Fuel Testing Basics

microbial detection

Fuel testing is the only way to accurately verify fuel quality. There are many types of field tests and equipment available to identify problems. Field testing with instant or near instant results can provide a quick and responsive method for monitoring fuel quality. There are value tests available to measure water in ppm, acid number, microbial contamination and ethanol presence. There is also portable equipment designed to measure particulate contamination, water content, octane and cetane. The downside to the equipment is the cost.

  • Acid Number, Ethanol Presence and Water detections test kits are available that provide results within ten minutes for under $20.
  • Microbial Test kits take 48-72 hours to culture but cost less than $20. There are instant result test kits but they are much more expensive, priced over $175.
  • Particulate Counters are available to test fuel inline while filtering or portably from sample bottles. Results are instant and ISO certifiable for those critical applications.
  • Relative Humidity Sensors are also an option on the particle counters. They measure water in fuel.
  • Octane and Cetane Test Equipment are available but expensive to own.
  • Visual sampling is very important. Taking good bottom samples on a weekly basis can provide valuable information on what is taking place inside the tank.

Check out Dixon’s Online Store to order your supply of field fuel testing kits. They are simple to use and inexpensive. Consider the problem with bad fuel.  By simply testing your fuel you can avoid major expenses.

Testing Fuel for Acidity

acid number test

Acidity is one of the major indicators of diesel fuel quality. Diesel fuel that has degraded will have a higher acidity level and be out of spec. Understandably, high acidity damages both dispensing equipement and engines. Common damage includes pitted fuel injectors and premature failure of fuel system components.

An easy and inexpensive way to determine the acidity of your fuel is to field test it with one of Dixon’s field test kits. Order a simple Acid Field Test Kit today from Dixon Pumps Cleaning and Filtration online store. The test is easy to use and results are instant.

It Starts with a Sample

65-00100-1Fuel quality management does not just happen. It starts with a sample. Unless you know what is in your tank, it is impossible to manage its quality. The first defense against fuel quality issues is regular sampling. Ideally, take a good bottom sample from the lowest access point in the tank at least once a week – more often if deliveries are made.  If the sample is visually clear and free of water or large contaminants you can breath a little easier.  However, clear fuel does not necessarily mean clean fuel.  Because contaminates can be microscopic and still cause damage, they may not be easily seen with the eye.

field testsTesting can also be periodically done to rule out any additional issues that might not be visible to the eye during sampling. There are economical field tests available that can detect water, acid level, ethanol and bacteria. Lab testing is also an option. While more expensive, it will provide a more detailed analysis of the fuel.  For critical applications, this if very important.

Check out Dixon Pumps Online Store for easy ordering of fuel samplers, fuel test kits and other fuel quality management accessories. If you have a question, email us at dixon@dixonpumps.com or give us a call at 1-800-874-8976.

Don’t Be Confused

It has become common to refer to fuel filtration or fuel polishing as tank cleaning. Don’t be confused! They are two different processes.

Fuel filtration, often referred to as fuel polishing, involves to cleaning of the liquid only. While there is some benefit to the cleanliness of the tank below the liquid level, it is not tank cleaning and should not be referenced as such.

Tank cleaning is most often one of two processes. The first involves manned or robotic entry into a tank amd includes the use of high pressure devices and scrappers to remove slug and mass contaminates.

The second involves the use of high pressure jet nozzles that are lowered into the tank. They rotate on a timing gear and clean the tank without manned entry. These devices are generally preferred over manned entry due to the reduced liability associated with a person enter a confined space.

Dixon Pumps is one of very few companies that offers a portable system that does both filtration and tank cleaning. So don’t be fooled by others that only do one or the other.

Dixon’s high quality cleaning and filtration systems are manufactured in the United States and made with ease of use and safety in mind.

Check out our systems at http://www.dixonpumps.com.

Dixon’s New CleanFuel Blog

Dixon-Logo-2 newFollow our Blog!!!!

Dixon Pumps is excited to invite you to follow our new CleanFuel Blog.  There is a lot of talk about fuels today – how to maintain and properly store them. Make CleanFuel your source for information.  Communicate with our cleaning and filtration experts and see what is new in the world of fuel and tank cleaning.

Removing Water from Fuel

coalescenceA two stage filtration system should be used where the maximum amount of water removal is required. The system also allows for fine contaminant removal. Clean and dry fuel is a must and it is accomplished by coalescing the fine droplets of water found in fuel and separating them from the product stream.

The image above illustrates the progression of the product stream through coalescer media. The emulsion is broken apart, filtering the solids, then forcing the minute water particles to coalesce (to consolidate or join up) into larger droplets. Gravity pulls the larger droplets to the bottom of the filter housing allowing it to be drained off during filtration. This is the first of two phases.


The second phase involves separation. A Teflon coated water separator filter, like the one above, is used to repel fine droplets of water that happen to remain from coalescence. This second stage acts as a secondary back-up forcing the water out of the product flow – not allowing it to pass through with the fuel. It works because Teflon is hydrophobic (literally, afraid of water). The water repels off of the coated separator and falls down to the bottom of the filter housing where it can be drained off leaving the fuel clean and dry.

When looking for a filtration system, look for ones that provide the efficiency of coalescing and water separation. Dixon’s new filtration designs include the technology.