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How to Winterize Your Engine-Driven Welder


How to Winterize Your Engine-Driven Welder

Winter is nearly here, and if you're a welder in Canada, you know it's time to get ready for the cold. Here at Kristian Electric, we’ve spent nearly six decades serving Canadian welders and their equipment, so we understand the unique needs and challenges you face when winter hits.


Our teams in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon are here to provide unwavering support to Canadian welders through our range of services, parts, and welding supplies. Today we will share some of our knowledge to help you prepare your welding equipment for the winter. Our goal is to ensure that your gear works smoothly even as the thermometer plunges, so you can continue welding regardless of the cold!

 

#1. Review your Owner's Manuals


While reading your operation manual might seem obvious, the manual for your engine-driven welder contains specific maintenance schedules and recommendations vital for the well-being of your machine. Some manufacturers, like Miller, even post these schedules on the air filter cover and inside the engine compartment’s side door to simplify access. Ensuring your machine is maintained properly in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications is the cornerstone of winter readiness.


Lost your owner’s manual? Download it online from the manufacturer!



Looking for another manufacturer or questions about finding your owner's manual? Contact Kristian with your machine model and serial number, we are happy to help you out.


#2. Check Your Oil


If you intend to operate your welder generator in temperatures lower than -20 degrees Celsius, it's advisable to a lighterweight oil such as 5W-30. This change enhances the oil's ability to flow smoothly within the engine, improving overall circulation. Another option frequently favored by our customers is transitioning to synthetic oil during the colder months.


Here's why it matters: When your engine sits idle, the oil can settle, causing a delay in its flow when you start the engine, especially in chilly conditions. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, is specifically designed to flow quickly at low temperatures, providing better protection of your engine components to reduce motor wear.


Make sure you consult your owner’s manual to see what oil options are recommended for the specific engine in your welding machine.


It’s good practice to check your oil level before starting the engine, especially during winter months.


#3. Check Your Cooling System & Antifreeze


It’s also good practice to check your cooling system and antifreeze regularly during the colder months to ensure that your machine is set for the right temperatures.


Here at Kristian Electric, we go through your complete cooling system as part of our service procedure and top up if required. If you have a hydrometer, you can use it to test the strength of your existing antifreeze by drawing a small amount of coolant from the system to identify its freezing point.

#4. Choose the Right Blend, Additives & Stabilizers for your Fuel

Did you know refiners may formulate gasoline blends differently depending on the season? Summer blends, for instance, possess a lower vapor pressure to prevent engine vapor lock, whereas winter blends are designed for easier vaporization to facilitate smoother starts in colder weather.


If you don't use your gas-powered welder often during the winter months, you might encounter issues with the standard 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline blend, such as phase separation. Phase separation happens when the fuel in the tank absorbs moisture and combines with ethanol, causing it to separate from the gasoline. This separation results in an ethanol-water mixture that can severely damage the fuel system and engine.


You can prevent phase separation by using fuel additives. Don't forget to always try and keep your fuel tank as full as possible to limit air and moisture in the tank. Add a gas stabilizer designed for ethanol gas blends, since they have a shorter shelf life than pure gasoline.


For diesel engine drives, adding an anti-gel cold weather additive will prevent wax buildup in your fuel filter and improve flowability.


Treating your fuel with stabilizers and additives will keep it usable throughout the winter. However, if you are planning on allowing your welder to sit idle for an extended period, we recommend draining your carburetors of fuel just in case.

#5. De-Ice Your Carburetor


Cold weather can also cause carburetor icing, especially in conditions nearing freezing temperatures with high relative humidity. Ice can accumulate on the throttle plate and within the carburetor bore, causing the machine to stall. You can prevent carburetor icing by adding isopropyl alcohol to your fuel supply and minimize prolonged no-load idling. Here at Kristian Electric, we offer sales and installation of cold-weather kits for many air-cooled engines.


Once properly installed, the cold weather kit will block off intake of the cold outside air and pull heated air from the exhaust into the carburetor. Installing a cold-weather kit will improve engine starting and operation in extreme cold weather conditions to keep your engine performance at its peak.


Depending on your machine and engine model, our welder service teams in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon can supply and install a cold weather kit for your engine-driven welder! We also sell the cold-weather kits with instructions should you prefer to install it yourself. All cold-weather kits are built to order.


Contact us today to see if a cold-weather kit is available for your welding machine!


#6. Install Heaters


Installing heaters is another option to enhance the efficiency and longevity of your welder during cold weather. Here at Kristian Electric, we offer the supply and installation of a few different types of heaters and additional accessories that can be added to your engine-driven welder.

  • Webasto Heater (Diesel Engine-Driven Welders) A Webasto Heater will bring your engine up to operating temperatures by heating and circulating your coolant without running the engine. Installing a Webasto heater will reduce wear and tear on your engine, maximizing its longevity and performance.

  • Block Heater (Gasoline Liquid-Cooled or Diesel Engines) A block heater will raise the temperature inside the engine compartment without running the engine. In extremely cold weather, the engine's internal components and the engine oil can become viscous, making it difficult for the engine to turn over and start. A block heater warms up the engine, reducing this viscosity and making it easier for the engine to start.

  • Oil Pan Heater: An oil pan heater is designed to maintain the optimal temperature of your welder’s oil, especially in cold weather conditions. Installed on or near your welder’s oil pan (often with magnets) it ensures that your oil remains at the ideal viscosity for smooth operation. Installing an oil pan heater facilitates consistent welding performance by preventing oil thickening and reduces wear and tear on your engine in cold weather.

Our welder service teams in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon can make a recommendation on what heaters may be beneficial for your specific application and install any of the above heaters in your welding machine.


Contact us today for a quote on adding a heater to your welder before winter comes!


#7. Protect your Welder with Covers


Investing in a protective cover for your welder will help shield your equipment from snow, moisture, dust and other environmental hazards that can cause damage and reduce its lifespan. Protective covers are a simple and cost-effective way to extend the life of your welder and keep your machine clean!


Kristian Electric can provide standard covers from your welder’s manufacturer including Miller and Lincoln Electric.


We also work closely with a local Alberta manufacturer to fabricate custom covers for our customers – made to order – for all models of Miller and Lincoln welding machines.


Contact us today for a quote on a custom protective cover for your welder!

 

Winter is coming… and we hope that we have helped you gear up for the cold with these engine-driven welder winter maintenance tips! If you have any questions or would like a recommendation, contact us at Kristian Electric today.


Our welder service teams in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon are always ready to offer service, parts and welding supplies for whatever project you need to tackle. Winter may be on its way, but with these preparations, your welding equipment will be ready to tackle the cold. Canadian welders -- stay warm and keep welding! Canada depends on you.

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