How Do I Keep My DEF Tote From Freezing?

How Do I Keep My DEF Tote from Freezing?

A DEF Tote is a portable solution for handling DEF that fits in the back of a truck bed. It is a combination of a 50 gallon specialized poly tank and a DEF Pumping system.  Many who use DEF store it in totes.  Some store it indoors, while others may keep their DEF outside year round.  DEF, because it is partly water, will freeze when temperatures drop.  Building an outbuilding to store DEF product can cost tens of thousands of dollars and use unnecessary resources. Many facilities also have to pay a premium on space, making indoor storage not feasible for many.  What is the best DEF tank heater for you?

Industries that Rely on DEF

  • Agriculture
  • Truck Stops
  • Chemical Dealers
  • Fuel Distributors
  • Mining
  • Off-Road Construction
  • Cities and Schools
  • Rental Industry
  • Trucking Companies

Tote Heating Options


There are several ways to heat  DEF totes. Heat trace systems, which generally involve some form of heat tape, are costly to repair and replace. Initially inexpensive and available at most hardware stores, convenience is heat tape’s draw.  However, for something as large as a DEF tote, you would need A LOT to fully wrap your tote with heat trace. It doesn’t distribute heat evenly throughout the product either, since the heat is centralized on the tape and doesn’t really radiate. Heat tape is more functional on piping. Heated tape also has issues with wet weather conditions, leading to the expense of scraping it off and reinstalling new tape.

thermal image showing uneven hot spots on band heater


Electric heat blankets are typically a better option, but can be expensive to run, and traditional models still leave hot and cold spots. By looking at thermal imaging of the majority of heated blankets, you can see products run the risk of scalding or partially freezing.

Powerblanket DEF Tote Heaters

Thermal Image of Powerblanket's Even Heat DistributionPowerblanket recognized the flaws of other heating methods and wanted to create a better solution. Powerblanket DEF Totes are built on years of innovation.  Each blanket spreads heat evenly, covering the entire surface area of the DEF tote. They are cost-efficient and safe.

Freezing is one of DEF’s (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) bigger problems. DEF is made up of a 32.5% urea solution and 67.5% de-ionized water and it may freeze at temperatures at or below 12°F. However, keeping the frost at bay is as easy as 1, 2, industrial electric blanket.

Storing and dispensing DEF in cold areas presents many challenges. DEF storage containers range from two-and-a-half gallon jugs to bulk systems that hold anywhere from 300 to 4000 U.S. gallons. Because these will freeze in cold weather, they need protection.  Additionally, if you’re using dispensers like a DEF pump or an electric tote pump, your product can freeze in the pump and hose. This prevents dispensing –even if the fluid in the container hasn’t frozen yet.

“Upon implementing our new DEF system to stay compliant with EPA regulations, Powerblanket provided an effective and energy efficient freeze protection system with its DEF Tote Heater System.  We installed the unit and forgot about it, because we know our product is protected,” said Jerri Brumfield.

Powerblanket DEF Tote HeatersDEF Tote Heater

Heating the containers with a DEF Tote Heater saves time and energy by only heating the unit and not an entire building. You will want to find a DEF Tote Heater that:

  1. Protects the pump and hose.
  2. Fully wraps around the entire tote and dispensing unit.
  3. Keeps the DEF at its optimal temperature while factoring in heat loss from wind and cold temperatures.
  4. Evenly heats so the DEF is not overheated in patches or left unprotected.
  5. Utilizes a thermostatic controller to monitor and maintain the proper temperature.

Also look for similar solutions if you keep your DEF stored in:

  • 330 gallon IBC Totes
  • 275 gallon IBC Totes
  • 55 gallon drums
  • 30 gallon drums
  • 15 gallon drums
  • 5 gallon drums

For more information about Heavy-Duty Highway Diesel Program visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information about Powerblanket’s DEF tank heaters, call 844.224.5915 or email us at [email protected].


The Powerblanket DEF tank heater is the most efficient and effective way to heat and store diesel exhaust fluid.


Shelby Thompson

Shelby Thompson is the head of standard product sales for Powerblanket. He has a distinguished military career, having served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In his time in the Marines, Shelby acquired an impressive skillset that he now uses in his current role. When he's not working, Shelby loves spending time outdoors with his wife, son, and daughter. He is also a semi-keen hunter, fair weather fisherman, and shooter. Unfortunately, Shelby also has something of an unlucky streak when it comes to Fantasy Football at the company.