Finding Fuel Contamination Symptoms
While you may get your diesel tank checked by specialists on a regular basis, it’s still important that you know the fuel contamination symptoms. While annual checks are more than capable of keeping your fuel in good condition, you never know when a potential problem may arise. After all, the last thing you want is to be stuck with contaminated diesel when it could have been avoided.
What Are the Main Signs of Contaminated Diesel?
The main symptoms that you should look out for are:
- Water contamination in the oil
- Eroded fuel tank
- A bug in the fuel
- Equipment or engine problems
Water Contamination in The Oil
Water can be found almost anywhere on Earth and oil is certainly no exception to that. There are different levels of water contamination which dictate how serious the problem is.
In the early stages, water damage presents itself as molecules in the air, which you can’t spot with the naked eye. Once the water in the tank reaches saturation point, it will then become emulsified. When this happens, you will be able to notice the water droplets in the oil. It will give the fuel a slightly cloudy appearance.
If the fuel is not cleaned after this point, then small puddles of water will start to form at the bottom of the tank. When the water reaches free-flowing form, bacteria will be able to grow a lot faster, which leads to bugs forming. This is why it is very important that you get treatment for your fuel as soon as you notice that it is getting cloudy.
Eroded Fuel Tank
An erosion in the fuel tank is one of the main fuel contamination symptoms. This is something that tends to happen when contamination has reached its most severe level and the bugs in the fuel have started to eat away at the tank.
While this is a clear sign of contaminated fuel, it is also an environmental health problem. If any fuel spills out, then it will require an environmental clean-up, which will cost you a lot of money. To avoid anything like this happening, make sure that your tank is in good condition and is structurally sound at all times.
A Bug in The Fuel
Bugs can form in your fuel tank at a similar rate to water contamination. Basically the more water present in the tank, the quicker bugs will be able to grow. They generally present themselves in a layer of sludge that forms underneath the water puddles at the bottom of the tank. If you have a specialist who inspects your fuel tank, then they will check your diesel and assign to one of these contamination levels:
- Negligible Contamination: This means that there was only a low level of microbes found. It does not present a short term problem, so the level is simply noted and then checked again during the next inspection.
- Moderate Contamination: This level is assigned when there is a concerning level of microbes in the tank. However, it is easily treated with a biocide treatment and a change of filters.
- Heavy Contamination: This assigned level means that the amount of microbes in the fuel have reached a severe level. There will probably be signs that the tank has been damaged as a result. When this happens, the tank will have to be emptied so then the fuel can be cleaned. Once the fuel has been decontaminated and the tank has been cleaned, it will be returned to the tank. In some cases, the fuel may be too contaminated to be cleaned, in which case it will have to be replaced.
Equipment or Engine Problems
If you haven’t looked in your tank and checked the condition of your fuel, then you may not notice that you have contaminated diesel until you actually use it for your equipment or machinery. You might discover that you have engine problems all of a sudden, or it may lack its usual power and performance.
Whenever anything like this happens, it is always best to check your fuel first to see if that is the cause of your problems.
How Do I Avoid Fuel Contamination in The Future?
If you can, it is best to check for these fuel contamination symptoms on a regular basis just to make sure that your fuel is still in the best condition. New guidelines on fuel cleanliness have been published to help people protect their oil supply.
If you want to avoid contaminated diesel at all costs though, then you should get it checked by a specialist on an annual basis to make sure that there are no signs of imminent problems.
Want to know more about fuel contamination? Then give us a call on 0845 872 3344 and speak to one of our experts.