The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Water Contamination Effects on Oil Filters

Oil Contamination Process

The purpose of an oil filter is to remove impurities from different kinds of oils (engine, transmission, hydraulic, and lubricating oils). It’s primarily used in the internal combustion engines of motor vehicles, ships, and aircraft. Oil filters carts are utilized in various types of hydraulic systems such as cars’ power steering and automatic transmission. Apart from these, quality oil filtration systems are also used in gas turbine engines (jet-based aircraft), oil production, and recycling facilities during their manufacturing process.

Oil filtration is highly important for industrial machinery because of the detrimental effects of contamination on lubrication. Without it, the pollutants pile up and the abrasion becomes uncontrolled leading to disrupted lubrication and premature failures of machines. Some of the common types of oil filters are mechanical, cartridge and spin-on, magnetic, sedimentation, centrifugal, and high-efficiency oil purifiers.

These filters are made to cater to the contamination removal needs of specific equipment.  Solid particles are the major pollutants that are targeted by the oil filters but water also has some impurities that are removed by these systems. A filtration apparatus is generally configured and sized to handle the amounts and types of contaminations that are faced by them.

How Contaminated Water Damages the Oil Filter

When undesirable or contaminated water enters the system, it leads to clogging of the filter causing a drastic change in the differential pressure. This ultimately results in putting a strain on the filter component. If this problem is not solved immediately, it causes the filter element to form a bypass gap in the affected media leading to the passing of the unfiltered oil through it.

Water can also damage the oil filter through a process called oxidation. A small amount is always present in oil mainly in the dissolved form, which is sometimes unavoidable. Such a small amount of water doesn’t affect most of the high-quality industrial oil filtration carts and systems. But if the water level surpasses the saturation point, then it can negatively affect the equipment and decrease the performance of the filter.

Water also acts as a medium for the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, which can cause the formation of a corrosive mineral acid called sulphuric acid. When this kind of growth goes uncontrolled for some time, it can lead to corrosive wear and tear, early degradation of lubricant, and decreased filter life.

During the winter season, at subfreezing temperatures, water droplets turn into ice crystals and can cause alarming issues inside the lubricating system. These crystals form a solid contaminant and cause a decrease in the filter’s performance due to clogging. It ultimately results in the rupturing of the oil filter.

How to Manage the Oil Filters

Filter management begins with the selection of a right oil filter based on the needs of the system. If water is a usual source of contamination for your machine, then it’s best to choose the filters that are specially designed to remove large amounts of water.

If you know the ingression points of all kinds of oil contaminants and prevent them from entering the engine, then it will help in increasing the life of the filter, the oil, and the machine. It costs very little to invest in the contaminants’ exclusion from the system than it is to remove them when they have already entered.

Moisture is a very destructive form of contaminant when it comes to oil filters. A differential pressure gauge should be put in place to identify and measure the change in pressure on the “Ins” and “Outs” of the filtration system. It will help in assessing the filter media’s saturation level. The differential pressure should increase over time if the right filter is selected.

Oil filters can be subjected to pollution and it’s a normal process. Solid form of contamination can easily be avoided but the one caused by water becomes very difficult to handle. Get the services of specialized oil filtration system installation and maintenance company in case of complex issues.

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