Essential Cold Weather Welding Tips

Essential Cold Weather Welding Tips

The Most Popular Welding Memes Reading Essential Cold Weather Welding Tips 3 minutes Next New Esab Deals: What To Know

Unless you’re lucky enough to call some sunny paradise your home, chances are you’re freezing your butt off right now. It’s so cold where we’re at, we saw a dog frozen to a fire hydrant. When the temperature drops, a lot of welders usually have 2 questions: Will the low temperatures hurt my machine and how will this affect my welds?

Can low temperatures damage your machine?

It’s a logical concern. Virtually every electronic device is supposed to be stored and operated in a dry, semi-warm environment. But most welding manufactures understand you can’t keep a 300-pound welder generator in your living room all winter. That’s why any good welding machine is designed to withstand some pretty extreme temperatures (we’re looking at you, Alaska). If you’ve gone with a reliable brand like Miller, Lincoln, ESAB or any of the others we carry, your rig will withstand some cold ones (though please double check your machine’s manual).

Generally, your worst enemy isn’t the cold. Dust and moisture are the boogiemen under every welder’s bed. It’s a bad idea to leave your welder uncovered all winter with pollution and storms blowing dust around. In fact, it’s the #1 reason-welding machines prematurely bite the dust (excuse the pun). If you don’t already have a cover, it’d be a good idea to pick one up

Moisture is the other deadly sin. Water causes two major problems with electronics. Water can create connections between electronic circuits, causing shorts that can damage or completely destroy your machine. Water can also cause corrosion, which can limit performance and eventually cause major issues. In most cases, welding machines can stand up to a fair bit of humidity. However, if you have a heat wave after a particularly cold night, this can create a large amount of condensation. If you’re worried, it’s recommended to move your machine into a dryer location like a closed garage.

Can low temperatures affect your welds?

The miracle of welding only works thanks to extreme temperature changes that melt metal and cause fusion to happen. So if you think cold temperatures won’t make an impact, you’re in for a frustrating ride. Freezing temperatures will cause your welds to cool much faster which can cause cracking and a lack of adequate penetration.

Cold weather also means a bigger difference in temperature between your weld and your work piece. This can cause severe warping.

An easy solution is pre-heating. Essentially the idea is that if you can’t get your work piece somewhere warm, you’ll bring the warmth to it. Most experts will pre-heat to at least 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. To minimize warping, it’s also smart to clap down your piece as much as possible. This helps prevent your base metal from twisting and bending as the molecules heat up and cool down.

Our favorite welding accessories are strong hand clamps. The amount of time and frustration these secret weapons have saved us makes them easily worth the price. Click the button below to learn more and let the community know what other tips and tricks you use to weld during winter in the comment section below.