When the colder weather blows in, it’s often time to put away such outdoor power equipment as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and trimmers, and get out snow throwers, generators and other small-engine equipment.
Questions To Consider
To help home and business owners prepare for this change, the experts at the Outdoor Power Equip-ment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, en-gine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, suggest you ask yourself seven questions:
1. Do you know how to use your equipment properly? Review owner’s manuals for equipment. Re-familiarize yourself with safe handling procedures and required maintenance needs. If you lost your man-ual, you can probably find it online.
2. Does any of your equipment need servicing? Before storing equipment, clean and service it or take it to a small-engine repair shop. Drain and change engine oil and dispose of old oil safely. Service the air fil-ter and do other maintenance activities as directed by your service manual. Check all equipment coming out of storage and see what maintenance and repairs are required.
3. Are batteries fully charged? Remove and fully charge any batteries before storage or to ready your winter equipment for a sudden, unexpected weather event.
4. Have you drained the fuel tank in stored equipment? Unused gas left in tanks for months can go stale. It can even damage your equipment. For equipment you’ll store over the winter, add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, let the machine cool, then restart and run until the gas tank is empty.
5. Is equipment properly sheltered from rough weather? Store warm weather equipment in a clean and dry place such as a garage, barn or shed. Cold weather equipment should also be kept away from the ele-ments but available for use. Always keep outdoor power equipment out of the reach of children.
6. Is your yard tidy and free of debris? Clear the paths regularly used. Make space in your garage or basement before the weather changes so you have room to store larger items, such as patio furniture, um-brellas and toys.
7. Have you found and prepared your gas can? Always know the appropriate fuel needed. Most out-door power equipment was designed, built and warranted to run on 10 percent or less ethanol fuel. Buy the type of fuel recommended by your equipment manufacturer. Fuel goes stale and will need to be replaced if you have not used it within 30 days. Use a fuel stabilizer if recommended by your manufacturer. It’s important to protect your power by using the correct fuel.
“Good maintenance means equipment will be in great shape when you want to tackle landscaping pro-jects again,” explained Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “Now is also the time for snow thrower and generator maintenance and reviewing safe handling procedures.”
Learn More: Get more information on safe fueling for outdoor power equipment at www.LookBeforeYouPump.com and find additional safety tips at www.OPEI.org.