With all electric equipment it is imperative good maintenance is a regular activity. You need to ensure your device remains reliable, has a good lifespan and perhaps most important of all, is safe to use both for yourself and those around you. A well maintained leaf blower will lead to:
• Effective use
• Time saving in the long term
• Financial gains in the long term
There are various models of leaf blower or Vacuum on the market. Some models are powered by petrol, some by electricity and some are battery operated. You can buy Leaf blowers which are hand held, in the form of a backpack or a 'walk behind'. But all types, brands and makes are fundamentally the same. They are all powered by a two stroke engine and use an impeller.
The seasonal changes in the country in which you live will probably determine how often you use your leaf blower. For instance in the United Kingdom, where there are clearly 4 distinct seasons, it will have its most active use in the autumn between September and December. Storage then is an important issue. You want to know that when the leaves are filling up the yard again you will not need to hot foot it down to the local DIY store because it is showing no signs of life.
The electric leaf blower does not need any real preparation before you store it away, however the petrol blower needs a thought before it disappears into your shed for a season. The problem with petrol leaf blowers is you are likely to leave petrol within the machine itself. Petrol has a shelf-life. If it is left for a long period it will actually turn to varnish and leave deposits in the carburettor fuel lines and combustion chamber. In the long term this could really affect the working of the two stroke engine and ultimately lead to poor performance when the machine is used again.
The solution to this problem is to add a fuel stabiliser into the petrol tank. The stabiliser works in a way to actually preserve the fuel, prevent it from deteriorating and leading to a clogged carburettor next season. Whether you own an electric or petrol leaf blower you should always make sure it is stored somewhere dry.
One of the most important elements of your petrol leaf blower is the air filter and it is important it is maintained regularly. The object of the filter is to ensure that only clean air is going into the engine. You will find the filter in an easily accessible compartment on the side of your equipment. The filter itself is in the shape of a small sponge which is easily removable. Take the sponge out and wash it with soapy water. Allow the filter to dry and then spray it with WD40 oil which is excellent for aiding the sponge in attracting more dirt.
Spark Plug Maintenance
One of the downsides of the two stroke engine is the spark plugs tend to wear out quite quickly. Ensuring that your equipment is switched off you will find the spark plug is easily found under the 'spark plug boot' - a rubber covering to the spark plug. Using a wrench, unscrew it and take it out of the machine. Now it is very important that the replacement is the same as the one the manufacturer recommends. This information should be available in the instruction manual. Do not try to replace it if you are unsure about this activity, as the wrong type of spark plug could lead to the leaf blower not running properly.
For ideal maintenance it is a good idea to get into the habit of checking off important procedures to ensure your equipment remains safe and reliable.
For optimum performance you should always give your equipment a once over check before you start using it. This includes checking the stop switch works correctly. For obvious reasons this could be a dangerous safety flaw if not in use. This also applies to the throttle lock and the trigger function. Make sure they feel comfortable to activate. If you have any doubts about use take it to a reputable dealer to check it out. Check that the fan impeller (this is what drives the air out of the exhaust) is clean. This is more important if the machine has been used for vacuuming debris and may have foreign material trapped in the fan or the exhaust.
Due to the fact that the vacuum is taking in debris into its internal workings, it is imperative that regular attention to the cleanliness of the internal working of your leaf blower is checked. It is important if the device is being used regularly that the engine is checked on a weekly basis. This would include anti-vibration mountings, the air intake at the starter device, and the carburettor space. It is also important to check the starter function, the starter cord and the tensioning spring. Once a week the fan blades on the flywheel should be thoroughly cleaned. The outside of the spark plug is another area which should be free of dirt. This can be done by unscrewing it and checking the electrode gap. It should be adjusted to 0.5mm.
On a monthly basis the fuel tank should be flushed with clean petrol and the carburettor should be cleaned as well as the fan blades of the fly wheel. It is important to check the fuel filter and also the fuel line as well as all cables, connections and spark plugs. Where your device has a muffler with a catalytic converter you should always make sure the mufflers spark arrest screen is checked and cleaned.