DEF Tank Heaters: Storage and Beyond
DEF tank heaters are an essential tool for those who operate with and depend on DEF. Whether you are using DEF, transporting it, storing it, or supplying it for others, DEF requires attention and awareness.
DEF is very easy to use and is a harmless substance–it is non-flammable and non-explosive.. It is not a fuel, nor a fuel additive but a high purity urea (urea is a compound of nitrogen that turns to ammonia when heated. It is used in a variety of industries, including as a fertilizer in agriculture) solution that must be used in a dedicated tank on the vehicle. Refill this tank when required. It is classified as a transportable fluid with minimal risk. If you ever spill DEF on your hands, simply wash them thoroughly with water.
Facts about DEF
- DEF is a non hazardous, easy to use operating fluid
- If kept as per the storage guidelines, DEF has a shelf life of up to one year
- Containers should have seals intact
- DEF containers should be kept in clean conditions
No foreign matter, in solid or liquid form should be added to the containers. When topping off the tank, never use other equipment such as funnels, jugs or diesel equipment to refill your vehicle. DEF containers usually contain nozzles to help dispense easily.
Protecting your DEF in storage is very important; however, protecting your DEF from freezing temperatures once it’s in the truck tank becomes equally important. The transportation and commercial trucking industries know just how frustrating it is when DEF freezes in the truck tank.
Innovative truck manufacturers solved the freezing problem by running coolant system through the DEF tank. This works as long as the truck is running. This type of DEF heating solution only works when the engine is running. After parking a truck overnight in cold weather, DEF could freeze up entirely. It could also take as much as thirty minutes to several hours of idling to thaw. Running the truck with frozen DEF will likely trip the sensors too, indicating a false reading within the truck computer and adversely affecting its performance.
Does DEF Freeze?
The freezing point of DEF is 12°F/-11°C. When driving in low temperatures, leave some room in the DEF tank. When water freezes it expands by about 7%. A full tank in freezing weather could result in a cracked tank. When DEF freezes and then thaws there is no degradation of the product.
Troubleshooting Frozen DEF
- Frozen DEF will not inhibit normal vehicle start-up or operation. Most systems have a built-in DEF tank heater that will thaw the fluid during normal vehicle operation. If your vehicle’s SCR has a built-in DEF tank heater, turn the vehicle on to initiate the thawing process.
- In cold weather, when shutting down the vehicle, wait 60 seconds before turning off the battery to allow the fluid to drain back out of the hoses and into the DEF tank.
- No anti-gelling additive or freeze point improver should ever be added to the DEF, as they will impede performance and may damage SCR system components.
- Your vehicle may display an error code when it detects that the DEF is frozen. Check the owner’s manual to determine operational safety of you particular vehicle while the DEF is frozen.
Will Additives/Antifreeze Prevent DEF from Freezing?
Do not add antifreeze to DEF. It is not recommended to add any sort of additive to DEF to prevent freezing. The use of contaminated or non-manufacturer approved DEF may result in costly system repairs. DEF is a mixture of 67.5% de-ionized water and 32.5% purified urea. This ratio is critical because it provides the lowest possible freeze point for the fluid.
DEF Freeze Protection
Storing your truck in a heated or insulated garage during cold periods can help prevent your DEF from freezing. Likewise, an insulated tote blanket can help prevent freezing. Keep an eye on the DEF gauge the same way you watch your fuel gauge. Equipment with low DEF levels will be limited to lower operating speeds until the fluid is replenished.
DEF Tank Heaters for your Truck
Instead of taking a chance with winter, and losing valuable time as a result, trucking companies can turn to Powerblanket for an innovative solution to this dilemma. Powerblanket has developed an insulated heating blanket designed to fit the DEF tanks installed in commercial trucks. These DEF tank heaters offer both insulation and regulated heat that will keep your DEF at the ideal temperature. The Powerblanket DEF tank heater is certified to national and international safety standards and is easy to install, remove, and reinstall.
With options for either AC or DC voltage and the choice of a ten or fifteen-foot cord, our DEF tank heaters are easy to apply on your truck and plug in to keep your DEF warm when the engine isn’t running. So put the worry of frozen DEF aside this winter, and reach out to us for your DEF tank heaters today.
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