Prepare your Storage Tank Properly for Winter

Dick Munn

Dick Munn

As you prepare for winter, you can prevent problems, not to mention save time, frustration and money by taking time now to prepare diesel tanks before cold weather arrives.

Cold weather can create serious problems for your valuable diesel equipment – plugged filters and clogged fuel lines are caused by ice formation that severely hampers engine performance.

The most important thing you can do is to remove water from storage tanks, vehicle fuel tanks and filter bowls. Water gets into diesel fuel storage and vehicle tanks in several ways – by condensation of humid air, during transport, by leakage through faulty fill pipes or vents, and by careless handling. During fuel withdrawals, tanks can breath in large volumes of humid air. Water in the fuel can cause injector and pump corrosion, biological growth and fuel filter plugging.

Managing the impact of the water in your storage tank is the foundation of proper tank maintenance. To avoid another winter fuel-related problem, assure that you are properly blending down your fuel tanks and use Cold Flow Improvers where necessary to extend the operability of the fuel without the use of #1 diesel fuel.


Blending Down: If tanks are not properly blended down, you are asking for major fuel performance problems; problems you don’t need after a long day of work. To make certain your tank is properly blended down, determine how much fuel is in the tank and calculate the treat rate accordingly.

For example, 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. Instead, the most cost effective way is to bring in 700 gallons of #1 to be at a 50/50 blend.

Using Cold Flow Improvers: Using Cold Flow Improvers extends the operability of fuels in cold winter weather. They change the wax structure of diesel fuel so it passes through filters more readily. They also keep wax crystals dispersed along when congregated in the fuel.

Cloud point is the temperature at which the paraffin in fuel begins to form cloudy wax crystals and reduce flow. When blending fuels, biofuels and additives, all the components must be at least 10-15 degrees above their cloud point. If lower, the additives will not blend with the other elements and may clog filters. To avoid problems, blend down your current fuel supply throughout the first few days of use to take a proactive approach to proper tank maintenance.

Have a safe and trouble-free winter!