winter-fuel-tank-maintenanceWinter Fuel Maintenance

Regular fuel tank maintenance is imperative to ensure prolonged storage life of fuel. The winter season is fast approaching and with falling temperatures and unpredictable storms causing power outages, facilities do not want to be left unprepared.

For long-term storage of diesel fuel, BP recommends the following measures:

  • Make sure the fuel does not touch any surfaces containing metals such as zinc or copper or any other compounds that contain these metals, such as brass. Diesel fuel reacts with these metals to form unstable compounds.
  • Create a fuel tank maintenance schedule that will remove dirt and water from the tanks, preventing the chance for fungus to grow.
  • Water should be drained from the fuel tanks at least monthly, and in some cases as frequently as weekly.
  • Keep your fuel tanks full. Topping off the fuel, especially before winter, reduces space in the tank and prevents water build up.  Water build-up promotes corrosion at the top half of the tank. The fluctuating temperatures in an unpredictable winter season may increase or decrease the condensation as the tank breathes. Therefore, the less space in your tank, the better.
  • Regularly check and change the fuel tank filters. If you notice an increase in the need to change the filters the fuel may need to be cleaned, tested or even changed over.
  • Tanks need to be scheduled to be completely emptied and cleaned periodically. BP recommends at least every ten years, but more frequently, if there is a major contamination or excess corrosion.
  • Make sure to know if your fuel supplied conforms to direct specifications and ensure the fuel matches the winter cloud point for your area to avoid blocking the filters by wax drop out in the winter.
  • The best time to purchase fuel to replenish winter stock is in April through August. A full tank ensures the fuel will not cause wax problems, no matter what time of year it is used.
  • Establish a regular monitoring schedule in which samples are taken to monitor the condition of the fuel. Check the fuel for signs of haziness, sediment, darkening. If there is a question about fuel stability or safety, call us and we will have an independent lab test the fuel.
  • Turn the fuel over regularly. Try to plan for maximum fuel usage seasons to ensure the fuel remains fresh.

Many companies do not establish regular maintenance for their fuel tanks. Their only concern is for the backup generators, instead of the fuel or the tanks. While the generators may start and run properly, without regular fuel tank service, once generators are started the primary filters may block in as little as one to two hours. A blockage can completely shut down the generators creating an additional power outage.

Contact Clean Fuels Associates to create a maintenance schedule for your fuel tanks.