5 Tips for Protecting Tanks and Silos from Rust and Corrosion

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Whether they’re used for holding water, storing grain, holding chemicals like oil, storing solvents, or something else, tanks and silos installed outdoors face serious challenges. While they are made from steel and offer good durability, rust and corrosion can quickly set in. While it takes time for rust to eat through a steel silo or tank, it will eventually cause it to fail. That means you’ll need to pay to have the old silo torn down or tank removed, and invest in a new one. Of course, without the right preventative steps, your new equipment will suffer the same fate as your old tank or silo. Thankfully, there are things you can do to protect against rust and corrosion.

  1. Inspect Rigorously

The first tip should actually be the most obvious thing to do – inspect your silos and tanks regularly. While it may take a long time for rust and corrosion to become a major problem, it does not often take long for it to begin forming. By regularly inspecting your equipment, you are able to proactively prepare – you can catch corrosion before it becomes a major issue and then take steps to mitigate its impact.

  1. Recognize the Signs of Impending Damage

It is important that you know the signs to watch for that indicate rust or corrosion is forming. These can include paint bubbling, paint flaking, the appearance of strange bulges below the metal’s finish, and obvious reddish stains on the surface of the metal. Metals other than steel will show signs of corrosion in different ways. For instance, galvanized steel will show whitish stains as the zinc layer is eroded, and then reddish rust will begin to form.

  1. Clean Your Equipment Regularly

Because water is so often related to corrosion, cleaning your silos and tanks may seem counterintuitive. However, by using an industrial cleaning service regularly, you help to remove debris that can adhere to the exterior surface and provide a starting point for rust and corrosion. This is often called “gasket corrosion” because it is frequently seen on steel underneath rubber gaskets, where water and debris are trapped. By cleaning potential debris, you help to alleviate the potential for this to happen.

  1. Prevent Contact with Corrosive Materials

It’s important to understand that steel silos and tanks don’t rust on their own. It requires exposure to corrosive materials, caustic agents, and/or corrosive chemicals. Something as seemingly benign as water, when combined with oxygen, can become corrosive. However, agricultural operations, manufacturing plants, and even farms and ranches often use even more corrosive materials, such as fertilizers, herbicides, ammonia from animal waste, and the like. Minimizing contact with these agents through strategic silo/tank installation, or better land use that moves those chemicals to another area of the operation can help to limit rust and corrosion.

  1. Invest in New Paint

Your silo or tank was likely protected by a layer of paint when it was purchased. Over time, that paint wears out – it oxidizes, or is scraped away by impact with debris. This leaves the metal exposed to the elements, setting up the perfect situation for rust and corrosion to begin. However, repainting your tank or silo can offer many benefits. Modern paint formulations are much stronger and more capable than they were even just a few years ago, and offer very long lifespans. Painting is also one of the most affordable solutions when it comes to rust prevention, and can be combined with rust encapsulation if corrosion has already begun.

Follow these tips and you will have an easier time protecting your investment. Painters USA offers commercial cleaning services as well as commercial cleaning supplies. Contact us today at 1-800-999-8715!