You rely on outdoor power equipment in the winter: Fuel it correctly

Submitted Photo Outdoor power equipment must have the right fuel so it runs well all season.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Winter weather is unpredictable. Home and business owners rely on outdoor power equipment to keep the power on, clear obstructions from yards and driveways, and keep their families and businesses safe. Do you know how to correctly fuel and maintain equipment so it runs well all season?

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) offers tips to help users protect their equipment and get the most from it when it’s needed during the winter.

“By its very nature, winter weather is unpredictable. Trees can fall due to ice, snow, or wind and cause power outages. You need your generator to keep the lights and heat on, and your chainsaw and snow thrower to help you clear the way,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.

“Whether you’re using battery, gasoline, propane, diesel or hybrid-powered equipment, there is a product to meet your needs. But you have to know how to fuel it correctly,” Kiser said.

If using gasoline-powered equipment, OPEI reminds everyone to protect their power and choose the right fuel for the equipment they are using. Most outdoor power equipment is warranted to run on gasoline containing E10 (10 percent ethanol) or less. But many higher ethanol fuel blends, such as E15, E30 and E85, are available in the marketplace.

“As government policies continue to bring uncertainty into the gasoline retail marketplace, especially regarding ethanol content levels in gasoline, the consumer has to make sure the right fuel is chosen for the right product. Protect your power with proper fueling,” Kiser said.

“Avoid mis-fueling. Use 10 percent ethanol (E10) fuel blends or less in your chain saw, portable generator, snow thrower, trimmer, blower and other outdoor power equipment,” Kiser said.

Here are safety tips to help home and business owners:

– Consult the equipment’s owner’s manual and follow all fueling guidelines for your outdoor power equipment. Familiarize yourself with the controls. If you have lost your manual, look it up online.

– Inspect equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take your equipment to a qualified service representative.

– Clean equipment. Remove any dirt or debris. A clean machine will run more efficiently and last longer.

– Drain old fuel. Fuel sitting in the tank for more than 30 days (without a fuel stabilizer) can deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.

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

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

– Safely store your fuel in an approved container and away from flames or heat sources. Keep fuel out of the reach of children and pets.

– Never add fuel to a hot engine. Wait for it to cool before fueling.

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.

Visit for more tips and go to for safe fueling information.