In harsh and cold weather conditions, diesel generators can provide you with a continuous and stable power supply whenever there is a power outage.
Therefore it is necessary to perform a comprehensive performance check on the generator before the arrival of cold weather. Following the correct steps for using a diesel generator in harsh and cold weather conditions can ensure that your generator operates properly, helping you maintain warmth and lighting in your home. In this article, we will discuss the key factors to consider when selecting and using a diesel generator in cold climates.
1. Choosing the right diesel generator size & configuration.
When selecting a diesel generator for use in cold climates, it is essential to consider its cold-weather performance. Look for generators that are specifically designed for cold weather use, with features such as cold start capability, heaters, and battery warmers. These features will ensure that the generator starts reliably in cold temperatures and operates efficiently.
Meanwhile, cold weather can increase the demand for power due to heating systems and other electrical appliances, so it is crucial to choose a generator with sufficient capacity to handle the load. Usually, we advise to extra reserve 10% to 15% power for emergency purposes. Such as, if your plan to purchase a generator set is 30kW, consider using it in the winter or cold weather, 35kW to 40kW will be much better.
#2 Check the Diesel Fuel
In cold weather, diesel fuel can thicken and become gel-like, which can clog fuel lines and filters, leading to engine failure. To prevent this, it is essential to use winter-grade diesel fuel, which is formulated to withstand low temperatures. Winter-grade diesel has a lower cloud point and contains additives that improve its cold-weather performance.
It is also important to store diesel fuel properly in cold weather. Keep the fuel tank full to minimize condensation, which can lead to water contamination. Consider using fuel additives designed to prevent gelling and improve cold weather performance.
#3 Check the Radiator System
When a diesel generator is not in use for an extended period, it is indeed essential to consider the maintenance of the cooling system. Replacing the coolant in the radiator with winter-grade antifreeze is a crucial step to prevent freezing in cold weather. Freezing of the cooling system can lead to the inlet and outlet pipes of the radiator being frozen, which can affect the proper operation of the generator. Therefore, ensuring the presence of winter-grade antifreeze in the cooling system is a key preventive measure to safeguard the generator’s cooling system from the impact of cold weather.
#4 Use Low-Temperature Generator Set Controller
If the ambient temperature falls below -10 degrees Celsius, it is advisable to use a low-temperature generator set controller. Walt Power uses SmartGen and Deep Sea controllers, their specialized controller is designed to ensure the proper functioning of the generator in extremely cold conditions. It helps to manage various aspects such as starting the generator, monitoring engine performance, and regulating functions to address the challenges posed by very low temperatures. By utilizing a low-temperature controller, the diesel generator can be better equipped to operate reliably and efficiently in harsh cold weather environments.
#5. Use the right kind of oil
The temperature is low which causes the oil to become too thick and unable to lubricate the engine components as needed. This is because the viscosity of the oil affects how easily it flows and lubricates the engine parts, and in very cold temperatures, thicker oil can become too viscous and cause issues with starting and running the generator.
Walt Power’s Generators can generally use 30W, 10W-30, or 5W-30 conventional or synthetic engine oils. But if you’re using 10W-30 engine oil in your generator, you could start to experience problems when temperatures dip below 0°F. In below-freezing temperatures, 5W-30 oil is recommended.
#6 Check the Battery Capacity
Accelerated battery consumption in low temperatures. The same goes for generator batteries if they’re exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods. Using a battery tender while your generator is in storage can help preserve its battery life, so it’s charged and ready to go when you need it. But keep in mind that most 12V batteries only have a shelf life of a few years, so you’ll need to replace yours at some point. Equip with a battery warmer can help extend its capacity in extremely cold temperatures.
#7 Ensure that the operational area is free of snow
Snow accumulation around the generator can hinder its ventilation. As with any weather conditions, ensure the area where the generator is being used is properly ventilated and free from snow, leaves, or any other obstructions that could block the generator vents. Maintain adequate ventilation.
#8 Operate the generators outdoors
Even though it may be tempting to use your generator in a warmer area such as a basement, it is crucial to never operate a generator indoors. Regardless of how well-ventilated the space may seem, doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning for you and others. To prevent fumes from entering indoors, your Walt Power generator should be positioned at least 20 feet away from any doors or windows. In addition to exhaust concerns, operating a generator inside also increases the risk of overheating, which poses a significant fire hazard.
#9. Check the Generator Before Starting
Before starting your generator, ensure to inspect for any leaks or damage that require attention. Although this may extend the time spent in the cold, it’s essential to prevent potential issues.
#10 Ensure Your Generator Has Adequate Warm-Up Time
The amount of time required for a generator to warm up can vary depending on various factors such as the outdoor temperature, the engine type of your generator, the type of fuel source you’re using, and your power output requirements. Different generators may have different recommendations, ranging from several minutes to several hours to reach the optimal operating temperature.
#11 Check the Generator Regularly
Regularly inspecting and maintaining your generator according to the manual’s recommendations allows you to identify repair needs early, preventing them from escalating into more serious and costly issues. This proactive approach ensures that your generator won’t hinder you when you need it most.
Key maintenance tasks include:
√.Changing the oil as required
√.Cleaning and re-oiling the air filter
√.Using a fuel stabilizer for short-term storage
√.Cleaning other generator components as necessary
√.Addressing issues related to rust, leaks, or corrosion
Similar attention should be given to preparing your generator for long-term storage. With proper preventative maintenance, you can reduce the risk of your generator developing problems while in storage.
#12 Run your generator periodically
Running your generator regularly helps keep its many parts well-lubricated and in good working order. It’s generally recommended that you run your generator at least once every three months. Still, in conditions of extreme cold, it may be helpful to run it for a brief amount of time every few weeks—especially if you anticipate needing to use it shortly.
Proper maintenance and preparation are crucial for the reliable operation of a diesel generator in cold weather. Before the onset of winter, perform a thorough inspection of the generator, including checking the battery, fuel system, and electrical components. Replace any worn or damaged parts, and ensure that all connections are secure.
In addition, consider installing a cold weather kit, which may include items such as engine block heaters, battery warmers, and fuel line heaters. These accessories can help improve the cold weather performance of the generator and ensure reliable operation.
In conclusion, selecting and using a diesel generator in cold weather requires careful consideration and preparation. By choosing a generator with cold-weather features, using winter-grade diesel fuel, and following proper maintenance and operating procedures, you can ensure the reliable performance of the generator in cold climates. Prioritizing safety and following all manufacturer guidelines will help to ensure the safe operation of the generator in cold weather.
Ensure Uninterrupted Power Supply With A Walt Power Diesel Generator
When winter weather leads to power outages, a reliable generator from Walt Power can give you power independence when you need it most. Our generators are designed to weather severe conditions.
Ready to prepare your home for whatever this winter brings? Find the right Walt Power diesel generator for your power needs today.
Call 008618717996108 or send an online inquiry to us today!