As March’s wild and unpredictable weather continues, business owners may be wondering what outdoor power equipment they will need to pull out of the facility shed on any given day. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) offers tips to help users get the most from their equipment when they need it.
“All across the United States, we’re seeing weather at its most creative. Some parts of the country are buried in snow and freezing temperatures, while others are experiencing an unseasonably warm spring. Trees are falling due to wind and spring storms with accompanying power outages,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.
At this time of year, people are using snow throwers, chain saws and portable generators all at the same time due to diverse climate zones in the country. “Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of outdoor power equipment, where there are tools to help you deal with diverse weather events,” says Kiser. “Whether you’re using battery, gasoline, propane, diesel or hybrid powered equipment, there is a product to meet your needs.”
If using gasoline-powered equipment, OPEI reminds everyone to choose the right fuel for the equipment they are using. Most outdoor power equipment is warranted to run on gasoline containing E10 (10 percent ethanol) or less. But many higher ethanol fuel blends, such as E15, E30 and E85, are available in the marketplace.
“As government policies continue to bring uncertainty into the gasoline retail marketplace, especially regarding ethanol content levels in gasoline, it comes down to the user making sure they choose the right fuel for the right product. As Washington sorts out the ethanol dilemma, we must sort it out, too,” said Kiser.
He adds, “Look before you pump—always. Avoid misfueling. Use 10 percent ethanol (E10) fuel blends or less in your chain saw, lawn mower, portable generator, snow thrower, power washer, trimmer, blower and other outdoor power equipment.”
Here are safety tips to outdoor power equipment owners:
#1: Read your owner’s manual and follow all fueling guidelines for your outdoor power equipment. Familiarize yourself with the controls. If you have lost your manual, look it up online.
#2: Drain old fuel. Don’t leave fuel sitting 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 running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.
#3: Only use E10 or less fuel. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) gas or higher ethanol fuel blends, but any fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol can damage — and is illegal to use in — small engine equipment not designed for it.
#4: Label your fuel can with the date of purchase and ethanol content of the fuel. Never put “old” gas in your outdoor power equipment. If you don’t know the date of purchase, dispose safely of the fuel in the can and buy fresh fuel.
#5: Inspect your equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take your equipment to a qualified service representative.
#6: Clean your equipment. Remove any dirt, oil or grass stuck to it. A clean machine will run more efficiently and last longer.