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Maintenance Shop: Easy, breezy blower maintenance

November 15, 2021 -  By
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Crew member using blower (Photo: Echo)

Up and running Performing maintenance checks on blowers ensures they are ready to go for fall cleanup season. (Photo: Stihl)

While blowers may not feature chains and cutting attachments like other handheld equipment does, contractors still must maintain them properly to ensure their lifespan.

“Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new guy on the block, it’s important that you properly maintain and use the equipment,” says Andrew Johnson, product manager at Stihl. “Taking care of your equipment is rewarding in the long run. If you commit to regular and proactive maintenance, most major challenges can be avoided down the road.”

Johnson, Jack Easterly, brand manager at Husqvarna, and Jason Wilk, senior product manager at Echo, break down what landscape professionals should do when it comes to properly using and maintaining blowers.

Checklist

1. Carefully read the user’s manual before operating or maintaining the equipment, Johnson, Easterly and Wilk say.

2. Perform a visual inspection of the machine before using it to check for leaks and missing or broken pieces, Johnson says.

3. Confirm the brand and ratio of fuel/oil mix is the same as what’s recommended by the manufacturer, Easterly says.

Dirty air filter (Photo: Stihl)

Clean it out The air filter should be part of your daily engine checks. At the least, replace it every 90 hours of operation. (Photo: Echo)

4. Use high-quality, two-stroke engine oil. “Some people will go with cheap quality oil to save a few bucks, but that’s not designed to hold up over long periods of time. That oil can actually break down and cook itself to create a tar inside the engine,” Wilk says. “Try not to cut corners by saving a few bucks on oil because all that savings will go out the window when you have to bring the blower in for repairs or buy a new one.”

5. Check the air filter for clogs, dirt and tears. “When dirt gets through the air filter and into the engine, it acts as a gritty abrasive, and it just wears down the engine,” Wilk says. “It’s like taking a high-speed grinding wheel and grinding down that engine.”

6. Never use compressed air to clean the filter. It can damage the filter material, Johnson says.

7. Avoid heat and dirt. “There are two enemies of small two-stroke engines, which are what you find on handheld blowers: heat and dirt,” Wilk says. “Look for areas that may cause overheating of the engine or dirt ingestion of the engine. With leaves, especially dry ones, they can get sucked up into the air intakes.”

8. If something is obviously cracked, rattling or making unusual sounds, stop and take a closer look. “It’s better to pause and fix a problem, when possible, rather than using a machine that’s damaged and risk having to repair or possibly replace it, especially during an important time of year for generating revenue,” Easterly says.

9. Check spark plugs. “We recommend installing a new spark plug about every 100 hours or earlier if the electrode on the spark plug is showing any corrosion,” Johnson says.

10. Clean or replace the spark arrestor screen. A dirty spark arrestor screen can increase fuel consumption, causing the unit to run poorly and users to have a difficult time starting it, Johnson says.

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor. She can be reached at swebb@northcoastmedia.net.

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