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.