A leaf blower is one of the most indispensable power tools you can own. However, as with all power equipment, your leaf blower requires periodic maintenance to keep it running correctly. Essential maintenance includes everything from replacing the spark plug to cleaning the air and fuel filters.
Depending on your leaf blower, you can either clean the fuel filter or replace it. For example, if you have a side-mount fuel filter, you can clean or replace the felt filter element. However, if you have an inline fuel filter, your only option is replacing the entire unit.
This article will briefly discuss the signs of a clogged fuel filter followed by step by step instructions for cleaning or replacing your leaf blower’s fuel filter.
How to Know When to Clean a Leaf Blower’s Fuel Filter
With more than a dozen common uses, a leaf blower is one of the most versatile pieces of outdoor power equipment you can purchase. Obviously, you can use it during autumn for removing leaves. However, in the winter, you can use it to remove snow.
Likewise, you can clean up grass cutting during the spring and summer months. And, you can use it year-round for cleaning out your house’s gutters and for removing puddles of water, dirt, and other debris.
However you choose to use your leaf blower, it will require periodic and annual maintenance to include cleaning or replacing your unit’s fuel filter as they do tend to get clogged over time.
The most common reason for a fuel filter getting clogged is storing a leaf blower for an extended period with gas in the tank. Elements of the fuel will evaporate over time, leaving behind a thick, sticky residue that can clog the fuel filter.
You will know it is time to clean or replace your leaf blower’s fuel filter if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Trouble starting your leaf blower: Experiencing difficulty starting your leaf blower is the most common sign that you have a clogged fuel filter. A dirty fuel filter will make it challenging to start your leaf blower, and a fully-clogged one will make it impossible.
- Frequent sputtering: If your leaf blower misfires or sputters when in use, a partially clogged fuel filter is usually the culprit.
- Strong odors: If your leaf blower emits strong-smelling fume, that can be another sure sign of a partially clogged or dirty fuel filter.
- Frequent shutdowns: If your leaf blower suddenly shuts down for no apparent reason, that is usually a symptom of a dirty or clogged fuel filter.
How to Clean a Fuel Filter on a Leaf Blower
There are a couple of preliminary tasks to perform before you can clean the fuel filter on your leaf blower.
First, you should drain most of the fuel from the tank before cleaning the fuel filter. And, be sure to give the engine time to cool if you have been using it recently.
The 10 steps to cleaning a fuel filter are as follows:
- Remove the spark plug’s wire and boot to prevent any sparks.
- Rotate the choke knob on your leaf blower to its middle position.
- Locate the fuel filter cover on the side of your leaf blower and remove the screws. (You can check your owner’s manual or look online if you aren’t sure where the fuel filter housing is located.)
- Remove any loose dirt and debris appearing around the filter using a rag or paintbrush.
- Pull the fuel filter from the housing and remove the pre-filter from the rest of the unit.
- Wash the pre-filter using soapy water and place it for about an hour on a rag or paper towel to dry.
- Remove the felt filter element and either blow it out using a can of air or clean it using a paintbrush. (If you have difficulty thoroughly cleaning it, you might consider replacing the filter element.)
- Place the filter element and pre-filter back into the fuel filter housing and replace the screws.
- Reattach the spark plug’s wire and boot.
- Refill the fuel tank if you plan on using your leaf blower.
How to Replace an Inline Fuel Filter on a Leaf Blower
You will want to make sure the fuel tank has little or no fuel before getting started. And, you will need to let the engine cool down first if you have been using it.
Additionally, to perform this task, you will need to cut about a six-inch piece from a wire coat hanger and fashion a small hook at one end using a pair of pliers. If you do not have a wire coat hanger, any piece of stiff wire will work.
The 11 steps for replacing an in-tank fuel filter are as follows:
- Remove the wire and boot from the spark plug.
- Unthread the fuel tank cap and pull its retainer free of the tank.
- Pull the fuel filter out of the gas tank by using the hooked piece of wire you prepared earlier.
- Slide the retaining spring away from the filter using wire cutters or a set of needle-nose pliers. (Depending on the particular make and model of your leaf blower, you may need to use a flat-headed screwdriver to perform this task.)
- Pull the old filter off of the fuel line using a twisting and pulling motion.
- Install the fuel filter by attaching it to the fuel line.
- Slide the retaining spring towards the filter to secure it.
- Push the new filter into the tank.
- Reinsert the fuel cap retainer into the tank and thread on the cap.
- Refill the fuel tank if necessary.
- Reattach the wire and boot to the spark plug.
The following video provides step-by-step instructions for replacing your leaf blower’s inline fuel filter.
Keeping Your Leaf Blower in Working Order
Like any other outdoor powered equipment, leaf blowers require periodic and annual maintenance, and proper storage is key to the proper functioning of the unit.
Monthly maintenance tasks include:
- Removing old gas from your leaf blower’s fuel tank.
- Examining the cables, connections, fuel filter, and air filter.
- Checking and replacing the spark plug and wire as needed.
- Cleaning the exposed portions of the carburetor.
Annual maintenance tasks include:
- Cleaning or replacing filters to include the air and fuel filters.
- Replacing the spark plug and setting its gap.
Proper storage is a must and includes:
- Storing your leaf blower with an empty tank or with fuel-stabilizer added to the tank. (This step is particularly crucial if you plan on storing your leaf blower for an extended period.)
- Keeping your blower out of the reach of small children and pets.
- Storing the unit in a well-ventilated place where fumes can’t come into contact with open flames or sparks.
Leaf blowers equipped with 2-cycle engines use a fuel and oil mixture to operate. However, blowers with 4-cycle engines come equipped with separate tanks for fuel and oil. You should change the oil on a new 4-cycle leaf blower after using it for about 20 hours. Moving forwards, you should change it after every 50 hours of use.
Additionally, at some point in time, you will likely need to rebuild or replace your leaf blower’s carburetor. Rebuilding or replacing the carburetor requires removing the entire air filter assembly, the throttle cable, and fuel lines.
For that reason, you will probably want to have an expert perform this task for you. However, if you like do-it-yourself projects, you can click here for detailed instructions on removing and rebuilding a leaf blower’s carburetor.
The Wrap Up
We hope you enjoyed my article explaining the steps required to clean or replace your leaf blower’s fuel filter. The process is fast and easy, whether you have a side-mounted fuel filter or one that is inline.