These past few months have been a prime example of just how unpredictable the weather can be, the recent storms caused a surge of power cuts all over the UK leaving many homes and businesses unable to operate properly. It is always important to brush up on your knowledge on ensuring your power solutions work to their best ability, and that they won’t let you down when you need power the most. We have put together the steps to take in order to start your generator when the weather is unpleasant.
Cold weather can affect your generator in a range of ways for instance;
At 0 degrees the battery will only deliver less than half the current it usually would, and the fuel and lubricating oil can thicken, and become tar-like if it is especially cold.
It is important to regularly test your generator in normal conditions so you know it works to its full potential. We recommend testing your generator every few months, and if you are aware that cold weather is imminent then it can be helpful to schedule in extra inspections and maintenance for reassurance. CPS offers a wide range of service and maintenance parts here for all major engine brands.
1) Water Jacket Heaters
Make sure they are plugged in and functional, you will not need to run it constantly but you will need to warm up the generator for a few hours before starting it up. If you do not have a Water Jacket Heater it is an important investment to make, as if you are running the power supply in an area susceptible to bad weather it can make the difference between power and a blackout. (For more information on purchasing a Water Jacket Heater contact us here)
Keep the battery charged to peak at all times, and ensure that the battery charger is in a good working condition. If the battery is dead you won’t be powering up anytime soon. A dead battery is a leading reason for service calls!
3) Check Manuals!
This should really be the first port of call but we know that looking through paperwork to locate a manual isn’t the first thing on many people’s minds. The manual will spell out the qualities of your generator and will include information regarding cold weather starts. (If you don’t have a copy of the manual for whatever reason you can download it here) It is also important to note the generator make and model so that should you require assistance we can help you get the right essential parts and information.
4) Inspect the Generator
Do a visual walk around and make sure no debris is collecting around the generator, check for leaks, puddles, stains, or any other sign that something is out of order.
5) Basic Maintenance
This is vital regardless of the weather to ensure the longevity and reliability of your generator. You will need to have the engine oil changed, air filter changed, spark plugs checked, radiator coolant mixture checked, and as aforementioned, the battery is charged and tested. See our range of essential parts here.
6) Test the Digital Control Panel
When the cold weather hits you need to be aware that some of the older models may struggle to start up. Some may not even turn on at all or light up which makes it difficult to read the gauge. Newer models will not have the issue but it is always important to check.
7) Exhaust and Ventilation
Bad weather, especially snow can cause your generator to choke which will prevent it from starting. You may want to consider installing a snow hood to reduce this if the generator is exposed to snow frequently. Louvres and shutters can also affect how cold air gets into the system during startup, as you don’t want to shock the system with a bunch of freezing air during the startup so hydraulic louvres are the best feature for colder climates.
8) Check the Fuel
Diesel fuel can sometimes gel in very cold temperatures, and if this happens then your generator certainly won’t be giving you power anytime soon! Make sure the fuel in your tank is treated accordingly with anti-gel and anti-microbial additives. Gelling is not a huge concern as it was in the past but it is still important to be aware that it can happen. Most fuel providers will treat their fuel with some form of an anti-gelling component but if you are unsure it is worth having some hand just in case.
If you have any further questions regarding starting your generator or servicing and maintenance get in touch and our sales team will be happy to help.