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Getting Your Outdoor Power Equipment Ready for Winter Storage: 9 Tips to Help

And homeowners will need to get snow throwers, generators and other small engine equipment out and ready for winter use. — Submitted photo

Fall is a busy season in the yard for home and business owners. After the lawn gets its last cut before winter, it will be time to put away spring and summer outdoor power equipment, like lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws and trimmers.

And homeowners will need to get snow throwers, generators and other small engine equipment out and ready for winter use.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, utility vehicle, golf car and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, offers tips to help home and business owners prepare for upcoming seasonal changes.

Here’s a few tips to help:

Review your owner’s manual for your equipment. Re-familiarize yourself with how to handle your equipment safely and any maintenance needs. If you lost your manual, you can usually find it online. Save a copy on your computer if possible, so you can consult it when needed.

Service all of your equipment. Before storing equipment you won’t need during the winter months, clean and service it yourself or take it to a small engine repair shop. Drain and change engine oil and dispose of old oil safely. Service the air filter, and do other maintenance activities as directed by your service manual. Check all winter equipment and see what maintenance and repairs are required.

Handle fuel properly. Unused gas left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale. It can even damage your equipment. For equipment you’ll store, add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run until the equipment until the gas tank is empty. For winter equipment, be sure you know what fuel your manufacturer recommends be used. Most outdoor power equipment is designed, built and warranted to run on ten percent or less ethanol fuel.

Charge the battery. If your equipment has a battery, remove and fully charge it before storing. It’s important batteries not be stored on metal shelves or touching metal objects. Store the battery on a plastic or wood shelf in a climate-controlled structure.

Shelter your equipment from winter weather. Store your spring and summer equipment in a clean and dry place such as a garage, barn or shed. Winter equipment should be kept away from the elements, but be easily available for use when needed. Always keep your outdoor power equipment out of the reach of children and pets.

Do a yard cleanup. Clear the paths you use regularly in your yard, especially during the winter, and put away warm weather items. Make space in your garage or basement before the weather changes, so you have room to store larger yard items, like patio furniture, umbrellas and summer toys.

If you are getting out winter equipment, such as a generator or snow thrower, review safe handling procedures. Familiarize yourself with your equipment and make sure you know how to turn on and off the machine and how to use the equipment safely.

Find and prepare to fill your gas can. Buy the type of fuel recommended by your equipment manufacturer no more than 30 days before you will use it. You should use fuel with no more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment. Also, fuel goes stale and will need to be replaced if you have not used it within a month. Use a fuel stabilizer if recommended by your manufacturer.  

Have the right weather appropriate extension cord for your generator. Keep heavy duty weather proof extension cords on hand to use with your generator.