It's a nice break on the back and the budget to be able to cut back on mowing and watering your lawn during the cooler winter months.
But if you're looking forward to your equipment being in top form in the spring when you're going to need it again, there are a few simple tips you need to follow before you're completely done for the winter.
Winterizing your mower
Of course, you'll want to review your mower's owner's manual and maintenance schedule for the specifics, but the following checklist of end-of-mowing-season activities should keep your mower in prime shape to start up and cut like new next spring:
- Clean the mower – Anywhere where engine parts are exposed can trap dirt, dust, and grass trimmings, clogging air intake and harming your mower's performance and durability. It's especially important to clean thoroughly under the deck before winter storage to avoid rust and mildew or bacteria buildup that can hamper mower performance and even spread diseases in the lawn next year.
- Sharpen the blade – If you're going to do a thorough job cleaning under the deck, you'll need to remove the blade anyway. You may as well take this opportunity to sharpen (or replace) it so it's ready for precision cutting in the spring.
- Change the oil – Be sure to use 10W-30 or similar 30-weight oil, nothing heavier.
- Winterize the fuel system – You can either do this by adding fuel stabilizer and filling the tank to the brim, or by running the mower completely out of fuel by siphoning out what's in the tank and then running it until it stops. The goal is to remove the possibility of the ethanol in the gas breaking down into water which will hurt the chance of it starting up in the spring.
- Remove the spark plug – Take out the old spark plug and put about a teaspoon of oil in the hole, then turn the engine over slowly a few times to distribute it. This prevents moisture and corrosion in the pistons and carburetor.
- Store it safely – Your mower is best stored inside in a warm dry place away from any source of heat or fire.
When you take your mower back out in the spring, you'll want to inspect any seals and other soft parts that could be affected by dry rot or climate changes. Clean or replace the air filter, and put in a brand new spark plug. Then, fill with fresh gas and you're on your way!
Winterizing your irrigation system
Although we have fairly mild winters in Northern Florida, the potential for a freeze still exists and the last thing you want to do is ruin your lawn irrigation system just because it wasn’t winterized before a big freeze hit.
Here are the very simple steps to winterizing your lawn irrigation system:
- Turn off the water supply at the main cutoff valve.
- Turn off the automatic timer system (if applicable) or switch to “rain mode”.
- Drain the water from any sprinkler nozzle or other component of the system that is above the ground. (Depending on the style, they may have drainage valves built in or you may need to remove them and empty them manually.)
- Insulate any pipes that are above ground.
Of course, if you have any questions about how to properly winterize your equipment or care for your lawn this winter, our lawn care company is be happy to answer them for you. Simply contact us today and find out 4 indications it's time to switch to a professional lawn care service.