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Thread: Block Heater question

  1. #1

    Default Block Heater question

    Hey guys I just moved to Edmonton from Vancouver and my car does not have a block heater. I currently work at Nisku usually 4-6 shifts a week 10-12 hrs a day. I am able to park my car inside the shop for the duration of my shift so my car stays at room temperature. I'm looking for people's opinion to see whether it would still be necessary for me to still have a block heater installed. My car still sits outside my house for about 11 hrs when I am not working and full days on my days off. I currently own a 2008 Ford Escape with about 104,000 km on it. Any advice would be great. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    It'd be extremely advisable to get a block heater or an oil pan heater if a block heater can't be installed. If your car sits for full days on your days off it is extremely hard on the engine to start if it's during a deep freeze.

  3. #3
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    Block heater. Living in Edmonton without a block heater is unheard of. Sorry, you will need it.

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    yes. it's only for a couple months that you need it... (january, february) but if you need it to get to work then for sure. it doesn't cost that much

  5. #5

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    I would say most definitely for Alberta winters get a block heater. I know of people who have bought cars from out of province and winter rolled around did not realize there was not a block heater. Usually its been noticed after the temperature drops and someone suggests they start plugging their vehicles in.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

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    Aside from being kinder on your engine, you'll also personally appreciate having a block heater. Since your coolant will be nice and warm, the heat in your vehicle will kick in much faster.

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    Agree with all of the above, but would add a few things:

    1) you don't need to plug in every day - depending on how old your battery is - only -18 and colder most likely, and

    2) Plug into an outlet controlled by a switch if possible. The block, or oil pan will be ready with only 20-30 minutes of heating. Why pay for hours of electricity that is entirely superfluos.
    ... gobsmacked

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    I use -18C (0 F) as my plugging in temp too. Anything below that is plug in time for me new or old battery. Twas minus 32 this morning out here before windchill and -38 with windchill. brrrr
    Last edited by Drumbones; 09-01-2015 at 03:33 PM.

  9. #9

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    A block heater will ease the strain on your starter solenoid which can burn out if you neglect to plug it in during cold spells. You can butcher the damn thing in anything above -22, but when it burns out it can run you a couple hundred, especially if a fuse goes or something else. Use a block heater on a timer or switch for anything around -20 and under, for sure.
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

  10. #10
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    Get one and I would also reiterate what McBoo said.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

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    If you park on your off days in a garage, even if unheated, it's probably not necessary. Most garages are at least 5C warmer than exterior and not exposed to wind. Some remote car starters have an option to start the car every X hours automatically if the temp drops below Y degrees. Not the most fuel efficient, but comfortable and you'd don't have to worry about plugging/unplugging the car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    I use -18C (0 F) as my plugging in temp too. Anything below that is plug in time for me new or old battery. Twas minus 32 this morning out here before windchill and -38 with windchill. brrrr
    if it's windy your car/engine block will cool down faster because there is greater volume of air taking up that warmth but windchill actually has zero effect on your actual car/engine block temperature. if it's minus 32 out they will be minus 32 regardless of any windchill factor there might be for people exposed to it.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

  13. #13

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    Don't forget the oil and battery.

    I've parked my cars and SUVs outside for years at various jobs, with them sometimes sitting 16 -18 hours and they've always started - just barely some days. Never had starter/solenoid or other failures (with upwards of 300,000 km on a couple Saabs). However I've always tried to use a synthetic oil or part synthetic oil during the winter months and always bought the biggest and best battery I could find for the cars. ...and yes, I recognize that I was abusing the cars engines on the coldest days. ...and leaving the office at midnight and hoping your car will start probably isn't for most people, but the laziest optimists like me. Block heaters allow you to sleep at night - in your home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    I use -18C (0 F) as my plugging in temp too. Anything below that is plug in time for me new or old battery. Twas minus 32 this morning out here before windchill and -38 with windchill. brrrr
    if it's windy your car/engine block will cool down faster because there is greater volume of air taking up that warmth but windchill actually has zero effect on your actual car/engine block temperature. if it's minus 32 out they will be minus 32 regardless of any windchill factor there might be for people exposed to it.
    I've heard that before and yet if your car is facing into the wind it may. A concern of mine also when parking in a warm place at work and then outside overnight. While your car is parked in the nice warm spot the ice cold gasoline tank may accumulate some condensation inside and later parked outside this will freeze, it may be a good idea to add a tiny container of gasline antifreeze at fillup time. Every gas station has it. If you don't you may find yourself stranded with a frozen gas line. Keep some in the car too. If it happens you can dump some in and it will thaw the line in time. Welcome to the great frozen north. lol

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    Gas with ethanol will also help for this.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Gas with ethanol will also help for this.
    Yeah, whether it really works or not, in the winter I try to run a tank of ethanol based gas through every so often to clear out any condensation. ...and again whether this is works or not I don't know, but supposedly keeping the tank above 1/2 creates less surface area on the tank walls above for condensation to form. (Probably also depends on the humidity at the time of filling.)

  17. #17

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    Use synthetic oil and upgrade you battery to one with at least 800cca. Then you should be able to get away from one.

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