Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: What is Clean Fuels National?
Clean Fuels National (CFN) is an Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) and Underground Storage Tank (UST) fuel cleaning company.
Question 2: Who is Clean Fuels National?
CFN is a family owned and operated corporation with over 17 years of experience in the petroleum industry. We are the largest company in the country with a focused specialization in fuel filtration and tank cleaning. In addition, CFN is the number one choice for top fuel retailers and fleets across the United States. Moreover, we offer the peace of mind that comes from doing business with a family-owned company: a company that both recognizes and understands the importance of protecting your business’s name and professional reputation.
Question 3: How often should I be changing the filters at the pump?
Typically, every 10 to 12 months. Of course, circumstances may vary contingent upon the monthly volume of fuel being dispensed. However, if you notice that you are suddenly changing filters more often, there is likely a problem.
Question 4: Why am I plugging filters so often?
There are a number of variables leading to your frequency of filters plugging. That said, a few of the more common items at play here are: dirt or rust that has reached a problematic level; tank wall deterioration; microbial growth and their byproducts; recent use of a biocide without cleaning the tank; switching from regular fuel to an ethanol blend; or poor tank maintenance. (See our Preventative Maintenance page.) If you are plugging filters at a higher than typical rate, contamination is that much closer to the customer’s automobile, to your fleet of vehicles, and, further, that much closer to damaging your reputation as a quality fuel provider or reliable fleet.
Question 5: Don’t filters catch all contamination that may be in the fuel?
It is true that dispenser filters are designed to catch most of the fuel contamination before reaching a vehicle. Unfortunately, when gasoline and diesel filters become clogged, the particulates essentially get pushed through the filters along with the fuel. These tiny particles, when pushed through a fuel dispenser, then enter a vehicle and lead to engine damage. In essence, dispenser filters are the last line of defense. When filters begin failing, there is nothing protecting engines from the contaminants that caused the problem to begin with.
CFN focuses on cleaning the tank and the fuel prior to it reaching the dispenser filter. Clogging filters is clear evidence of a problem within a tank. In order to remedy that problem, the CFN team of technicians get to the root of the problem and correct it.
Question 6: Why should I have my tanks cleaned?
You should clean your tanks to ensure a quality fuel product is being dispensed. Regular maintenance helps avoid expensive repairs to your pump or meter equipment and prevents the headache of frequent—and costly—filter changes. Further, contaminated fuel puts you at risk for equipment failure, fines, state shut-downs, lost revenue and lost efficiency.
Question 7: What if I don’t own the tanks?
If this is the case, you should talk to the company who does own the tanks and ask what steps you should be taking. Of course, this question needs to follow with another question: Who will the customer blame when his or her car doesn’t make it off the lot? Important questions for sure.
Question 8: Is a VAC truck an option?
A VAC truck is valuable when used properly; however, it is not an effective or efficient tank and fuel cleaning option. It is true that VAC trucks can remove water from a tank; but they cannot treat microbial growth, remove particulate or check the condition of your equipment. True, VAC trucks are a useful tool; however, not a solution in and of themselves.
Question 9: How does CFN clean a tank?
CFN’s proprietary cleaning process aggressively agitates the tank contents, running the fuel through a multi-level system of filtration. Once completed, the now clean fuel is returned to your tank under pressure using our fuel jetting technology. The fuel is cycled through this system until a clean, clear and bright product is obtained. Essentially, we use the fuel in the tank to more or less clean the tank. No chemicals, water, or foreign products are added to your tank.
Question 10: Will I lose product during the cleaning process?
No, only contaminate and unusable fluids are lost. Water, sludge and particulate are the only fluids lost during this process.
Question 11: What else is done during the cleaning process?
During the cleaning process, all tank accesses are inspected and cleaned. In addition, your monitoring equipment is cleaned, the STP is inspected, cleaned and the seals are replaced. Tank caps are inspected, gaskets are checked and, if needed, wells are emptied. Additionally, filters can be changed, if necessary. Lastly, a Post-Service Report (PSR) is generated and made available to the customer via an emailed hyperlink, detailing the work completed and documenting any additional work needing attention.
Question 12: When should my tanks be cleaned?
Your tank should be cleaned when a dangerous level of contaminate is present or whenever indicators alert you to potential problems—potential problems being slow dispenser flow, frequent filter changes, foul or discolored fuel, or contaminated tank-bottom samples. Ideally, a tank is cleaned before serious problems occur: the foundational importance of a preventative maintenance program.
Question 13: How long does the cleaning process typically take?
Two and a half hours is our average time to clean a tank. That said, varying however, different contamination ratings could either speed up this time or slow it down. Of course, regardless of the level of contamination, our prices do not change. The goal is a clean product and a clean tank, and we will make sure the job is done right—and done right the first time.
Question 14: How often should my tanks be cleaned?
Your tanks should be cleaned either whenever they have reached an unacceptable level of contamination, or every one to two years as a preventative maintenance measure. Our Fuel Quality Testing division (FQT) can help you determine the health of your fuel supply and serves as a reliable measure of how often you need to have your tanks cleaned and fuel filtered.
Question 15: Can new tanks be contaminated?
