Winterization Tips for Diesel Power Systems
As temperatures drop this winter, you’ll want to make sure your diesel generator has been properly winterized. Whether it’s a portable or standby unit, it needs to be ready to endure the colder weather so that it will run when you need it most. You don’t want to be stuck without power should an outage occur. A power failure can have a substantial impact on your operation. It’s best to prepare ahead of time with these tips to keep your power system running during the winter months and avoid winterization.
Perform an Inspection
The first thing you should do is complete a visual inspection of the unit. Check all components of the power system and take note of any obvious signs of deterioration, like worn connections or cracked hoses. These should be replaced right away to prevent further performance issues.
Filters keep out dust, dirt, and other debris in the environment surrounding your generator. When the filters become clogged, these minuscule particles can enter the generator’s engine and eventually destroy internal parts and components. It’s crucial to keep filters clean and replace them as needed.
Change the Oil
Timely oil changes are critical during the winter months as lower temperatures make your engine work harder, increasing oil demand. Oil is responsible for lubricating all those parts and components that work together to make your power system run smoothly. Over time, oil begins to lose its effectiveness, making the generator engine more susceptible to wear and tear. Keeping your generator supplied with fresh oil this winter is one of the best ways to ensure reliable operation.
Service Fuel System
Before storing a generator, you’ll want to fill up the fuel tank and add a fuel system stabilizer. The stabilizer goes directly into the fuel tank to help preserve fuel quality and prevent evaporation until you need to use the generator. When adding the stabilizer, you’ll typically be required to run the engine for 5-10 minutes to make sure it has time to reach the entire fuel system.
Test the System
It’s extremely important to make sure your power system will turn on and function the way it should when you need it most. To test it, run the unit for at least 30 minutes to give yourself ample time to check its performance. This will allow you to test the battery and note any operational problems. If the system fails to run as expected, you should have it looked at by a professional immediately.
This is a good time to take care of those few repairs your generator needs, like worn hoses or leaks in the system. While these might seem minor, they can actually cost your business a lot of money in the long run. Small issues can quickly progress into larger problems that can lead to an entire system failure—which will be much more expensive for you to fix. Additionally, your system could have issues that you wouldn’t be able to notice without the proper technical expertise or equipment. In this case, it’s a good idea to work with a generator specialist to inspect the power system and determine repair needs.
Overheating is one of the main reasons generators fail, so you need to check coolant levels regularly. Coolant circulates continuously through the running engine to absorb the heat it produces, controlling engine temperature. Without sufficient coolant, the engine would run too hot and eventually fail, requiring an extensive and costly overhaul. However, maintaining coolant levels isn’t always enough—you should also ensure coolant quality. Like oil, coolant will degrade over time, but it doesn’t need to be changed as frequently. For the recommended schedule, check with the manufacturer or a qualified generator technician.
Keep Area Clear
It’s important to inspect the area around your standby generator regularly, especially after a major weather change, such as high winds or snow. These can bring about leaves, trash, and other debris around your generator, which won’t allow it to vent properly and could cause other performance problems if any small bits of this clutter were to enter the system.
Safety Tips for Using a Generator During Winter to Avoid Winterization
You should exercise extreme caution when it comes time to operate your power system. Using it improperly can result in serious risks such as carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning or electrical shock. Keep these three safety tips in mind before turning on your generator:
- Allow for Proper Ventilation
Generator exhaust contains high levels of carbon monoxide, which can be deadly for anyone who is exposed to it. Generators should be placed outside in an area that is at least 20 feet from any vents, windows, or doors.
- Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that’s virtually impossible to detect on your own. Installing a carbon monoxide alarm indoors is the best way to protect yourself and your employees. You should also watch out for any signs of CO poisoning, which include dizziness, headaches, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath.
- Avoid Electrical Hazards
The most important thing you can do to prevent electrical hazards is to keep your generator away from wet areas. Use a canopy to deter rain away from the unit, and elevate the generator off the ground to avoid pools of water. Water can be detrimental to your system, resulting in irreparable damage, and can even lead to an electric shock for the operator.
Proper use of your generator can keep your operation up and running regardless of the weather conditions. By implementing these tips above, you can safely rely on your generator and avoid costly downtime.
Call Valley Power Systems
The cold can be hard on a generator, but with these winterization tips, you can help protect your power system and ensure it will operate when you need it to. If you experience any problems with your generator this winter, don’t hesitate to contact Valley Power Systems. We offer a wide range of power solutions for California businesses.