How To Tell If Diesel Has Water In It?

It’s critical to respond quickly if you discover water in your diesel fuel tank. Water and fuel aren’t buddies, and they shouldn’t mix because horrible things can happen. What’s the best way to remove water out of a diesel fuel tank? This article has taken the time to answer this question!

There are several methods for removing water from a diesel fuel tank. These two strategies, however, are the most effective:

  • The first method is to use a hand pump to siphon away the water-contaminated fuel using a siphon kit. Ensure that the line is long enough to reach the tank’s bottom.
  • To help dilute the water fuel mixture, you can add a fuel additive with a methanol base. This procedure should only be utilized if the diesel fuel tank contains a small amount of water.

Remove the fuel filter while using either approach to assist drain any surplus tainted diesel fuel.

For a variety of causes, water can enter a diesel fuel tank. Water must be evacuated from the diesel fuel tank in some fashion, regardless of how it got in there. We’ll look at how to get water out of your diesel fuel tank in more detail in this article. We’ll also talk about the dangers of water getting into fuel tanks, so keep reading!

Will a diesel engine run with water in the fuel?

It’s crucial to realize that low amounts of water dissolved in the gasoline aren’t always a bad thing. “Typically, diesel fuel with low quantities of dissolved water, in the ppm concentration range, will give satisfactory performance,” Harvey explains. “Free water in diesel fuel, on the other hand, can cause excessive injector wear, filter blockage, power loss, and engine fuel system corrosion.”

A simple visual assessment can frequently reveal whether or not there is a problem “There is too much water in the fuel system if the fuel is cloudy or there is evidence of free water,” Harvey adds. “Hazy fuel indicates that enough water is being held in the fuel, most likely by a co-solvent or additive that keeps the water suspended.”

Practice good housekeeping

During transportation, storage, and use, water becomes a concern. Fuel that has just been refined is clean and devoid of excessive moisture. To ensure that American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) criteria are met, refiners and pipeline operators follow strict fuel storage tank maintenance practices that include frequent removal of water bottoms and periodic chemical treatment. Unfortunately, water bottoms removal is sometimes overlooked once it exits these facilities.

Climate, storage tank installation, and gasoline management techniques are all factors that lead to moisture accumulation. Suspended water in the fuel can settle out when the temperature changes. When warm fuel is placed in a cooler tank for storage or transportation, for example, moisture will evaporate as the fuel cools. This necessitates the easy action of draining the water on a regular basis. Because water is denser than fuel, it always sinks to the bottom of the tanks.

Condensation of water in diesel fuel storage tanks is a prevalent issue. The longer the fuel is held, the worse the situation becomes. Microorganisms or bacteria that feed on the hydrocarbons in the fuel can grow if water is allowed to remain in the diesel while it is stored. Slime forms as a result, which can clog filters.

“The most essential way to minimize water in diesel fuel systems is to practice good housekeeping,” Harvey explains. “Periodic draining of water accumulated in fuel tanks, maintaining the seal integrity of fuel storage tanks, and providing time for the fuel to settle following delivery into a storage tank are examples of such activities (this affords water the opportunity to separate out from the diesel prior to distribution). You must also follow a maintenance schedule that involves removing or preventing microbial contamination of the tank’s contents.”

Water from storage and equipment tanks is not drained on a defined basis. “Whenever free water is discovered or visible in the system, the water should be emptied from the fuel/water separator,” Harvey advises. “Unless the gasoline system is not correctly sealed, tank size has no bearing on the maintenance interval. “Climate change can have an effect.”

Above-ground tanks are more susceptible to severe day-to-night temperature changes, resulting in water generation. The temperature of the fuel drops at night, decreasing the water solubility limit and allowing moisture to escape the fuel. This water does not return to the fuel unless it is stirred.

When the tank heats up, the humid air above the fuel cools down and water condenses. The air above ground is generally cooler than the air in underground tanks. Warm, humid air replaces the gasoline as it is dispensed. Water condensation forms as the air cools.

Regardless of the tank type, make sure it is adequately sealed to prevent rainwater contamination.

Humid climates with temperature fluctuations require attention

“Areas with high humidity and low temperatures are more likely to have water accumulation from condensation,” Harvey explains. “While diesel fuel may contain some water in solution, when the ambient temperature drops, water has a greater chance of separating from the diesel and accumulating in the tank’s bottom.”

