The Basics of Generator Fuel Maintenance
Some things get better with age; fuel is not one of them. As time goes by, the fuel your generator relies on will degrade and pack less of a punch. It’s a natural process that you can’t stop. However, you can slow it down and it is vital to do so, otherwise your generator’s performance will suffer the next time you need it to perform vital tasks for your operations.
Maintaining Diesel Fuel
Each batch of diesel fuel has unique characteristics that can impact the speed of fuel degradation, filterability, and susceptibility to contamination. The ambient temperature, presence of moisture, exposure to temperature extremes, both hot and cold, and contamination with microbes are some of the factors that can accelerate the rate of fuel degradation. Additionally, the source of the crude oil, fuel additives, blending with biofuel and oxidation can also accelerate or decelerate the fuel degradation process.
Down Fuel Degradation
Tank location and sizing can have a significant influence on the rate of fuel degradation, fuel loss through evaporation, fire and theft risk. Underground tanks have a lower fire risk, but they are more susceptible to water leaks that can contaminate the fuel. Underground fuel tanks are also prone to condensation forming within the tank that can foul the fuel as the ground temperature fluctuates. This can also promote the growth of fungus and microbes that can further degrade the fuel. Similarly, above ground tanks are also subject to condensates forming within the tank as the sun’s rays expand and then contract the shell.
Diesel Fuel Maintenance
Diesel fuel should be stored for less than nine months. Some manufacturers recommend their fuel not be stored for more than six months. While fuel stabilizers and filtering can prolong this, it simply is best not to maintain fuel for extended periods of time.
Diesel fuel maintenance, including regular testing, should be conducted on a regular schedule. The first thing to do is to take a fuel sample when you fill the tank. This creates a benchmark for the fuel that you can use to track the rate of deterioration.
It is a good idea to perform additional testing at six month intervals. This helps you track the rate of deterioration over longer periods of time. In turn, this makes it possible to adjust your fuel deliveries so that you are not storing excess fuel. For even more detailed analysis, you can test your fuel at quarterly intervals and many companies whose fuel supplies are subject to extreme temperature or environmental conditions perform testing with even greater frequency.
We invite you to contact GenTech Power Generation Specialists at (800) 625-8324 for more information regarding our fuel maintenance services. We will be happy to tell you more about the tests we perform and the preventative maintenance we recommend to ensure the viability and reliability of your fuel supply.