Checklist for Diesel Generators in Sub-zero Conditions

Caterpillar Diesel Generator

Caterpillar Diesel Genset Enclosure with Base Fuel Tank in an Average Winter Storm

It is not unusual for central states, like Wyoming, to have 5 to 12 weeks per year of 40 below zero temperatures. This season’s record shattering polar vortex has expanded the harsh cold to many more states.

Global Power Supply supports facility managers and can recommend solutions for the harshest of conditions. Ensure your backup diesel generator will be ready.

1. Regularly Scheduled Maintenance

Preparation for winter should be completed in September or October, depending on the location of the generator. Visual inspections are best done in good conditions. The ability to get service completed in conditions that feel like Antarctica can be a real test. Expect delays.

2. Coolant Heaters

Engine coolant freeze protection is critical, if not protected when the cold hits, a frozen cooling system can permanently damage a radiator and possibly the engine. Coolant heaters are required to maintain engine temperature sufficiently warm, to allow for quick engine startup. A cold soaked diesel engine @15 degrees is likely to not start at all with standard battery availability.

3. Batteries

Batteries must be maintained, connections clean and tight, and temperature controlled. A cold battery loses capacity quickly, as much as 60% in below zero temperatures. Batteries can be warmed with heat pads, battery warming plates, or by mounting in close proximity to the warm engine. Batteries should be replaced at 2 to 3 year intervals on units in critical service.

4. Remote Monitoring

Monitoring is important, whether it is a remote annunciator located near facility personnel, or an advanced monitoring system that issues notifications. It is important to respond to fail or low temperature sensors quickly. The clock is running to get the condition rectified, until then, the generator is at risk of not starting.

5. Fuel

Fuel tanks should be kept full to minimize the accumulation of water from condensation, winter blend fuel used, and if necessary a fuel heater system installed. Full understanding of fuel tank specifications and fuel additives in each generator installation is a key factor in prolonged runtimes.

6. Snow Hoods

Snow buildup can restrict critical airflow inside generator enclosures. Snow hoods prevent the snow intrusion from both intake and the exhaust exit openings.

Snow Hood for Diesel Generator

Snow Hood Installation Calgary Alberta

7. Enclosure Insulation

Generator custom enclosures can be specified to have various types of insulation including mineral wool fibre. Made from basalt rock and slag, mineral wool fibre insulation is a non-combustible semi-rigid board with a melting point of approximately 2150°F. Used with galvanized steel sheets, the insulation provides flame resistant insulation inside and protection from the elements outside.

Stay ahead of winter storm events. Understand the generator operating temperatures and focus in on all components that can be impacted by severe cold.

For your generator configuration get help from Global Power Supply. Generator installation and support services contact us today at 1-800 706-0906