by Ron – Author of “Off Grid and Free-My Path to The Wilderness”
I want to thank MD and all the wonderful people who read my first post and made such thoughtful comments last week. All of you have made me feel welcome here. Thank you!
I had lots of questions which have given me good ideas on things I can write about for future posts. One of the questions dealt with fuel and it’s storage.
Long ago, I had questions myself in regards to fuel storage and did lots of research on the topic. I found a lot of confusing information and nothing really definitive. Depending on the source, there was a wide array of viewpoints on the subject.
What I will do is simply pass on to you what works for us. Because we are a fly in location only (via float plane) and we only shop and get supplied twice a year, we need to inventory a lot of things, including fuel. The three fuels we have here are diesel, gasoline and a small quantity of kerosene. The kerosene is for a small kerosene heater used in the greenhouse in spring.
Equipment we have here includes a small 6KW single cylinder diesel generator and gasoline powered chainsaw, brush cutter, rototiller, brush chipper, Honda water pump, ice auger, boat motor and snowmobile.
I hate to make this so simple but… we do very little special with our fuel as far as storage itself. I’ve heard and read the arguments that gasoline must be used within a certain period of time or it goes bad, gets stale, loses octane, won’t run equipment well etc.
I have no problem taking one to three year old gasoline and using it in any piece of equipment I have. Every piece of equipment runs like a top. Same applies to the diesel. I’ve tried gasoline additives and have found them to be of no value. Please keep in mind, this is what works for us.
So let’s get to the finer points. All gasoline is stored in RED 5 gallon plastic jerry cans. All plastic cans are sealed tight and are stored in a shed out of sunlight. I think those are three important points. Airtight, out of the sun and plastic containers. We have some radical temperature extremes and I think the plastic containers help keep any condensation in check.
Diesel is shipped in in either a 55 gallon drum or YELLOW 5 gallon plastic jerry cans. The same air tight, out of the sun stored in the storage shed applies to the diesel. The exception to the diesel storage is I have built a stand where a 55 gallon drum rests on it’s side in a cradle. This setup is for diesel storage for more immediate use. The drum is positioned so the ¾” pipe bung is down and I have a filter housing with 10 micron filter and shut off valve. I favor a filtration unit that has a clear bowl so I can visually see any water accumulation. This unit should also have a small valve at the bottom of the bowl to be able to bleed that water out. All diesel is filtered through this setup before ever going into the generator. The generator also has it’s own 5 micron filtration as well. With any of our fuel storage, my biggest concern is fuel contamination, whether dirt or water.
It’s hard not to take note of the color specification for the storage containers. I’ve put the colors in capital letters as they are a very important component of proper fuel storage. I’ve worked in remote exploration camps where hundreds of drums of fuel are stored in berms along with many additional 5 gallon jerry cans of both diesel and gasoline. In theory, 55 gallon drums have a yellow or red band to signify what type of fuel it contains, or is marked appropriately, but many times, the drums are sent out to be refilled, flown back in and then at that point, it’s a guessing game. Is it really gas or diesel?
Save yourself some grief. You never want to take a stab at guessing what fuel you are putting into a gasoline powered piece of equipment or diesel engine. Yes, I have done the feel and sniff test and lit a little on a small wad of napkin to see how flammable it is. I’ve always been right, but all it takes is that one time to be wrong and it’s lights out. Ask the guy in camp how his diesel truck ran when he filled it with gas. Not terribly well.
A couple of final points. If you are storing significant quantities of fuel, regardless of whether it is legally required in your area or not, please consider storing it in a berm, something that will catch and contain any spill should it ever occur. Whenever possible, I fuel up equipment using a funnel with a fine paint filter to catch any course junk in the containers. I do randomly use a small quantity of gas line antifreeze (based on isopropyl alcohol) generally in the winter. Good luck!
Ron and his wife currently live 100 miles in the Canadian wilderness on a remote lake. As part of the back to the land movement that originated in the 70’s, they have spent their adult years living the homestead dream. You can follow and contact Ron at https://www.facebook.com/offgridandfree.mypathtothewilderness or http://www.inthewilderness.net/