What Is the Coldest Weather a Diesel Generator Can Run In?

Similar to other machines and heavy equipment, cold weather can affect the performance of a diesel generator. But how cold is too cold? At what temperature does a diesel generator need to be shut down? Keep reading to find out.

How cold can diesel generators run?

Diesel generators can keep running in cold weather as long as the temperature is above -15°C. However, the ideal operating temperature range for a diesel generator is between 20°C and 30°C. Below this range, the engine may not start, or may not operate effectively.

How cold is too cold for a diesel engine?

The freezing mark or 32 degrees Fahrenheit is when diesel fuel will start to stiffen inside a fuel tank. If the temperature falls further, to between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit, then the diesel turns into a gel and clogs the fuel lines.

This means you will not be able to start the engine if the temperature is below 15 degrees. Any temperature lower than 9 degrees will not operate. A diesel may malfunction even at a temperature of 5 Celsius.

How cold is too cold for a standby generator?

Using standby or continuous power generators at or below 32°F (0°C) puts a lot of stress on the generator, so operators need to take extra care to make sure it starts easily, gets up to the appropriate load fast, and continues to run smoothly.

Can cold weather affect a generator?

When temperatures drop, particularly below 40°F, a generator will have difficulty starting. As a result of the engine and its components becoming excessively cold, this happens.

At what temperature does diesel freeze?

At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the paraffin in diesel fuel starts to harden, resulting in a cloudy fuel tank. Despite the fact that this alteration won’t prohibit you from driving, it acts as a warning of how colder weather affects fuel consumption.

How cold can you run #1 diesel?

At temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the #1 diesel gasoline may begin to cloud, but it will continue to flow. For the fuel to gel, it must be kept at a lower temperature for a lengthy period of time.

What kind of diesel fuel is recommended for cold weather use?

Your No. 2 diesel should be replaced with a No. 1 diesel, which is paraffin-free and so provides the optimum operability in the coldest portions of the winter.

Do Diesels run better in cold weather?

It is more difficult to start a diesel engine in cold weather since it relies on compression for ignition. In fact, starting a diesel engine at 0°F (-17°C) is five times more difficult than starting one at 80°F (26°C).

Does diesel fuel expand in cold weather?

The volume will decrease when the gasoline cools down. When the gasoline is supplied and the temperature is below 60 degrees, it will expand after being poured into a temperature-controlled tank and allowed to return to normal.

Related Questions and Answers

Can generators run in the snow?

When it’s raining or snowing, don’t use the generator. The generator has to be grounded correctly. For your own safety, make sure the generator is properly grounded.

How cold is winter blend diesel good for?

Fuel characteristics of winter diesel are also enhanced, enabling for the safe operation of diesel types that can function in temperatures as low as –24 °C. Cold start-ups may be difficult since wax particles can’t be melted by a filter heater.

Which diesel is winter diesel?

When mixed together, winterized diesel fuel has a greater proportion of #1 grade diesel fuel than regular diesel fuel. During the colder months, these fuels are utilized instead of #2 grade.

Can you cold start a diesel generator?

This video has the answer:

At what temp does 2 diesel gel?

After the white haze (or “cloud”) that emerges as paraffin wax crystallizes begins to form, a temperature known as the “cloud point” is reached. The cloud point of No. 2 diesel is 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why do diesels hate the cold?

When the temperature lowers, metal cylinder walls get very cold, making it difficult for most cars to start. Diesel engines have traditionally been more difficult to start in cold weather than gasoline-powered cars because they need significantly greater temperatures to ignite the fuel.

How do I keep my diesel warm in the winter?

Keep the gasoline tank as full as possible to avoid freezing and gelling of the fuel. Frozen fuel has to be dealt with before you attempt to start the generator. Make sure to store your generator in a warm location. You might need heating equipment and fuel additives, as well as an oil replacement.

How can I make my diesel engine warm up faster?

If at all possible, keep your diesel engine out of the elements like sleet and snow by storing it somewhere warm. Keep the engine in an area that is even a few degrees warmer than normal, and it will be able to warm up faster.

How do you keep a diesel engine warm without electricity?

Using glow plugs or block heaters to start most diesel engines on a chilly day is the most common method. Using glow plugs, the combustion chamber is heated to a temperature where compression and ignition may occur.

How do I keep my generator warm in the winter?

Even if a battery warmer isn’t included in the package, oil warmers and block heaters may make starting the engine go more smoothly by keeping the engine warm. Wherever the temperature drops below 32 degrees, you need cold weather gear. When purchasing a battery warmer, be sure it comes with one.

Where do you place a generator in a snowstorm?

To avoid damaging your home’s inside, keep the generator at least 20 feet away from the front entrance and any windows. If you believe you’ll need to operate a generator for a lengthy period of time, make sure you have enough fuel on hand.

What temp does diesel expand?

Above the ideal fuel temperature of 60F, fuel expands at a coefficient of 0.00046 per Fahrenheit degree rise.

What is the expansion rate of diesel?

Diesel expands at 0.00046 coefficient for each rise in Fahrenheit degree.

What is a 70/30 diesel Blend?

Fuel blends like 70/30 have around 3% fewer BTU per gallon than diesel fuel. As a consequence, a 70/30 mix reduces MPG and horsepower by roughly 3%, while a 50/50 blend reduces both figures by up to 7%.


Diesel generators are the most common type of generator used for power in cold weather. They typically run at a temperature range of -20 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius. However, the colder it gets, the more difficult it can be to start. It is important to make sure your diesel generator is stored in a warm location during the winter months in case you need backup power during a snow storm.

NEXT UP: Emergency Standby Generator Alternatives?

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James Sylvester
About James Sylvester

James S. Sylvester is an experienced OSHA Safety Supervisor with years of experience in the construction and oil & gas industries. He focuses on workplace safety, occupational health and safety systems. Learn more about James' here or connect with him on Twitter