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12 Tips to Help You Use Diesel Generator Better in Cold Weather/Area

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What are the important factors that should not be ignored when using a diesel generator set in cold areas or weather?

As we known 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.

Walt Power 40kW Diesel Generator designed for cold-weather area.

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 generators 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.

Walt Power 40kW diesel generator installed in -40℃ cold area.

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 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.

Walt Power Diesel Generator control panel installs Deep Sea DSE7420 controller.

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 Diesel Generators are 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. Regularly 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.

Walt Power uses cold start maintenance free large capacity battery suitable in cold area,

7. Ensure that The Exhaust Pipe 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.

Walt Power diesel generator exhaust pipe area.

8. Operate the Diesel Generator in Outdoor

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 Diesel Generator Before Starting

Before starting your diesel 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 Diesel 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.

Walt Power diesel generators equips heater to better start generator during in cold environment.

11. Regularly Check the Diesel Generator Work Status

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your diesel 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 diesel generator won’t hinder you when you need it most.

Advice Key Maintenance Tasks

  • 11.1 Changing the oil as required
  • 11.2 Cleaning and re-oiling the air filter
  • 11.3 Using a fuel stabilizer for short-term storage
  • 11.4 Cleaning other generator components as necessary
  • 11.5 Addressing issues related to rust, leaks, or corrosion

Similar attention should be given to preparing your diesel generator for long-term storage. With proper preventative maintenance, you can reduce the risk of your diesel generator developing problems while in storage.

12. Run Your Diesel 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.

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!

Ke Wong

Ke Wong

Hey, I’m Ke Wong joined WALT POWER in 2011. I spent a dozen years focused on generator set & load bank technology and solutions for the power & energy industry. WALT Power is a reliable & leading manufacturer & supplier in China, as a business director, I am so proud of our knowledge is more and more popular not only for engineers, and generator distributors but also for end-users. Hope you are enjoying our article, if any questions or comments welcome to send me sales at

Ke Wong

Hi, I’m the author of this post, and also the business director of WALT Power. I have been in this field for more than 17 years. If you want to know more about the generator set or services, please just feel free to contact me any time.

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