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Safety Tips to Prep for Spring Yard Work

Heading into the spring season after a long winter, you may be looking forward to ge...

Heading into the spring season after a long winter, you may be looking forward to getting your yard back in shape.

“After a long winter, we know that everyone is eager to get outside and start working in their yards. But remember to make safety a priority,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “Make sure you’re ‘backyard ready’ by doing some basic maintenance now when we are on the cusp of spring. This will ensure your equipment operates safely and gets the job done.”

Here are tips from OPEI to help:

Get out owner’s manuals. Follow all guidelines for outdoor power equipment and familiarize yourself with the controls. Misplaced manuals can be found online (and saved on your computer for future reference).

Inspect equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take equipment to a qualified service representative. Repair shops are busy when spring arrives. Getting equipment serviced before the rush means you’ll be ready to get outside right away.

Drain old fuel. Fuel should not sit in your equipment’s 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 even damage to the fuel system. “Old” fuel should be drained and removed, and then newly-purchased fuel should be added.

Only use E10 or less fuel. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) gas or higher ethanol fuel blends, but any fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol can damage—and is illegal to use—in small engine equipment not designed for it.

Label fuel cans with the date of purchase and ethanol content of the fuel. Never put “old” gas in outdoor power equipment. If you don’t know the date of purchase, dispose safely of the fuel in the can and buy fresh fuel.

Clean equipment. Remove dirt, oil or grass stuck to it. A clean machine will run more efficiently and last longer.

Set expectations with your family and pets. It’s been a long winter for them too, and they may want to be outside while you are doing yard work. But while outdoor power equipment is in use, the safest place for kids and pets is inside your home and under the supervision of a responsible adult. Talk with your family about safety and remind them to follow procedures. 


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