How to Unflood a Leaf Blower Engine

If your leaf blower has been stored for the season or just has been out of service, it could be in danger of flooding when you try to restart it. Flooding is common and can be fixed with a few simple adjustments.

If your leaf blower floods you can restart it with these simple steps:

Fuel-Injected Models:

  1. Close the choke
  2. Pull the gas lever
  3. Crank the engine

Carburetor Models:

  1. Remove the air filter cover
  2. Open the carburetor
  3. Pull out the air filter
  4. Start the engine
  5. Cut off the blower
  6. Replace the air filter

A leaf blower is one of those tools that is essential, especially if you have a larger than average yard, and can be used in all seasons. Whether you’ve got a carburetor model or one that is fuel-injected, read over the article below for the tips you need to keep your leaf blower up and running. 

How To Fix A Flooded Leaf Blower (Fuel-Injected)

Today’s leaf blowers are fuel-injected models. This fuel-injection system keeps the average homeowner from making constant repairs or having their blower sent out to the small engine repair person. 

The newer models accomplish this by using a prime pump that only allows a certain amount of gas to enter the chamber. This can prevent flooding but doesn’t cure the problem. The steps to clear the fuel-injected leaf blower are spelled out in the sections below.

Close the Choke to Trap More Air

On the modern yard appliance, the fuel regulation levers are all located close together. There will be a lever or dial that opens and closes the choke.

A choke has the same job as a carb in that it regulates airflow to the fuel. By closing the choke, you trap the air that is inside the cylinder. The following steps will make use of the air compression to help start the flooded engine. 

Pull the Gas Lever and Get Fuel Flowing

Another great thing about the newer model yard machines is that they have a convenient handle with a button that regulates gas flow into the cylinder.

By pressing down the lever, you set a steady stream of fuel into the engine. It would help if you kept this button pushed down until it starts. 

Crank the Engine to Test It

Using this lever and closing the choke, you should attempt to crank the engine several times. After a few pulls on the cord, you will have a better idea of how the engine is doing. 

  • If it still has coughing spells, that means that air and gas don’t have a correct mix yet. 
  • If there is no spark, there is too much gas or air keeping the machine from making the proper mixture.

How To Fix Your Flooded Leaf Blower (Carburetor)

A leaf blower is a two-cycle combustion engine attached to a mechanical fan. When started, the engine creates a forceful wind that will remove leaves and grass much faster and easier than a broom or rake. 

One of the problems with a two-cycle engine is that it can flood. Flooding is when the air and gas mixture inside the carburetor has become too rich to light.

The reaction from burning fuel is what produces the power to blow the leaves. If there is no reaction, then no work can be done, and that isn’t ever a good thing.

Don’t let it get you down; there is a set of rules to follow to get your blower back in action in no time flat. We’ll cover them all in the sections below. 

Remove the Air Filter Cover 

You’ll need to remove the cover that protects the air filter. The air filter cover is usually held in by a big thumbscrew or a few small screws.

After removing whatever is holding it on, keep those parts close by so you don’t lose them.

Pull Out the Air Filter to Get to the Carburetor

A large part of the reason that there is no combustion is that the filter could be preventing the air from reaching the spark plugs. By removing the filter, you let in air, and this means you’re already helping the gas to breathe.

Take a good look at the filter: It is usually a hard piece of plastic and metal with insides made from a paper material that regulates oxygen flow to the carburetor.

While you have it out, inspect it and look out for a dirty or ripped filter because it could lead to future problems with the engine. 

Open the Carburetor to Let in Some Air

Now that the filter has been removed, you should see a sizable mechanical flap on the carburetor. This flap is connected to the throttle and is what regulates the flow of gas into the engine.

If you are in a hurry, this should be the quickest way to get the right mix of air and gas in the carburetor.

Find something, like a screwdriver, to wedge the flap open. Once the flap is stuck open, the air will have a better chance of igniting a spark. 

Give it a Test: Start the Engine

Use the pull start on the engine to give it a few test pulls. By pulling the cord on the blower, you create a spark that will ignite the gas inside.

It may take several pulls to get the engine to turn over. Other factors besides too much fuel, could keep the engine from turning over. 

  • If the carburetor is functioning correctly, everything will work fine. 
  • An uneven or halting rhythm means that more adjustments must be made before taking the blower out for yard work. 

Cut Off the Engine and Let it Sit

Now that the engine has fired up, you should let it run for a few moments. Any impurities or imbalances that were present in the carburetor should be fine now.

Once the engine reaches a steady rhythm, it will function much better. Cut the engine and let it sit for a few minutes.

It is important to let the engine cool down before moving on to the next step.

Put the Air Filter Back In

The bolts that you set aside earlier will come in handy for this step. Put the air filter back in, and use the screws you have previously removed to fix it into position.

Make sure that the air filter is free of dirt and debris before placing it back inside the carburetor. Any tiny particles that make their way into the carburetor can mean problems down the line.

Making the Most of Your Leaf Blower

Keeping a log of repairs and maintenance dates isn’t a bad idea. Most manufactures recommend the following schedule for a leaf blower:

  • Air filter – Clean every 10 to 20 hours of use. Replace it depending on how often you use it. If it gets heavy use, consider swapping in a new one three times a year. If you only use it occasionally, once a year should do. 
  • Engine oil – If your blower is new, do it the first time you replace your air filter. After that, just swap out after every 50 hours of use. 
  • Fuel – Drain it monthly and make sure you do so again before storing it for the season.
  • Fuel filter – Replace it once a year. Unless you are very mechanically inclined, you might leave this one to a pro.
  • Other parts: Spark plugs and carburetors need attention, too. Take a look at your manufacturer’s recommendations for these and maintain them according to those. 


While some machines in your garden shed are only used for a single season, the leaf blower can be helpful for different jobs all year long. This constant use means that it will require more attention than your infrequently-used tools. 

When it comes to fixing a flooded engine, it is only a matter of time before you’ll need to know how to remedy it.

Knowing what to do and how to handle the situation gives you a dependable ally in your fight against the changing seasons and the confidence that comes with knowing you can troubleshoot the machine no matter what the problem is.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

Recent Posts