Is your equipment cold-weather ready? | Living the Country Life

Is your equipment cold-weather ready?

A lot can go wrong over the winter when tools aren't properly winterized. To avoid all that stress, use our tips that will have you happy when everything gets pulled out again in spring!
  • Winter chainsaw maintenance

    Chainsaws need to be protected from moisture to prevent woodchips from freezing up. To do this, keep the air filter and sprocket cover area free of snow and ice. 

    Keep an eye on the lubricant. Oil tends to become thicker with colder temperatures. Try using an oil weight made for winter chainsaw use to keep clear of this issue. 

    If your chainsaw has a winter operation feature, make sure to take advantage of that when temperatures drop below 40 degrees. 

    Watch out for stretching chains. Chains expand a bit in summer, but cold weather pushes them to stretch even farther as the chainsaw warms up. Adjust as necessary.

    Date Published: December 9, 2013
    Date Updated: April 2, 2014
  • Cold weather irrigation care

    Irrigation systems are expensive to repair and to replace, so be sure to properly winterize them before the cold weather sets in. To do this, disconnect your system's pump, drain it, and store it inside. If you have a backflow preventer, take it off and store it inside where it will have no chance of freezing. 

    The main shut off valve should be freeze-proof and the water supply that is connected to the system should be completely shut off. Use an air compressor to push out the water in the system, but don't make the mistake of using extremely high pressure. It's the volume of water pushed through the system that is important. If using a manual system, connect your compressor and you'll know the pressure is about right when sprinklers pop up and operate as usual. Make sure to start at the lateral zone farthest away from the compressor and work your way back, making sure to stop the pressure as soon as the line is dry. 

    Date Published: December 9, 2013
    Date Updated: April 2, 2014
  • Winterize landscape equipment

    Scrape caked-on dirt, pesticides, and fertilizers off of not only small garden tools, but also from your lawn fertilizer spreader. Use a soapy mix to clean it up, as well as the actual hopper. Apply oil to the hopper and any other moving parts, then store with the door open. 

    Compressed air sprayer tanks need to be filled about a quarter full of a very mild dishwasher solution. Shake it around to loosen up any sticky residue, then rinse out and drain from the bottom. When dry, put a few drops of oil in the pump cylinder and pump it a few times so it is properly dispersed.

    Remove all garden hoses from their given faucets, coil them up, and put them in storage for the winter. If forgotten, they can cause a pipe to burst inside your home when water freezes inside them. 

    Date Published: December 9, 2013
    Date Updated: April 2, 2014
  • Avoid power washer freezing

    The main goal of winterizing power washers is to get rid of any water in the pump because it will freeze and cause damage. These tips can also be used if the machine just won't be used for a longer period of time. 

    Drain the fuel tank, disconnect hoses, and make sure all the water is out of the pump. Easily pull the rope on the engine a few times to accomplish this. Then, turn off the engine and store somewhere warm for the winter.

    If there is any risk of the machine being in freezing temperatures, run a 50-50 mixture of antifreeze and water through the inlet connection. Circulate the solution by pulling the recoil a few times before expelling the antifreeze through the sprayer. 

    Keep in mind the whole power washer may need to be cleaned before being winterized. If any nozzles are clogged, detach the spray wand and unclog the nozzles with a small piece of wire or a paper clip. Flush the nozzle backwards with water. 

    Date Published: December 9, 2013
    Date Updated: April 2, 2014
  • Winterizing the gas can

    Fuel left in the can is usually not useful after about 60 days. If the can isn't stored properly, it can go bad much faster.

    To extend your fuel life, keep the back air vent of the can closed. Many leave this open, which actually just breaks down the fuel faster with the air coming in. Also add stabilizer as soon as you fill the can. They must be mixed immediately to keep gas fresh.

    If you have drained the fuel from your mower into the can, it won't be usable next year. To put it to use, fill up your car's gas tank. It won't do any damage since there isn't enough oil to do any harm in mower fuel. 

    Take your fuel to the gas station to dispose of it if you still don't believe in putting it in your vehicle. Remember to never pour it down a drain or on the ground. 

    Date Published: December 9, 2013
    Date Updated: April 2, 2014
  • Don't forget the mower!

    Don't assume your mower will survive the winter with fuel sitting idly in the machine. If you want to simply get rid of the fuel, run the mower until it dies. If you prefer to leave fuel in it, be sure to add stabilizer to ensure that the fuel doesn't turn into varnish and gum up the fuel system. After adding stabilizer, run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

    To avoid rust or corrosion in the cylinder, take out the spark plug and add about half a tablespoon of oil (same that's used with the fuel) into the cylinder. Then pull the engine over slowly to get the oil spread around the cylinder. 

    If a powerful spray from the garden hose doesn't clear out grass clippings on the underside of the deck, be sure to try alternative methods of cleaning to fight rust over the winter. An old bristled pot scrubber is a great option! Clean and sharpen blades before storing.

    Date Published: December 9, 2013
    Date Updated: April 2, 2014

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