Storing Fuel Over the Winter: Top 3 Tips – Now that the weather in the Northeast is starting to get bitter cold, you may be looking ahead through the next few months to plan how you will heat your home. It’s not cheap to keep your home warm till spring, what with rising fuel prices. If you’re thinking of storing fuel at your house, keep these three factors in mind before you do this, as you need to preserve fuel properly so it doesn’t spoil or freeze.
1. Decide on Container and Tank Material
Which material will you use for your tank or container? Both plastic and metal have benefits and drawbacks.
- Metal containers are more expensive than plastic. They also conduct heat, which means they’re dangerous to handle if they aren’t properly insulated.
- Metal containers may rust or corrode with exposure to untreated fuel.
- Plastic containers, while lighter and cheaper options, aren’t as durable as metal and tend to break down over time with sunlight or high temperature exposure.
- Metal containers are more durable and are able to withstand higher temperatures than their plastic counterparts.
- Metal won’t warp or deform over time, so it’s better for long-term storage.
2. Clean the Container and Tank
It’s important to prepare your tanks for the new fuel before you add anything to them. Because the presence of dirt, debris, or water can result in issues if the fuel freezes, you’ll have to clean the containers and tanks.Store the containers and tanks in a warm area to keep the fuel from freezing. If this isn’t possible, add insulation to the tank or container to reduce the chance of heat loss. Be sure to fill the containers and tanks as much as you can, as a full tank or container reduces the amount of air inside. Too much air leads to condensation, and thus water in the fuel.
3. Apply Fuel Additives
Research which additives will help you preserve quality through the winter months, depending on what kind of fuel you decide to use. Less volatile than gasoline, diesel fuel won’t evaporate as much or as quickly. It also gives you more fuel flow consistency to your generator. On top of that, diesel won’t condense as readily on cold surfaces. However, both fuel types will need additives such as fuel stabilizers, anti-freeze and anti-gel, with gasoline requiring more additives than diesel.
Fuel expiration is the biggest challenge associated with storing gasoline in the winter. Fuel freezing is another big challenge.
- Fuel stabilizers will prevent the fuel from breaking down, forming gums and sediments that can clog fuel lines.
- Anti-gel prevents fuel from gelling in cold weather
- Anti-freeze prevents the formation of ice in the fuel tank.