How I Know
Diesel-Fuels.com says that “Most Diesel Engine Failures Originate In The Fuel Tank”. CriticalFuel.com says that “From the moment the diesel fuel leaves the refinery, the fuel begins to degrade, and fuel that has been stored for a while will clog filters.” Degraded fuel is a combustible contaminate. When filters get clogged with combustible contaminates fuel will not pass through them and the generator engine will not start or abruptly stop. At that point you have no emergency power, which means you have no critical power.
We refer to combustible contaminates as good contaminates because they are simply fuel that has changed its form and just needs to be changed back. Then there are the non-combustible contaminates that find their way into your fuel and need to be removed. Both of which, if not dealt with, will render your generator useless and possibly damage it.
The primary purpose of this article is to make you aware. I have found that all to many are unaware of this hazard. The subject of fuel contamination is rarely pointed out to new diesel generator owners and facilities managers. On top of that it's one of those 'out of sight out of mind' kind of things. Many end up learning the hard way because generator maintenance personnel and services are also unaware, fail to mention it, or fail to make preventing it part of the generator’s planned preventative maintenance (PPM).
How To Fix (and avoid disaster)
There are two actions you should take to prevent fuel contamination from impacting your generator's ability to provide critical power when needed. They are called fuel cleaning and tank cleaning. If you clean your fuel regularly you will rarely need to clean your tank. Otherwise you will need to clean your tank every time you clean your fuel.
ALERT! . . . Right Way & Wrong Way To Clean Fuel
Be careful how you proceed! There is a right way and a wrong way to clean fuel. To find out which one is the right way see Fuel Polishing vs. Fuel Filtering. It also explains why diesel fuel degrades, why so rapidly, what contaminates are, and more. Hopefully it will help you address your diesel fuel contamination before it’s too late.
While it's very important, tank cleaning is pretty straight forward. The article just mentioned explains the tank cleaning process as well. You just need to find someone who takes pride in doing things right so it gets done right.
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