The temperatures in Sarasota and Manatee have already dropped to some unusual lows and swung back to their averages. The weather phenomenon isn’t unexpected to those who have lived along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the Sunshine State, but what might be out of the ordinary is trouble with one of the most used landscaping machines, the leaf blower.
These come in electric and fuel models, when electric powered machines fail, that’s typically a sign it’s time to buy a new one because the cost of repair will likely be near or more than a new purchase. However, that’s not the case for fuel powered blowers, which, like all internal combustion engines, may not start or stay running from time to time. Because we live in a subtropical climate, a leaf blower is one lawn care tool that gets a lot of use, not just for leaf control, but to blow grass clippings away from the patio, driveway, and sidewalk.
Nothing can be more frustrating than to put in hours worth of work, only to reach for the last thing you need and discover it won’t start or won’t keep running. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a garden machine expert or a mechanic to get it to work again. The fixes are usually simple and straightforward, meaning you’ll be able to get back to your cleanup, which you might be doing wrong.
Raking Leaves for Better Lawn Health
It might surprise you to learn that what you think to be such a simple task tends to take so long to complete, raking leaves. Okay, so a combination of blowing leaves into a pile, then raking them into a bag or shoveling them into a bin. But just why, aside from aesthetics, do we rake leaves off our lawns? The answer is straightforward, a layer of decaying leaves might provide nutrients to the soil, which grass thrives upon, but leaves covering said sod will deprive it of sunlight, something very crucial to lawn health.
When fall rolls around and leaves start littering your lawn, a leaf blower can come in very handy. It can be pretty frustrating, though, when you try to use your blower and it doesn’t operate properly. While some issues may requires professional assistance, you should familiarize yourself with some of the more common leaf blower problems so you can troubleshoot the matter as quickly as possible and get back to blowing those pesky leaves off your lawn. —San Francisco Chronicle
Now, what about your health? Put another way, why does it take so much work to blow, rake, sack, a discard leaves in the first place? It takes a lot of time because you’re probably doing something that’s counterproductive. The most efficient way to use a rake or leaf blower is to place a tarp in the center of your lawn. Weigh or pin down all four corners, then, start in the left corner nearest your home’s exterior, and blow the leaves toward and onto the tarp. Next, do the same starting from the right exterior.
Once the tarp is covered in leaves, cinch it up and dump the contents into a compost bin or put the leaves into lawn bags and set the bags out to be picked-up. Another trick pros use is not to fret over every single leaf that doesn’t find its way to the pile. This is why it takes so long, trying to achieve unison perfection.
Tips for Leaf Blower Troubleshooting Tips
Now, if your leaf blower isn’t working, start with the most obvious problem, shortage of fuel. If that fuel has sat for some time and contains ethanol, it might be “stale.” Which means it needs to be disposed of properly, don’t just dump it down a storm drain. To get your fuel and oil mixture to last more than sixty days, add stabilizer to the combination and if possible, use at least 87 octane, ethanol-free gas. Here are some other tips for troubleshooting a leaf blower:
- Check the fuel filter. Fuel filters can become obstructed over time and must be cleared or replaced. This is simple to do and doesn’t take much time.
- Check the spark plug. If the spark plug is fouled and/or corroded, then it’s time to replace it.
- Check the air filter. An obstructed or dirty air filter will cause the engine to stall or not start.
- Check the impeller. The impeller is the “drive” of a leaf blower, performing the same functions as a fan. It if is cracked or obstructed, it won’t work and needs to be replaced.
If the problem is with insufficient air volume delivery, or, it doesn’t blow with force, the tube might be obstructed. With the engine off and cool, remove the tube and clear it out.