Microbial development can be hampered in warm, humid settings.

“Warmer temperatures are more prone to microbial contamination, which leads to fuel phase water contamination,” Harvey explains.

The operation of the device might sometimes produce temperature changes. Warm air is sucked into the fuel tank while the apparatus is running during the day. Water condenses as the air above the fuel cools. The tank is a strong candidate for moisture collection if it is left partially full overnight. The humid, warm air in the tanks is removed by topping out the tanks at the end of the day, which helps to prevent condensation.

What are your thoughts on dessicant filters? “Using desiccant filters could provide additional protection,” Harvey explains. “Such filters may be unnecessary in low-humidity situations. However, in high-humidity environments, these filters would quickly become saturated, resulting in higher running costs. If these filters become saturated and are not replaced soon, they are rendered useless. When done correctly, periodic inspections for water in the fuel tanks can obviate the requirement for desiccant filters.”

Chemical treatment

To combat the consequences of moisture contamination, chemical treatments are available. “Glycol ethers, which are routinely utilized for diesel fuels, are often used to lower the freeze point of water that may be present in a diesel system, preventing ice crystals from clogging filters,” adds Harvey. “They’re used to ‘dry out’ a fuel system as well. However, by drawing water into the diesel fuel as dissolved water, these compounds enhance water contamination.”

Glycol ethers have disadvantages in particular situations. “According to Harvey, the glycol ether “holds the water in the fuel and hence provides more water to the fuel filter, injectors, and combustion chamber.” “When used appropriately, however, these chemicals can be an effective part of good housekeeping.”

You must fully comprehend the role of additives. “Glycol ethers, when used as indicated, can help to reduce the impacts of water in a diesel fuel system, but according to Harvey, “under the strictest definition of contamination, these compounds actually add to fuel phase water contamination.” “Small amounts of alcohol are used in several common diesel fuel additives to lower the freezing point of any water in the system, preventing ice crystal formation and consequent fuel filter blockage.”

Monitor biodiesel blends

Blends of biodiesel are becoming more frequent than ever before. However, depending on the blend, you may want to keep an eye on the fuel for moisture contamination.

“Blends can be more susceptible to water contamination depending on the source of the biodiesel,” explains Harvey. “As established by ASTM D-975, the standard specification for diesel fuel oils, biodiesel mixes up to 5% volume percent are considered regular diesel fuel. To keep the fuel system clear of water, anything exceeding 5% volume percent may necessitate further inspection and maintenance.”

There is no replacement for basic housekeeping habits, whether you use normal No. 2 diesel or biodiesel blends. Water pollution is easily detectable, and if corrective actions are followed promptly, there is no cause for equipment damage or downtime to occur.

What will water in diesel do?

Anyone who works with diesel fuel, from builders and landscapers to delivery companies and auto dealerships, is aware that water issues are a constant concern. Whether you preserve it for a long time or not, this is the situation. You’re in big trouble if water gets into your diesel fuel system. Contamination of water wreaks havoc on this powerplant. Let’s have a look at the primary reasons why water and diesel don’t mix.

We all know that water freezes. However, did you know that it freezes faster than gasoline? Here’s an example of a comparison:

When water gets into your gasoline, it freezes, resulting in issues such as power loss, clogged filters, corrosion of fuel parts, and injector damage. That’s why, if there’s water, you’ll notice greater problems in the winter.

Gas is more refined than diesel, so while having water in your gas tank is bad, it’s even worse with diesel because it holds on to more water. In addition to the issues listed above, your engine’s lifespan may be shortened, and repairs may be costly. If you need to repair a fuel injector because it exploded, for example, it will be expensive.

Diesel and water, like oil and water, do not mix; instead, they separate. As a result, if you have water in your tank, it will settle to the bottom. Your tank will corrode and algae will bloom as a result of that water. Rust floats about in your gasoline filters, obstructing and ruining them. Bacteria create waste and continue to eat away at the engine and its components.

It’s not uncommon for condensation to form and then dissipate as the temperature outside changes. That isn’t the issue. It occurs when there is an excessive concentration of water. When this happens, problems like engine power loss arise. Examine the fuel; if it’s clear, that’s a good sign. There’s a problem if it isn’t, for example, if it’s cloudy. That is why routine maintenance is critical.

