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Generac Generator Won’t Start in Cold Weather: Causes And Solutions

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During every chilly winter month, you might encounter an unwelcome surprise: your Generac generator won’t start in cold weather.

But don’t worry; this article is here to help you understand the reasons behind this issue and, at the same time, provide you with effective solutions to ensure your generator starts smoothly even in freezing temperatures.

When it comes to starting a generator in cold weather, it poses several challenges due to the temperature’s impact on the various generator components.

Hence, in this article, we’ll explore some of the common reasons behind this problem and how you can prevent it as well as troubleshoot it.

Reasons Your Generac Generator Won’t Start in Cold Weather

There are various reasons why your Generac generator won’t start in cold weather. The funny thing is that, while all these reasons are caused by the cold weather, it all boils down to something: not regularly exercising and maintaining your generator.

However, let’s not conclude first; let’s check out some of these reasons.

1. Fuel-related Issues

According to the Department of Energy, cold weather and winter conditions can significantly reduce fuel economy when driving. However, it doesn’t only affect drivers but also generator owners.

In our findings, we found out that many times in cold weather, the generator fuel can become thicker—not necessarily thicker, but it makes it harder for the engine to draw it into the combustion chamber.

Which, as a result, can lead to difficulties in starting or cause the engine to stall. That’s why you should always run or exercise your generator, especially during the cold weather season.

2. Lubrication Problems

Just like the fuel-related issues identified above, cold temperatures can also cause the generator oil to thicken, reducing its ability to lubricate the engine effectively.

As a result, the engine’s moving parts may experience increased friction, making starting more difficult for the generator. This mostly happens when you aren’t using the recommended viscosity of oil during this period.

3. Battery Performance

Thirdly, if you are using a battery-powered generator, then you should check out the battery, as it might also be the reason your generator Generator batteries tend to lose their efficiency, especially in colder climates, resulting in reduced cranking power. A weaker battery might struggle to provide enough power to start the generator.

Also Read:- How to Clear Battery Problem on Generac Generator in 3 Easy Ways

How Can You Prepare Your Generac Generator for Cold weather?

As we listed above, there are various reasons why your Generac generator won’t start in cold weather. Despite that, there are measures you can take that involve preparing before the cold season begins.

Hence, to ensure your Generac generator starts reliably in cold weather, here are some preparation steps you must follow:

1. Fuel Management

Fuel becomes cold, just like we said before, but using a fuel stabilizer before winter to prevent fuel from degrading and thickening can help a lot. Additionally, you can keep the fuel tank at least half full to minimize condensation, which can affect fuel quality.

2. Lubrication Maintenance

Change the oil in your generator before the onset of winter using the recommended viscosity for colder temperatures. Oil with a viscosity such as 5w-30 or 0w-30 is good, especially in cold weather, but most importantly, you should also consider going for the synthetic type. This ensures your generator is properly lubricated, even in freezing conditions.

Additionally, if you are using a generator with an oil filter, during the oil change, you should consider changing the filter. We have a full article on how to change the oil filter in your Generac generator and which one you should go for.

3. Battery Care

Thirdly, caring for your battery is also important if you have one. You can start by inspecting the battery for corrosion and ensuring that the connections are clean and tight before the cold weather begins.

Additionally, you should also consider installing a battery heater or using a trickle charger to keep the battery warm and charged whenever you aren’t around to always charge the battery or exercise the generator.

Check out this article if your battery is not charging:- Generac Generator Not Charging Battery: Troubleshooting Guide

4. Keeping the Generator Warm

Lastly, if possible, after all these preparation steps, store the generator in a heated space or use a generator tent or cover designed for cold weather use. Keeping the unit warm helps it maintain critical components at a temperature conducive to starting.

Also Read:- Generator Storage Shed: Our Top Recommendations

Troubleshooting Cold Weather Starting Issues

Despite preparation, your Generac generator may still face difficulties, especially in cold weather. In such cases, try these troubleshooting steps.

1. Inspecting and Cleaning Components

The first step you should take is to check for any ice formation or debris around the generator components. If possible, if you find any snow, ice, or obstructions that could hinder the generator’s operation, remove them instantly.

2. Addressing Fuel and Carburetor Problems

Secondly, if the generator still struggles to start, ensure the fuel line is clear of ice or blockages. In this case, consider using fuel line antifreeze or warming the fuel tank to improve fuel flow. Clean the carburetor if necessary.

3. Checking the Ignition System

Inspect the spark plug and ensure it’s clean and properly gapped. Faulty spark plugs can hinder starting in cold weather. Replace any damaged or worn spark plugs as needed.

4. Dealing with Battery Challenges

If you have checked everything and notice the battery struggling to start the generator, warm it up using a battery heater or by bringing it indoors temporarily. Alternatively, consider upgrading to a cold-weather-rated battery with higher cranking power. But if it’s dead, you can consider charging it.

Also Read :- How to Clear Battery Problem on Generac Generator in 3 Easy Ways

5. Using the Generac Cold Weather Kit

Generac Power System has a maintenance and cold weather kit you can use for your Generac generator, depending on the model you are using. You can consider visiting their official website to check for your specific model of cold weather kit to ensure your generator starts during cold weather.

Final Thought 

Don’t let cold weather keep your Generac generator from providing the power you need. By understanding the challenges and following the preparation steps and troubleshooting tips mentioned in this article, you can ensure your generator starts smoothly even in frigid conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use a fuel additive to improve cold-weather starting?

Yes, you can use a fuel additive designed for cold weather to improve fuel flow and prevent fuel line freeze-up.

2. Can I start the generator indoors during cold weather?

No, it is not safe to start a generator indoors due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Always operate the generator in a well-ventilated outdoor area, away from windows, doors, and vents.

3. Should I use a space heater to warm up the generator?

It is not recommended to use a space heater to warm up the generator directly. Instead, focus on keeping the generator protected from cold weather using appropriate covers or enclosures designed for that purpose.

4. How often should I change the oil in my Generac generator during the winter?

You can change the Generac generator oil during the winter after every 200 hours of running. When changing your oil, make sure you use a synthetic 5w-30 or 0w-30 oil, especially during cold weather.

5. Can I run the generator continuously in cold weather?

Yes, you can run it continuously, but it’s not advisable because of overheating and other related issues it might cause your generator. You should consider providing periodic rest intervals to prevent these issues.


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