Monday, January 6, 2014

Bone Chilling Cold in Upper Midwest

West-coasters who are upset about temperatures in the 50s should visit the upper Midwest this week. Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and parts of Michigan are experiencing temperatures below -10 degrees today with wind chills as low as -65 degrees.

All over, people are throwing hot cups of water in the air to watch in awe as it freezes into snow before hitting the ground. This is cold!

An important thing to keep in mind is what you can do if the power goes out. In this kind of cold, it's important to have a backup plan. Survival in severe subzero cold requires a lot more than just putting on a sweatshirt and mittens. How can you heat your home if you don't have electricity to run your furnace?

Electric Generators

Emergency portable generators are a very effective solution. They must be run outdoors though, at least 10-18 feet from your home because they produce carbon monoxide. Portable generators are great in these situations because they can power your furnace and lights during an outage, and then be stowed away after the power is restored.


You can always go the old school route and burn firewood in a fireplace or a wood burning stove. There are many ways of splitting firewood. You can use a gas log splitter outdoors, an electric log splitter indoors or outdoors, a manual log splitter from the comfort of your living room, or a hatchet on a stump should you need the exercise.

manual log splitter is much easier than a hatchet, but may not be ideal if you're splitting lots of wood.

An electric log splitter is much easier and more powerful than a manual splitter, and it can be used safely indoors. It's quieter and doesn't give off fumes.

gas log splitter is the most powerful, but can only be used outdoors. It's usually larger, louder, and or course requires gasoline.

Once you choose the splitter(s) that you want, you can being splitting firewood. It's best to do a large amount in the early fall and stack it up someplace dry. This gives it time to cure and dry out. That way, by the time you need it, it'll be ready to burn.

Whatever you end up choosing, make sure you stay warm enough. This weather is dangerously cold, and you want to be sure you're safe.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Electric Log Splitter Hydraulic Oil

Electric log splitters may not require gasoline, but they do require the use of hydraulic oil. For electric log splitters, it's recommended you use hydraulic oil with a 10W weight rating. This type of hydraulic oil is capable of properly lubricating the moving parts of your splitter during cold or hot weather.

In addition to lubricating your splitter's moving parts, this hydraulic oil is also used for pressurizing the hydraulic system. When you start the motor, the hydraulic system begins to build up pressure with the hydraulic oil. The splitter is then capable of applying enough pressure on the log to split it against the splitter wedge.

You need to change the hydraulic oil in your log splitter after every 150 hours of operation time. If you don't, you run the risk of damaging components within your hydraulic system when the sediment within the oil settles onto your splitter's hydraulic components.

It's also possible for the oil levels to get low if now maintained properly. If your log splitter motor is giving off a humming sound and the pusher isn't moving, you may need to add more oil. If it's been a while, you should first drain the old oil and then refill it with the proper amount of fresh oil. Use your dipstick to measure the oil level to ensure it's where it should be.

Lastly, be sure you're bleeding your hydraulic system during use. Electric log splitters have a bleed screw that allows air out of the system to prevent over-pressurizing it. The bleed screw should remain tightened shut during storage or whenever the splitter is being moved., but should be opened whenever in use to avoid damaging the internal components.