A power outage is a common phenomenon, especially in extreme weather and it is common to have blackouts. You would have invested in a generator for exactly this scenario so that your everyday routine doesn’t go for a toss. But are you sure it is going to work when you need it the most? Most of the time, you can have trouble starting it. The reason may be because it is not winterized. It means that you need to prepare your generator for the winter season so that they start and run smoothly without any hassles. Here are some tips to help your generator winter-ready.
Tips to Winterize Your Generator
Do a thorough Visual Check: One of the first things to do in this process of winterizing is doing a visual inspection before and after you store for winter. Check all the components to find if there are any wear and tear. Note down all the items that are cracked or broken so that it can be replaced before the winter sets in as power outages are quite common during this time. Make sure that all the nuts are in its place and are tightly fixed. Check and fasten any loose clamps and fasteners.
Replace Filters and Change Engine Oil: During long-term storage, the engine can get corroded due to acid accumulation. So change the engine oil and the filters when you are doing long-term storage or plan on using it during winters. The filters also need to be changed along with the oil. It is a best practice to use the oil and filters recommended by the generator manufacturer so that it works optimally. If you are using a diesel generator then it essential to remove water from the water separator. That prevents water from entering the engine which can become a bigger problem in freezing temperatures. Also, ensure that the coolant and the fuel tank are full.
Inspect the Battery: Check the battery to see if it is in good and in working condition. If not it is recommended that you replace it. Batteries have a lesser lifespan in colder temperatures explain experts from Krugerpower and are less efficient when compared to warmer temperatures. So to winterize, it is better, to have a battery that can get charged fully. Go for one that has a higher CCA (cold-cranking amps) rating so that it performs optimally during the winters.
Storage: If you are using a diesel portable generator(a common and popular type of generator), storing the fuel efficiently is vital. The diesel has paraffin for lubrication which gets converted to gel-like in cold temperatures. To prevent this, you can use a cold flow improver, CFI, or use diesel that is designed for cold weather which does not gel. If you have a generator that does not use diesel, use a fuel stabilizer as that helps the engine to work even in cold temperatures.
Clear Debris around the Generator: Generators have vents on their exteriors and are provided for ventilation. These vents can get clogged by debris and if they are not ventilated properly it can overheat the engine and damage the parts. To prevent this from happening, clear the area surrounding the vent of the generator, of any such obstruction before the winter season. Also, ensure a healthy clearance of about 5 feet if not more around the generator.
Periodically run your Generator: Long duration of inactivity during cold weather can lead to inaction. Like how a car engine needs to be run before driving, the generator also needs to be exercised. Failing which, it may not operate properly or even start. Ideally, your generator has to be run for 10 minutes twice a week or at least once per week. That helps in lubricating the parts and to keep it ready when the need arises.
Use a Cold-weather Kit: An easy way to winterize the generator is to use a cold-weather kit that is as per the requirements of your generator. This kit will enable you to keep the most critical components warm during cold temperatures and hence operational. It includes:
- A crank-case heater: The oil in the generator has lubricant that helps to run the engine smoothly. But in winter the lubricant clots and hinders smooth movement. A crank-case heater will prevent this hardening even when the temperature is freezing.
- Battery warmers: Since batteries do not perform well in cold weather, a battery warmer helps to control the temperature so you don’t have to worry about it getting discharged.
- Synthetic oil: Generally ordinary oils are used by generators but using synthetic oil is ideal and is recommended by most manufacturers.
Winterizing the generator is easy and takes very little time to do. Maintaining the generator before winter not only ensures proper working during the harsh weather but also increases its lifespan.