There’s a good likelihood you have water difficulties if you notice your vehicle or equipment isn’t performing well, especially if the idling is inconsistent. If the engine cuts off during acceleration, there are two alternative ways to tell.

Microbes multiply quickly in your tank, produce waste, and are difficult to eradicate. This is especially true if the underlying water problem isn’t addressed, as bacteria and fungus require water to survive.

A gasoline additive might work if there isn’t much water in the tank. Otherwise, the tank will have to be drained. If you have an above-ground tank, this is the best and most complete option. After that, clean the inside and remove any rust or corrosion. If you haven’t done this in a long time, your tank may need to be fixed or replaced. Ricochet Fuel can assist you.

Call Ricochet Fuel at 833-724-2789 to learn more about our tank testing and maintenance services.

We offer portable gasoline tanks in addition to permanent tank installations. We’re here to help you save time and money while also answering any questions you may have.

Can water in diesel cause white smoke?

Warning! This is the perilous zone. White smoke can also be caused by water or coolant in a diesel engine. This is an indication of a serious issue. Coolant or water is entering the combustion chamber of your engine. This is caused by a faulty component of the engine that controls coolant flow.

If you’ve ever tried to compress water, you know it’s not going to work well. Water does not compress, to give you a hint. So, if you’re having this issue, be cautious about running it for an extended amount of time. Stop and fix it after you’re sure it’s water or coolant.

After starting up, there will be a constant stream of smoke. Typically, the smoke will appear as a “thick” cloud (Like in the picture at the top of the page). A nice odor will also be present. Among the most plausible causes are:

  • Oil cooler has a leak (Through most of the time, the oil passes into the coolant)

Remember that running the engine with water in the combustion chamber will cause substantial harm. When this happens, your best bet is to have your car towed to a garage where the problem may be identified and corrected.

What does diesel water look like?

Check to see if the diesel fuel contains any water. Using a hand-operated bilge pump, extract a small amount of the suspicious fuel. Allow the fuel to sit in a dark room for 24 hours in a clear, clean glass container. Because diesel is lighter than water, any water in the fuel will sink to the bottom of the jar. Look for a thin black line separating the water from the fuel. If there is, microbes have begun to grow, necessitating the addition of a biocide.

Is diesel soluble in water?

Water has a fairly low solubility limit in diesel fuel (100 ppm at 40°C), although various additions raise it. Diesel fuel may contain up to a few dozen parts per million (ppm) of water, which is common at the time of manufacture.

How does water get in diesel?

Water is without a doubt the most commonly reported issue with diesel fuel, which leads to microbial development and engine failure.

This water has the potential to cause a variety of issues, including freezing in cold temperatures, providing a breeding ground for bacteria, speeding up the aging of the fuel, causing gums and shellacs to form, and causing injector tips to fail.

When hot fuel from the injectors is returned to the fuel tank, condensation forms under the fuel and creates water. Because engine performance needs are higher than ever before, injectors produce more heat than they did 20 years ago. These injectors must be kept cool at all times or they will self-destruct.

To dissipate part of the heat, diesel engine systems circulate fuel from the fuel tank across the injectors. This keeps the injectors cooler. The heated “return fuel” is then returned to the fuel tank in a cycle. The increased temperature causes more water from the air inside the tank to condense into the fuel when the hot return fuel is returned to the tank. Over time, this results in a continuous build-up of water in the bottom of the fuel tank.

Due to vented storage tanks and humid air, water is also produced from diesel fuel storage. All storage tanks are vented to the outside air, allowing humid air from the outside to circulate continuously. Condensation occurs if the temperature drops by 7 degrees. The air temperature drops at night, and water vapor condenses in the fuel and sinks to the bottom (because water is heavier than fuel).

Multiple surfactants in DEE-water ZOL’s control agent absorb water into the diesel fuel by spreading it in tiny packets. These packets are small enough to pass through injectors and burn in the combustion chamber, releasing steam. If ‘free’ water is pulled into a heated injector, it converts to steam, expands by 40 times its original volume, and can blow out the injector, rendering the vehicle useless.

