Cold Weather Power
you live in a colder environment where themperatures drop
below freezing there are some tips that might be helpful.
Since your generator for backup power really
needs to operate reliably under a wide variety of temperature
and weather conditions, be sure to take that into consideration
when purchasing it. The best starting generator engine in
the consumer class that I know of is Briggs and Stratton.
They start very easily in cold temperatures. I understand
that Honda also works very well, but I don't have personal
experience with them. I don't sell Briigs or Honda, there's
not conflict of interest in my comment, The Briggs and Stratton
just starts great no matter what the weather if properly
I've had problems starting other brands as the
temperature drops, and some engines will not run if it's
raining. Amazing, considering that the generator really needs
to start when conditions are poor.
In cold weather (below zero) some generators
are very difficult to start. I have been working with a Generac
lately that runs good at low temps, but takes a few pulls
to get going. It helps to put the choke in the center position
after it starts for a 20 seconds or so before turning off
the choke. The oil heats up pretty quickly after you start
I ruined a really great Briggs generator one
time by running oil that was too thick at low temperatures,
The oil splasher bent due to the oil being hard when I started
it, so there was inadequate oiling and the engine seized.
No one to blame but myself, I know better. But for your benefit
I'm sharing the pain so you can avoid it! READ YOUR MANUAL!
The only thing I do different is to use synthetic oils which
provide better engine protection.
At really low temperatures I use 0-w30 synthetic
oil. It will flow well enough to protect the engine and these
frigid temperatures. As the temperature raises with the season
I use factory recommended oil viscosities that you can find
in your engine manual.
Never run a little gas generator inside an enclosed
space. People die that way. There's some really nice people
that live near me here that lost their shed and expensive
building materials from a fire that was started in a shed
by a generator. I don't know all the details about what went
wrong but the pattern is clear. For your sake, 'heed the
need' to run your generator outside.
Specially designed concrete and block buildings
can be set up for diesel engine generator sets, that work
out great. But the little air cooled gas generators need
to be outside where the unexpected can be better managed,
and exhaust gases aren't trapped in an enclosed space..
Careful use of starter fluid can be very helpful
in getting a generator started under harsh conditions. This
is true of gas or diesel. Use should be limited, and you
need to be careful that you don't start a fire. A fire extinguisher
is important to have around, so keep your eyes open for a
good deal on an extinguisher suited to gasoline fires. Just
Watch out when refuelling that you don't get
snow or ice crystals from frozen water that was in your gas
can into your tank. When the generator warms up the fuel,
you'll get a bunch of water in your carburetor and life will
cease to be fun. Take the time to get all the snow off your
gas can before filling up.
When you're cold, you want to hurry up the refuelling
process. Beware. Allow a couple of minutes for the engine
to cool off before fuelling up. Put safety first. Also check
your oil level often. Perhaps you might want to check while
your engine is cooling down, so you make use of the wait..