It’s that time of year again. Temperatures are dropping, and flu season is starting. Yep, it’s winter. As a valued customer, we want to provide you with all you need to know about how you can protect your fuel from cold-weather.
The first issue is the “why.” Why are these issues happening? Here are the reasons:
- When temperatures drop below freezing (32 degrees F), the paraffin wax in diesel that improves lubricity and viscosity can thicken and start to crystalize.
- Wax crystals stick together, giving the fuel a cloudy appearance (known as the cloud point).
- As the gelling process reaches the Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP) at 10 degrees F, the crystals will solidify enough to cause blockage to the fuel filter and prevent engines from starting.
There are numerous factors that impact wax crystal growth. First, is fuels solvency. Essentially, how much wax can be dissolved at any given time? Second, total wax-how much wax precipitates between cloud point and temperature. Lastly, wax distribution, which is the amount of each wax chain relative to the other waxes.
How can this be prevented?
Businesses need to be PREPARED. When preparing for cold weather, you need to do a few things:
- Monitor future temperature cycles and weekend downtime
- Focus on storage tank housekeeping
- Saddle tanks (drain water/maintain fuel separators)
- Bulk storage (monthly fuel analysis)
- Moisture (entrained/bottom water)
- Paraffin content (directly related to crude slate and refinery)
You also want to make sure you do everything possible to keep water from entering your tank. You can do his by:
- Remove standing water, ice, or snow around tank fill covers
- Make sure all opening bungs, caps and cord grips are tight and replace caps or gaskets as needed
- Change filters frequently, and look for signs of corrosion on filter and housing
- Pay close attention to leak detection equipment
As you read this, ask yourself. Is your fuel winter ready?