated scale.

To figure out how much oil your furnace may burn this winter season, you’ll need to gather the estimated gallon per hour usage, the cost of a gallon of fuel in your area, and the number of hours that your system runs. For example, let’s say that your home lands in the middle of the spectrum at 1.25 gallons per hour. You’ll need to run it for about 10 hours a day.

To determine your annual usage, start by taking 1.25 gallons and multiply that by 10 hours a day to get a typical usage of 12.5 gallons per day. With the winter season lasting around 90 days, you can estimate that your total usage will be about 1,125 gallons.

A More Accurate Estimate

If you’ve already spent a year in your home, then you should utilize the previous year’s heating data to get a more accurate estimate of your furnace’s oil usage. You can do this by totaling up the number of gallons used each month.

Professional Heating Services

MD Air Conditioning & Heating offers professional heating services for the entire San Antonio community. We can also help with all of your air conditioning, indoor air quality, and commercial needs. Simply give us a call today, and we’ll be more than happy to get a technician on the way.