Diesel exhaust fluid is essential for commercial diesel vehicles, even during cold weather.
Storing diesel exhaust fluid at temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit can cause it to freeze, causing expansion and flow issues.
Use these tips from Blue Network to avoid common storage and handling mistakes for your diesel exhaust fluid.
Your commercial truck needs diesel exhaust fluid, or DEF, to comply with emissions regulations. This fluid is required while driving in any weather condition, but it can become frozen when improperly stored. Find out how to safely store, handle, and deliver DEF to your commercial trucks with professional products from Blue Network.
How Cold Weather Affects Diesel Exhaust Fluid
Diesel fuel may gel when exposed to cold temperatures, but DEF can freeze solid. Even the best diesel exhaust fluid is prone to freezing, so it’s important to understand what this does to your DEF system and how you can keep it safely stored. Frozen DEF has the ability to completely stall your trucking operation in the winter, so be sure your fluid is warm and ready to pump year-round.
Average Freezing Point
The typical DEF freezing point is 12 degrees Fahrenheit, or -11 degrees Celsius. This is lower than the freezing point of water because of the area in the fluid. Unlike certain mixtures and solutions, the water in DEF doesn’t separate as it freezes. This means that the freeze/thaw process and small amounts of frozen DEF in a large container won’t affect the concentration or performance of the fluid. Why does it matter whether it freezes or not? Frozen DEF can affect your ability to pump it into your truck’s selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, system. It can also expand to crack or damage holding tanks on your truck or property.
Lack of Flow Due to Freezing
If you turn on your DEF pump or pick up a container to pour it into your truck’s SCR system, the last thing you want to deal with is a block of ice. Your truck will eventually warm up and melt any
DEF currently in the truck-mounted reservoir, but you won’t be able to fill that reservoir up for a long haul if your stored DEF is frozen solid.
This prevents you from moving DEF from a container to your truck. Attempting to heat the fluid quickly can cause it to become too hot and compromise the area. You can’t run your trucks without DEF due to the emissions concerns, so this situation can prevent you from driving commercial diesel vehicles in cold weather without proper storage solutions.
Damaged Containers Due to Expansion
Containers full of DEF and without the proper heating system can freeze solid and dangerously expand. This fluid can expand by up to seven percent of its liquid volume, so you need to plan on keeping the fluid in a liquid state or leave room for expansion in a tank.
While exploring the best tank for storage, be sure you use stainless steel or HDPE plastic. These materials can help reduce the risk of damage due to expansion, but they also avoid any damage due to the mildly corrosive nature of DEF.
A cracked container can be a costly issue. Not only does this mean you’ll need to invest in a new container, but it could also expose your DEF to direct sunlight or contaminants. This can lead to decomposed urea or contaminated fluid, both of which can make it unusable in your SCR system. Preventing a cracked container is one of the most important steps in safe DEF handling in cold weather.
How to Handle DEF in Cold Weather
Now that you understand some of the dangers related to improper DEF storage in Canada, it’s time to find solutions. At Blue Network, we work with you to create dependable DEF storage and delivery solutions to keep your fleet moving forward.
Choose a Durable Container
Our DEF equipment line can help you properly store DEF to avoid the irritating or dangerous effects of freezing temperatures. Indoor or underground tanks are the most common solution, as these tanks are heated through other sources and remain at a relatively stable temperature.
Another solution is to choose a tank with a heating feature built-in. Work with our team to explore your container options to prevent freezing in the first place.
Don’t Use Additives
Other liquids are kept from freezing with additives. It may seem common sense to add an anti-gel or antifreeze product to a DEF holding tank. Don’t attempt to introduce any additional products to your DEF, either in a holding tank or in your SCR system.
At Blue Network, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality and purity of DEF. Any additives or impurities can damage your SCR system and reduce the efficiency of this emissions reduction setup.
Don’t Worry About Thawing Frozen DEF
You don’t need to worry about your DEF if it’s already frozen. As long as you avoid direct sunlight exposure and review the expiration date, you can safely pump it into your commercial truck.
Review the Expiration Date
Freezing may not harm your DEF, but long-term storage can. Review the expiration date on your DEF container or discuss the date of production with our team at Blue Network. As a leading supplier of diesel exhaust fluid in Canada, we offer long-lasting fluid on a schedule that fits your facility. Discuss your DEF use rate with our team as you schedule a bulk order to avoid using expired fluid. Once expired, the urea degradation can reduce the efficiency of your product.
With proper storage conditions, most DEF can last 12 months before degrading. Always review the expiration date with our team as you schedule a delivery to ensure you’re aware of the timeline of your DEF. We can manage your delivery schedule to be sure you never receive too much DEF to be efficiently used within its expiration date. A conveniently scheduled delivery is just one more benefit of choosing a leading distributor with national coverage.
Avoid Direct Sunlight Exposure
Freezing temperatures may not affect the quality of DEF, but direct sunlight exposure can. Don’t store DEF in direct sunlight, even if frozen. Our storage tank solutions safely protect your product from the effects of sunlight. If stored in direct sunlight, the area will begin to decompose and become ineffective.
Keep Your Fleet Moving with Blue Network Solutions
At Blue Network, we’re committed to keeping your fleet moving. Don’t let frozen DEF put a halt to your transportation needs. Now that you know how to prevent issues with your DEF and diesel in cold weather, work with our team to receive high-quality products at great prices. We also provide the proper storage equipment to prevent freezing issues in the winter.
Get started today to see why we’re a leading distributor across Canada. Whether you’re operating a single truck or a large fleet of diesel trucks, create a distribution schedule that fits your budget and supply needs with our team.
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