HOW TO: STORE EQUIPMENT FOR WINTER

As cold weather approaches, so does the need for winterizing your equipment. Following is a short supplies list and some tips for keeping your equipment in top shape:

Supplies:
Silicone spray Fuel stabilizer
Winter grade engine oil WD-40
Spark plugs Sand paper or steel wool
Linseed oil

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Mowers, tillers and other power equipment: Give your mowers a good cleaning, removing grass and other debris from the deck and under the deck. Spray under the deck with silicone spray, which helps keep grass and debris from sticking. Sharpen the blades. Drain the oil and refill with clean oil, then run the equipment for a few minutes to distribute clean oil throughout the engine. Disconnect the spark plug, add a few drops of light oil in the cylinder and pull the crank cord a few times or use the key on an electric start mower; install a new spark plug. Fill the tank with fuel and add a fuel stabilizer. Completely filling the tank prevents rust-promoting condensation from forming in the empty space. For equipment with a battery, remove and charge the battery and store until ready to use the equipment in the spring.

Sprayers: Add a mild detergent solution to the tank, replace the top and shake to dissolve or loosen any residues; spray out the solution and drain the tank. Add a few drops of oil into the pump cylinder and work the plunger several times to coat the inner workings with oil. Relabel the tank, as to whether it is used for herbicides (broad spectrum or other), insecticides or fungicides. Store completely dry. Nozzle tips and screens should be cleaned with a soft brush.

Garden tools: Clean off the dirt and debris, remove rust spots with steel wool or sandpaper, then coat with WD-40. Rub linseed oil into wooden handles. Oil the moving parts on pruners and loppers. Check that all parts are still sturdy, replace handles that are broken or appear worn out. Sharpen the blades on shovels, pruners and other tools meant to cut.

Spreaders: Fertilizer residue is hard on moving parts. Clean all parts and apply a coat of silicone spray to the hopper and oil any moving parts. Store with shutter wide open. Continue to keep the spreader clean if it is to be used to throw equally harsh, deicing chemicals.

Snow Blowers: While you are preparing the above equipment for storage, pull out your snow blowers and prepare them for winter usage. Start the engines to be sure they are still operational. Because you changed the oil after the last snow the previous year, it should still be in good shape. Lubricate all moving parts and spray the chute with silicone spray to help prevent snow from clogging.

Chainsaws: If you live in an area prone to tree damage due to winter storms, you will need to have your chainsaws ready to go. Check the fuel and add a winter grade bar oil. Sharpen the chain and have plenty of spare chains. Your local equipment supplier may also be in the chainsaw sharpening business. It may be worth your while to let them perform this labor intensive task.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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