Summer is almost here, and more homeowners than ever are spending time in their lawns and backyards while sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners are opening up their garages and sheds and getting out their mowers, trimmers, blowers, power washers, and other outdoor power equipment to make their yards and landscapes the most purposeful as possible. Plus, just getting outside and working a little in the yard helps reduce stress.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of power equipment, small engines and battery power, utility and personal transport vehicles, and golf cars, offers a few tips to help you get “backyard ready” for summer—starting with proper fueling of your equipment.
“You want your equipment available when you need it, and that starts with proper maintenance and fueling,” said Kris Kiser, OPEI President and CEO. “Always check which fuel you’re buying before filling up.”
Here are four questions to ask before you start fueling outdoor power equipment:
#1 – Have you read the owner’s manual for the equipment? Always follow your equipment manufacturer’s fueling recommendations and use the type of fuel specified.
#2 – Is the fuel in your equipment fresh? 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 running problems and, in some cases, damage the fuel system. If you discover old fuel in the tank, drain it and properly dispose it (by putting it in your car engine for example).
#3 – Did you purchase the correct fuel? There are many choices at the pump today, and you should only use E10 or less fuel in any outdoor power equipment. What goes in your car or truck may not be the correct fuel to use in your 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 according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) –in small engine equipment not designed for it.
#4 – Are you using a fuel additive or the manufacturer’s fuel? Many manufacturers make fuel additives and fuels, sold at retail locations, to improve equipment performance and mitigate any fueling problems caused by ethanol-based fuels. Check with your manufacturer’s recommendations and make the best choice that will keep your equipment running strong.
“It’s important to pay attention to good fueling habits, because it helps maintain your investment in your outdoor power equipment,” he said. “Also remember to only use an authorized container for gasoline and to keep fuel out of the reach of children and pets.”