The chilly air is a problem for most of us during this time of the year (though I'm experiencing more rain than snow in my neck o'the woods). Naturally, questions arise about how to handle cold weather when working on welding projects outdoors. Here are a few common winter welding situations and tips on how to handle them.
Can my welder work in cold temperatures?
Cold weather has the ability to damage welders, but many welders are built to be able to withstand cold temperatures. The best way to determine how your welder will work in cold weather is to consult the operating manual to find what temperature specifications will limit your welding machine.
Do cold temperatures have an effect on weld strength?
Yes. Welds will cool faster under cold weather, which results in increased susceptibility to cracking during welding and after. To combat this, preheat the steel in the area you'll be welding with a torch to a temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
If I leave my welding materials in a cold garage, will they get damaged as the weather warms up?
Here are two responses by welders:
The main problem with unheated sheds and workshops reveals itself when the weather warms up after a cold spell. All the large items of metalwork will have cooled and are likely to be below the dew point of the moisture in the warmer air. The result is that condensation forms on the larger items as the warmer air finds it's way into the area. One way to mitigate against this is to watch the weather forecast and turn on some dry heat in the workshop before the warmer weather comes along.
On my machines I spray a light film of wd40 on them. It helps keep damp off them. In the MIG I put the small bags of silica you get with the wire into the separate wire feed unit. Seems to work ok.