Water in Oil

Jan 31, 2014 | condition monitoring, oil analysis, oil sampling

Hello again Tech Bloggers,

Lets kick off today with some tips on what we should do when we find Water in Oil.

How many of you have taken a sample and noticed that the sample does not look right? it may look milky or cloudy, or you may even visibly see free water sitting in the bottom of your sample bottle. I have come across this on numerous occasions and in many locations. So what do we do when we find this type of abnormality? don’t be shy, post your comments below and lets discuss this.

How many of you have sent the sample to the lab waiting to confirm or waiting to find out how much water is in the oil? This is a typical mistake made by many, if you noticed the oil sample contained water then why wait for a response just to confirm what you already know? By waiting for a response you have simply delayed things and allowed the oil to dramatically break down by this contaminant even further, this may have caused serious internal damage by prolonging the entire process.

If you were lucky enough to send your sample away to Techenomics, then you should have had a response within 24 hours, dependent on courier times of course, but if you happened to send it to OEM labs or simular, you may have had to wait up to 3-7 days for your results, that’s a staggering amount of time for the oil to break down and cause further unwanted damage to internals.

I am not saying that you should not send the sample away for oil analysis, you must so that history may be kept and the sample can be checked for other abnormalities. Trending will highlight this and you will be notified in your reports.

In the meantime, we do not need to wait for laboratory results to confirm water you have visually seen, if there is water in the oil then actions need to be taken. Now if you found free water, then this is serious, the equipment needs to be taken out of production immediately and the source of the water needs to be found, check your breathers and ensure that they are not broken or contain water, if so then replace them and fix the water issue. Check the seals around the compartment for gaps, torn or broken seals and ensure they are replaced if found to be defective. If the compartment has a filter then this will need to be replaced as it will contain water ingress. Last of all, change the oil and ensure the new oil does not already contain water, if it happens to already look milky or you can see water, then trace the oil back to where the water ingress first starts, normally you can tap off the water from bulk tanks and check service carts as they too have a tendency to get water ingress,  find the cause and fix it.

If you have found slightly emulsified water then taking it out of production may not be so urgent, these calls can only be made by superiors that look after the equipment. However, the equipment will still need to be scheduled in for service or repairs sooner than later and the same issues will need to be looked at to find and rectify the cause.

Let us know if you are experiencing water issues in your oil, were keen to hear about this.

Remember, we are your partners in Condition Monitoring and are here to help.   

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