When faced with a yard covered in leaves, a good leaf blower is one of the most practical and time-saving tools you can own. Rather than spend countless hours raking leaves into piles, you can blast through them in no time, saving yourself lots of hassle.
There are several different types of leaf blower vacuums, and they all need to be started slightly differently. While electric corded or cordless blowers are extremely simple to operate, gas-powered models are a little more complicated. Whichever type you have at home, here, we explain how to start a leaf blower.
Here’s a video with some excellent tips for starting gas-powered blowers.
Corded electric machines
If you have a corded electric leaf blower, you have one of the easiest types to start. Make sure you read the instruction manual to find out exactly how your model works, but it shouldn’t be more complicated than plugging it in and hitting the “on” switch.
If you have problems starting a new tool, check that it is plugged into a power outlet and that the power is on. If you have read the manual and followed the instructions and it still doesn’t work, there might be some kind of problem that needs to be fixed.
Cordless electric machines
Cordless leaf blowers are basically the same as corded versions to start. Read the manual, make sure the battery is plugged in and hit “start” – that’s all you need to do.
If you have problems starting a battery-powered leaf blower, the obvious thing to check before taking it to a repair shop is that the battery is charged up and ready to go.
2-stroke gas-powered machines
Most gas leaf blowers incorporate a 2-cycle engine. That is because this type of engine is both small and powerful. These are slightly more complicated to start than electric versions, so here are the steps you should follow.
1. Prepare the gas and oil mixture
2-stroke engines require fuel that is a mixture of gasoline and oil to run. Most units run on a solution that is one part oil to 50 parts gas, or a ratio of 1:50. This works out at 2½oz oil to a gallon of gas. However, you should check the manual to be sure this is the correct ratio for your model.
Mix these in the correct proportions in a gas can and give it a shake to ensure they are properly combined. Be careful to measure the amounts accurately since using the wrong proportions will cause your blower to smoke and can even damage the machine.
2. Pour in slowly
Once you have made the gas and oil mixture, you can pour it slowly into your leaf blower.
3. Make sure the starter switch is in the “on” position
Some blowers have an “on” switch. Make sure it is in the correct position or the blower won’t start.
4. Set the choke to the starting position
Before you start the blower, if starting from cold, you need to put the choke into the starting position. Make sure this is done before moving to the next step.
5. Prime the engine
The next step is to prime the engine. Press the primer bulb five or six times.
6. Pull the starter cord
Take the cord firmly in one hand and hold the blower securely in the other. Give the cord a good strong pull. You may need to do this four or five times to start the engine, and after each pull, you should feed the cord back in slowly rather than just letting it snap back into place.
7. Let the engine run for a few seconds
Once the engine starts, you need to let it run for between 10 and 30 seconds. If you have a machine with a manual choke, after the engine has been running for a while, you should put the choke into the “run” position.
Some models have a semi-automatic choke that returns to the run position by itself. If you have one of these models, you don’t need to worry about it.
8. Blast those leaves!
If you have followed the steps correctly, your engine should be running, and you are ready to get to work.
4-stroke gas-powered machines
If you have a 4 cycle leaf blower, the procedure is almost the same as with a 2-cycle machine. The big difference is that they take fuel that is pure gas rather than a gas-oil mix. Simply add the fuel to your machine and follow the rest of the steps for 2-cycle blowers.
If you are having problems starting your blower despite following the steps above, there are a few things you can check.
- Check that you have fresh fuel in the blower
Since fuel doesn’t age well, if your fuel is over 30 days old, your blower might not start up or work properly. If the fuel has gone bad, remove it and add fresh fuel.
- Check the spark plug
Another common reason for a blower not to start is because the spark plug is damaged, dirty or old. Check it, clean it or replace it as necessary and try starting up the blower again.
- Check the air filter
You should also check that the air filter is not dirty or blocked as this will also prevent your machine from starting.
Remove the panel and inspect the filter. If it is just a little dirty, give it a clean. If it is too dirty, it might be a better idea to replace it.
- Check that the fan is not blocked
A blocked fan will also prevent a blower from starting correctly. Make sure there are no leaves or other debris stuck inside. Remove anything that might be preventing it from turning and try again.
Read the manual and understand your machine
All leaf blowers are different, so the most important thing to do is to read the manual. Make sure you know which type you have – especially if it is a gas-powered version – and follow the instructions in the manual as well as the instructions in our guide. This should ensure you can get your machine started quickly, easily and with a minimum of fuss.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.