Fueling Your Power Equipment: Know the Right Way to Do It
Ready to DYI a few outdoor projects with a new or infrequently used power tool? Make sure you’re well informed about how to properly fuel your machinery for both optimal efficiency and maximum safety.
According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), before homeowners start up their mowers, trimmers, blowers, power washers, etc., they need to conduct a complete maintenance check, including finding out the right type of fuel to buy. OPEI recommends taking these four steps before filling the fuel tank:
1. Read the owner’s manual. Sounds basic, however, many times we’re too excited about a new piece of equipment to thoroughly read the instructions, and with older equipment, we tend to think we already know it all. However, now is the perfect time for a refresh to find out the manufacturer’s fueling recommendations and make sure you’re using the type of fuel specified.
2. Make sure the fuel already in your equipment is fresh. If you’re pulling out a piece of equipment that hasn’t been used in a while, make sure you start with fresh fuel. OPEI says that fuel should not sit in the tank for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) left in the system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or operating problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.
3. Purchase the correct fuel. Be aware that the fuel you use for your automobile may not be the right fuel for your machinery. OPEI says that you should only use E10 or less fuel in any outdoor power equipment. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) gas or higher ethanol fuel blends, but any fuel containing greater than 10 percent ethanol can damage – and is illegal to use, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – in small engine equipment not designed for it.
4. Look into a fuel additive or the manufacturer’s fuel. The manufacturers of your power equipment may make fuel additives and fuels to improve equipment performance and mitigate any fueling problems caused by ethanol-based fuels. Check with your manufacturer’s recommendations to see if these products may help the efficiency of your equipment.
When you’re done with your outdoor power equipment for the season, remember to drain the fuel before storing. OPEI also recommends servicing and winterizing your lawn mower, string trimmer, leaf blower and other equipment before tucking them away. This will help keep them in good shape when they’re ready to be used again.