'Secrets' To Becoming More Independent


Cold Weather Power

If 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 maintained.

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 the engine.

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 in case.

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..


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