How can you tell if diesel is bad?

Depending on whether it’s bio-diesel or distillate ULSD diesel, you can only expect diesel fuel to be used for 6 to 12 months. If you’re not sure, here are some signs to look out for.

How do you fix cloudy diesel?

Your fuel should be clean and bright, whether it’s road diesel or red diesel. You should be able to see through it like water, regardless of whether it is yellow or red. If you’ve taken a sample of your gasoline and are wondering why it’s hazy, or even worse, why it’s lost all transparency and is now a milky consistency, you may have a water contamination problem. This article will explain what causes hazy and milky diesel fuel and how to remedy it, as well as how to avoid it from happening again.

So, what causes diesel fuel to look cloudy?

It’s crucial to know the difference between free, suspended, and emulsified fuel to understand why your fuel is milky or foggy.

As you may be aware, fuel can be polluted with water due to rain, humidity, and the natural water content in today’s biodiesel. You may not be aware that water contamination in diesel fuel can take two forms: free versus suspended and emulsified water. So, what’s the distinction?

  • Free water – As the name implies, free water is present in the tank but exists independently of the fuel. It settles to the bottom of the tank, forming a water layer beneath the fuel. The diesel bug thrives here, putting your equipment, vehicles, and engines at risk.
  • Suspended water – Your foggy diesel fuel is now the result of this form of water pollution. Suspended water is water that is bound to the fuel molecules and is mixed in with the fuel, giving it a murky appearance. When the diesel tank becomes too full to hold any more water, it begins to leak free water to the bottom of the tank.
  • Emulsified water – As the fuel passes through pumps and filters, it is subjected to pressure variations, agitation, and strong cavitation, which causes the water content to totally emulsify, turning it from hazy to milky diesel fuel. There is essentially no separation between the fuel molecules and the water content at this point.

If you’ve taken a foggy diesel fuel sample and found it, we recommend taking a sample from the bottom of the tank as well, as you’re likely to have a problem with free water. Both types of water pollution must be addressed immediately, as they can have disastrous consequences such as diesel bug/nasty sludge growth, clogged filters, damaged pumps, engine failure, and fuel system corrosion.

How to fix cloudy diesel fuel?

If you notice milky or hazy diesel fuel, you must act quickly to avoid costly repairs and downtime. But how do you go about doing it?

1. Filters for fuel tanks

Standard fuel tank filters that remove water before it is distributed into your vehicle or equipment are an excellent solution for removing free water, but they do not remove emulsified water. While they are a cost-effective method for dealing with one aspect of fuel pollution, they cannot remove the water that causes your diesel to seem hazy. Furthermore, ordinary gasoline tank filters only address the issue after the fuel has been delivered. They do not alleviate the difficulties associated with diesel bug growth and sludge formation since they do not aim to eliminate the water content while it is resting in the tank.

2. Polishing of the fuel

Fuel polishing is a method of removing cloudiness from diesel fuel. This service is normally performed by a professional on a regular basis and entails withdrawing the fuel from the tank and passing it through highly effective filters that eliminate pollution to EN590 diesel fuel quality standards. Both the free and emulsified water content in the fuel will be reduced to the required 200ppm after fuel polishing. But what happens to your tank’s water content between fuel polishing services?

3. Water absorber for the Aquafighter fuel tank

While alternative diesel tank water absorbers are available, Aquafighter is the only fuel tank water absorber that also eliminates the suspended and emulsified water that creates hazy and milky gasoline.

The beauty of this solution is that all you have to do is drop Aquafighter into a storage tank, genset belly tank, or vehicle fuel tank through the biggest aperture, and the diesel tank water absorber reduces water content levels to less than 75ppm. As a result, the EN590 diesel fuel specifications of 200ppm are met and exceeded. The Aquafighter fuel tank water absorber works in this way to maintain your fuel tank free of water and foggy fuel at all times, without the need to remove the fuel first.

Now that you know what milky or foggy diesel fuel is, you’ll understand why it’s so important and how to address this water pollution side effect before it becomes a major problem.

What does GREY smoke mean?

White smoke indicates that the substance is off-gassing moisture and water vapor, indicating that the fire is only being started. Grey smoke indicates that the fire is dying out and that there are no more materials to burn.