1204 Saint Olaf Ave N
PO Box 149
Canby, MN 56220
301 East 1st Street
PO Box 128
Minneota, MN 56264

Tank Maintenance Key for Winter Performance

By Adam Steffes, Energy Manager

Before cold weather strikes, take steps to ensure problem-free engine performance and protect your valuable diesel equipment. With proper tank maintenance and fuel handling, you can avoid most common cold-weather problems.

In cold northern winters, ice formation in fuels containing water creates severe fuel line and filter plugging problems. It’s important to regularly remove water from storage tanks, vehicle fuel tanks and filter bowls, and to follow these guidelines:

  • Tilt tanks to direct water and debris away from the outlet.
  • Pressurize tanks to keep vapor and air inside.
  • Drain and remove all contaminants every three months.
  • Install proper filtration systems on bulk tanks.
  • Replace fuel filters according to manufacturer recommendations; if filters have a drain valve, periodically drain water that may accumulate from condensation.
  • Clean pump screens regularly.
  • Have tanks cleaned annually.

Another major reason for winter problems is that tanks are not properly blended down. When blending down a tank, it’s imperative that you know how much fuel is left in the tank and calculate the treat rate accordingly. If you have 700 gallons of #2 diesel remaining in the tank and need to create a 50-50 blend of #1 and #2, ordering 700 gallons of a 50-50 blend (a common mistake) would create flow problems – because it would result in a blend of 1,050 gallons (71 percent) of #2 and 350 gallons (29 percent) of #1.

Proper use of cold flow improvers can extend the operability of fuels without the use of #1 fuel. They serve two functions: 1) changing the wax structure of diesel fuel so it can pass through filters more readily, and 2) keeping wax crystals dispersed longer when fuels are stored below the “cloud point” (temperature at which paraffin in fuel begins to form cloudy wax crystals and reduce flow).

When blending fuels, biofuels and additives, the components must all be at least 10 degrees above their cloud point – otherwise the additives will not blend in and, therefore, may clog filters.

Questions? At FCA Canby, we’re always ready to help you with all your winter fuel needs. Call us at 507-223-7241.

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