6 Tips to Avoid Winter Fuel Problems

It’s that time of the year again, when the nation experiences frosty mornings, increased rainfall and long, dark nights. With these changes in the British weather comes an increase in winter fuel problems, such as contamination, clogged filters, cracked tanks and burst pipework.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you prevent unexpected downtime in your business.

Invest in regular fuel testing

When fuel is left in storage during the colder months, it’s at a much higher risk of contamination. Having a specialist take samples from the top, middle and bottom of the tank and test it at a laboratory can identify any potential issues that could be lurking in your stock.

We also recommend checking the condition of your fuel yourself every fortnight to look for signs of water in the fuel and corrosion on the tank’s interior and exterior surfaces.

Protect fuel tanks and pipework

When the temperature drops, plastic tanks and pipes are at a higher risk of bursting or cracking. This is a common problem for tank owners so we recommend taking preventative steps ahead of the winter to protect them against corrosion and physical damage.

Check bunds (secondary containment)

Checking the integrity of your bunds is key at the start of winter. Temperature fluctuations can result in the bund lining cracking. This can cause harmful materials to escape and enter the environment, leading to habitat damage, voided insurance and large environmental clean-up costs.

We also recommend checking the pump and valve drains for any signs of flooding, as well as leaves and deadfall.

Inspect your separators

While separators are needed to avoid pollution, they can become blocked and their filters saturated from a build-up of dust and silt which has accumulated during the summer. If left, this can become a flood risk and contaminate the local environment.

Ensure draining is running freely

Our experts recommend checking drainage onsite during the autumn to ensure your sites are free from debris and leaves and running clear. If gully pots become blocked, high levels of water can cause them to become overwhelmed, overflowing into the environment.

Getting a specialist to check your site drainage will reduce the risk and hassle of having to arrange the water to be pumped out and causing disruptions in your operations.

Switch to winter grade diesel

Diesel can gel in cold temperatures because it contains paraffin wax – an important component that improves its viscosity and lubrication. However, as the temperature falls and reaches the “cloud point”, the paraffin wax begins to solidify and turns into a cloudy mixture, eventually leading to diesel fuel gelling.

If left untreated, the wax will begin to crystalise which can clog fuel filters and lines, stopping fuel from flowing and rendering your engine useless. This is also known as fuel starvation.

Our experts are on hand 24/7 to provide support with your fuel storage system. Whether you need a fuel test, a new tank or are just looking for some advice, we can help! Call 0330 123 1144 today.

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