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Diesel, Lubricants and Winter

12 Dec 2018, Posted by cnewman@mcphersonoil.com in General

Winter brings many challenges for maintaining your operations. Depending on the location of your business, shorter days can limit your work time, cold weather can impair worker mobility, and ice and snow can make transportation hazardous, not to mention the seasonal illnesses like the flu can strike your work force. The cold weather also brings challenges specific to your storage of diesel and other fluids.

Diesel Fuel
Diesel fuel naturally contains paraffin, a type of wax. In cold weather, around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the paraffin begins to solidify, giving the diesel a cloudy consistency. If the diesel reaches a chilly 10–15 degrees Fahrenheit, the wax will solidify even further. This process, called “gelling,” can clog pipes and systems.

To prevent this from happening, bring vehicles and fuel storage tanks and totes indoors in a safely heated environment.  You can also purchase an additive specially designed to prevent diesel from gelling. This can be added to any new fuel orders or fuel purchased earlier in the year.

Winter is also another opportunity for water to enter your fuel whether that be in the form of snow, ice or condensation. If ice enters your fuel storage, it can freeze and cause major problems. To prevent this, check your tanks often and clean them according to the maintenance schedule.

Lubricants, DEF and Water

If your business includes the use of standing water, keep it from freezing by bringing it into a heated environment
Other fluids such as lubricants and DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) can also be impacted by winter temps. Lower temps can cause lubricant to become denser making it more viscous. In addition, extreme temps can cause the chemicals and lubricants to become less effective.

Again, moving lubricant storage into a heated environment can prevent any degradation. This can also prevent water contamination through condensation. If your tanks are too large to bring inside, try building a temporary shelter. You can also use a water-proof tarp to combat snow or ice, however that will not protect from the cooler temps.

Cut to the Chase:
When cooler temps hit, make sure your company is prepared by taking the proper steps to ensure the fluidity of your diesel, DEF and lubricants. Move the items and vehicles you can into an indoor heated area. If your fuel storage is too big to bring indoors, construct a shelter to protect it from the temperature and elements. For diesel in vehicles, you can purchase an additive to help keep it from becoming too dense. These simple actions can help you salvage the diesel, lubricant and DEF during the winter months.