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Standby Generator Starting in cold weather

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Posted by RF Dude on November 28, 2005, 3:02 am

Scenario 1:  Emergency diesel generator in a non-insulated outdoor
enclosure.  In winter, the 1500W coffee maker (also known as a water jacket
heater) is brewing continuously since the thermostat is set to ~27C/ 82F.
Big waste of energy and a high cost for this parasitic power.

Scenario 2:  Air cooled Lister generator set is available as surplus.  Love
to buy it, but they were originally mounted indoors where the room
temperature kept them warm.  I don't have such a room in my house.  If
mounted outdoors, what options exist to keep it warm and ready to start when

Scenario 3:  Natural Gas (vapor) engine.  Does this engine need to be kept
warm like the diesel?  I'm thinking the coffee maker temperature can be
severly reduced to say 0C/32F or even lower?

So the overall question is how to reduce the parasitic operating cost of a
standby generator in cold weather while it is waiting for a power failure?

RF Dude

Posted by Dale Farmer on November 28, 2005, 5:38 am

RF Dude wrote:

    INsulate the enclosure   Work to make the enclosure more airtight,
Perhaps some ducting with a blow-openable vent shutter.   If the thing
doesn't actually need to be auto start and can await you going out to
set some stuff up, a propane fueled water heater in the coolant loop
that you go out and manually fire up prior to cranking.
   Insulate the battery box and put in a tiny heater there.


Posted by nospam.clare.nce on November 28, 2005, 6:23 pm


A farmer friend of mine has a sure-fire way of starting his big White
Field Boss if a surprise snow storm catches him without the block
heater plugged in and he has to blow the lane to let the milk truck
in. He just pulls the air intake, fires up his BernzoMatic soldering
torch, and lays it in the intake for about 3 minutes. Then it's just
hit the starter, and go.

Posted by Dale Farmer on November 29, 2005, 3:59 am

nospam.clare.nce@sny.der.on.ca wrote:

    A friend has a US navy surplus diesel genny with a small gasoline tank,
fuel pump and a spray nozzle into the air intake.  Turn on the pump, which
also cranks a small magneto to provide sparks for the igniter, and suddenly
you have a fire in the air intake.  Wait a minute, then crank the engine.
This was referred to as the arctic weather add on kit in the manual.


Posted by RF Dude on November 29, 2005, 4:11 am

I have to hand you the award... this is the best suggestion yet... if not a
funny one!

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