ABSOLUTELY. Having a new tank in the ground does not mean you do not have contamination. CFN has found many new tanks holding dirt and debris stemming from the construction and installation process. In addition, many new tanks are ballasted with water which initiates corrosion to new components in a tank. We recommend cleaning the tank after the ballast has been removed and before any product is dispensed. CFN assists customers in knowing that clean fuel is being dispensed - even at a store's grand opening.
Question 16: Where does the contamination come from?
Contamination may stem from leaky tank entrances, plugged vents, broken vent covers, caustic fuel, microorganisms, neglect, and fly-by-night bargain carriers. Moreover, even small amounts of water can harbor microbial growth that accelerates corrosion, leading to equipment breakdown.
Question 17: How is contamination located?
CFN uses what is called a “bacon bomb” or “sample thief” to take a bottom sample from your fuel tanks at all accesses. If there is contamination hiding in your system, we will find it.
Question 18: What level of contamination is unacceptable?
CFN believes an unacceptable contamination level is the presence of any contamination. Obviously, contamination that is plugging filters and damaging equipment is beyond unacceptable. But by monitoring your fuel supply, we can help prevent you from expensive equipment repairs and state shut downs.
Question 19: How often should my tank bottoms be tested?
Your tank bottoms should be tested every quarter. It is a misconception that higher volume fuel operations need fewer tank inspections, because even high-volume fuel operations may get contaminated fuel and fuel tanks. Conversely, lower volume distribution locations can go slightly longer without an inspection although this is not recommended. Either way you look at it, a neglected tank can harbor serious problems.
Question 20: Is Clean Fuels National a maintenance company?
No. Given your maintenance needs, however, CFN can and will point you in the right direction for maintenance providers in your area. We pride ourselves on being a resource for our customers.
Question 21: How do I know if my tank is clean when you are done?
In order to guarantee your tanks are sufficiently cleaned, our technicians will continually take bottom samples of your tank until clean samples are achieved. Naturally, this clean fuel guarantee is completed in front of the customer, manager, or any owner-approved employee. The reason we return the contents of the tank under pressure is twofold: first, it allows us to utilize our patent-pending fuel jetting technology to clean the interior of the tank with the fuel itself; second, the aggressive agitation stirs up all the sludge and debris which may be lurking within the tank itself. The result is the cleanest fuel possible. In other words, we are not finished until a clean, clear and bright product is obtained. Further, a picture of these before and after fuel samples is included in our Post-Service Report (PSR) which is provided for our customers’ records. We stand by our work, every time, every day.
Question 22: If contamination is on the bottom of my tanks and the motor is not on the bottom, what harm does it do?
Some contamination does not settle but stays suspended in the fuel. Therefore, each and every time you receive a delivery, your tank bottom becomes part of the fuel supply. In other words, contamination at the bottom of your tank does not stay at the bottom of your tank.
Question 23: What water level in my tank is unacceptable?
Biologically, less than one millimeter of water can support microbiological life. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative to maintain a dry, clean tank. Further, once microbial growth begins to flourish, the quality of your fuel and the integrity of your equipment is at risk. In the event water infiltration does occur, CFN can help!
Question 24: How can water be in my tank if the monitor detects zero water?
Lower levels of water will not always register on a monitor. Because the monitor only checks one four-inch opening, you still need to check all accesses to the tank with water paste; or else for ethanol using a water-detecting solution known as SARgel, including under the STP. Moreover, small amounts of water, enough to harbor microbial growth, can hide in areas other than underneath the monitor.
Question 25: What exactly is microbiological growth, algae, bugs, or HUM bugs?
HUM bugs or Hydrocarbon Utilizing Microorganisms, are naturally occurring organisms that utilize the carbon in fuel as a food source. Some are fungus, some are bacteria—all are destructive. HUM Bugs live between the water and fuel layer, and, as with all organisms, they produce waste resulting in an acidic sludge.
This acidic waste eats seals, corrodes metal and makes fuel unusually caustic. HUM bugs enter your product supply through vents, fills, and transports; if you have water you will have bugs. It seems that algae are a fairly recent issue, and, as such, experts seem divided on determining the cause. There are organisms that prefer diesel, some that prefer gasoline, some that even prefer to live off the vapors from ethanol blended fuels. These organisms live off fuel and that is their preferred food source. Once they are in your tank, the tank must be treated.
Question 26: What kills HUM bugs?
There are many brands of biocide on the market that will kill HUM bugs. But, as with anything, you must look at the product’s track record and pedigree and then weigh the difference between effectiveness record and cost. CFN is a distributor of Valvtect Bioguard TM ULS Micro-biocide as well as BioGuard Plus 6 for use after a tank has been cleaned and the fuel restored. With our expertise, we can recommend a product and a program that is right for your fuel application.
Question 27: How do I get Biocide?
Give us a call: 260-346-2500
Question 28: What preventative measures can I take?
The first and foremost approach is making sure all caps are secure and not damaged. Of course, keep water out of your tank—that means keeping it out of your sumps, thus ensuring all tank accesses are in good condition. From there, give CFN a call to find a program that is right for you.
Question 29: What is CFN’s service area?
Coast to coast (some trip allowances may apply).
Question 30: What is your policy on the customer’s right to privacy?
Your site and tank information is only discussed between us—you, the customer, and CFN. Therefore, confidentiality is held in the highest regard. As a family-owned company, we understand the importance of reputation. It isn’t just your good name on the line, it’s ours as well.