What Happens If Water Gets In Diesel Fuel?

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 fuel 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.

What do you do if you get water in your diesel?

If the sample verifies the presence of water in the fuel, work with your fuel source to empty the tank and remove all of the water. Remember that it’s better to pump out too much water than not enough water to ensure that the water is eliminated.

Can water damage a diesel engine?

Corrosion: One of the most typical reasons of injector difficulties is corrosion. Water corrodes both ferrous and non-ferrous metals when it reacts with acids in the fuel. This is exacerbated by abrasion, which exposes new metal surfaces that are easily corroded. The injector on the right was brand new when fitted, however it broke after only 300 hours owing to fast corrosion.

Abrasion: Because water has a lesser viscosity than diesel, it provides less of a lubricating “cushion” between moving parts’ opposing surfaces. As a result, the abrasive wear increases.

Water-induced fuel breakdown produces hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid, which “devour” metal surfaces, causing etching.

How do you get water out of a diesel fuel tank?

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!

How can you tell if there is water in your diesel?

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.

Does Diesel 911 Remove water?

Diesel 911 is the product that diesel-engine operators call when they have a fuel emergency, as the name implies. Water is the most common problem in diesel fuel, and it can lead to microbiological growths, rust or accelerated corrosion, a reduction in the lubricating qualities of the fuel, injector nozzle damage, and, in the winter, fuel-filter ice, among other things.

Diesel 911 Features:

  • Diesel with a very low sulfur content (ULSD) Sulfur content in Compliant is less than 15 parts per million (ppm).
  • No tow truck is required to reliquefy gelled petroleum in minutes. Water is removed from the fuel system, extending the life of fuel filters, injection pumps, and injectors.
  • Fuel injectors and pumps are protected from accelerated wear from Low and Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuels because it contains Slickdiesel for maximum fuel lubrication.
  • Contains the non-harmful alcohols that diesel engine manufacturers recommend for removing water from diesel fuel systems.
  • Does not drop the flash point of No. 2 diesel fuel below the ASTM minimum requirement when used as indicated.

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.

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.

How does water affect diesel fuel and how is the water removed?

When water-contaminated diesel fuel is pumped from a fuel tank, the water appears as visible floating droplets that are relatively straightforward to separate from the fuel with a good fuel/water separator.

How does water get into diesel?

Because diesel fuel, unlike gasoline, has no vapor pressure to displace air, water condensation is constantly present in diesel fuel tanks. When the air inside a fuel tank warms up, it expands and is driven out. Humid air is pulled back into the tank as it cools at night, and water condenses on the cooler tank walls. (This is one reason why diesel fuel tanks should be kept as full as possible.)

Does water go to the bottom of diesel?

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.