- Block heater
A block heater is an electric
heaterthat heats the engineof a car to ease starting in cold weather. They are connected to normal AC power overnight or before driving, via regular power plugs that are fed through a vehicle's grille. This allows easier starting in cold temperatures, by keeping the coolantwarm. Heaters are also available for motor oilso that warm oil can quickly circulate and warm the engine during startup. The rapid heat circulation caused by block heaters also aids the initial vaporizationof fuel in the engine; because of this effect, block heaters reduce pollution, as poor fuel vaporization causes much higher emissions.
Block heaters are widely used in many northern U.S. states, and are very common in countries with colder climates like
Canadaand Scandinavia. In colder climates block heaters are often standard equipment in new vehicles. In extremely cold climates, electrical outlets are sometimes found in public or private parking lots, especially in multi-storey car parks. Some parking lots cycle the power on for 20 minutes and off for 20 minutes (e.g., the Light Rail Transit lots for a number of Canadian cities), in order to reduce electricity costs. This results in a decrease in heating effectiveness for the average block heater. However, to what extent this reduces block temperatures in −30 degrees Celsius (−20 degrees Fahrenheit) weather is in question.
Block heaters are usually inserted into a
freeze plugmanufacturing hole in the cylinder block, heating the metal, coolant and oil. These can be installed at the factory, or by any qualified automotive service center. A block heater can even be installed by the handy do-it-yourself'er.
There are many alternatives to a block heater that have some of the same benefits. A particularly simple option is to buy an after market heater that is attached to the
oil pan, sometimes with magnets. Also, one can even get a heated dipstick. Another alternative to block heaters is a battery warmer, which keeps just the battery warm. This maintains the efficiency of the battery, which is highly dependent on temperature, and is cheaper than heating the entire engine block. Heated blankets are available for the entire engine area, as well. A standard timer switch can be used with any of these heaters, so that it does not have to be left on all the time. This can help lower the electrical costs of owning and using a block heater. Andrew Freeman, a North Dakotan, invented the headbolt heater in 1947 and received a patent for it on November 8, 1949. [ [http://www.prairiepublic.org/programs/datebook/bydate/04/0204/021604.jsp/oil Dakota Datebook ] ] Before the block heater was invented, people utilized various means of warming engines before starting them, such as pouring hot wateron the engine block or draining the engine's oil for storage inside overnight. Some even shoveled hot coalsunderneath their vehicle's engine to achieve the same effect.
During the dawn of aviation in pre-war Northern Canada, aviators flew with flight engineers who were responsible for preparing the radial engines for shutdown and startup in order to mitigate the effects of sub-zero temperatures. The flight engineer was responsible for draining the oil into buckets at night, and pre-heating both the engine and the buckets of oil using a blanket wrapped around the engine and a device known as a
blow pot, essentially, a kerosene jet-heater used several hours prior to flight. [ [http://www.harbourpublishing.com/title/BentPropsBlowPots Harbour Publishing - Bent Props & Blow Pots ] ]
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Look at other dictionaries:
block heater — noun an electric heater that heats the engine of a car to ease starting in cold weather. Syn: headbolt heater, engine block heater, cylinder block heater … Wiktionary
block heater — A devices which, during very cold weather, keeps the engine warm when the vehicle is not being used thus making cold starts easier. The free end is plugged into 110 volt AC wall socket. It is especially important for starting diesel engines at… … Dictionary of automotive terms
block heater — an electrically operated immersion heater fitted either to enter the water hose or the water jacket surrounding the cylinder block of a motor to warm the coolant in cold weather. * * * … Universalium
block heater — an electrically operated immersion heater fitted either to enter the water hose or the water jacket surrounding the cylinder block of a motor to warm the coolant in cold weather … Useful english dictionary
cylinder block heater — An electric heater element in the water jacket connected at the other end to house current. The element warms the coolant so that in very cold weather the block will not crack and the car will start easier. Often just called block heater … Dictionary of automotive terms
engine block heater — See block heater … Dictionary of automotive terms
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block — That part of the engine containing the cylinders. Also see bearing block big block block heater brake block brake pad cylinder block die EN block en block engine block he … Dictionary of automotive terms
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heater plugs — Alaska slang An electrical plug protruding from the grill of your car or truck. Plug it into an outside outlet, at home or at a business and it keeps your engine block warm either overnight or while you re parking … English dialects glossary