MEDINA, Ohio — Getting your lawn in tip-top shape is one of the perks of warmer weather and this time of year there are plenty of yard chores to keep you busy.
There’s almost something ceremonial about that first cut of the season.
As we head back to our yards in the quest for that perfectly manicured yard, Capt. Steve Ingersol with the Medina Fire Department has a few warnings for anyone firing up that lawnmower for the first time.
“You should look for things like bad fuel hoses leaking fuel from anywhere. You should change your spark plugs once a year so that mower does start and run efficiently and doesn't overheat,” Ingersol said.
The department only responds to a handful of lawnmower-related fires each year, but Ingersol said that doesn’t underscore the danger you can run into when you’re putting the mower back into service for the summer months.
“They have to remember the exhaust gets temperatures of between anywhere from 250 to 350 degrees,” Ingersol said.
Most problems start with fueling or refueling your mower. Ingersol said it’s important to take care of that in the driveway and away from anything flammable. It’s a smart idea to pick a location like a driveway that’s away from grass, particularly this time of year.
“Someone runs out of fuel or low on fuel, fills the lawnmower up and it's still very hot. They overflow, it spills over onto the exhaust and now they end up with a fire on the mower,” Ingersol said. “If it's in the garage, you can spread it immediately. Gas is highly flammable and depending on the gas can I know I use 5-gallon gas cans. That's a lot of gas when you first fill them up to a feed of fire.”
Recently, there has been a push for electric mowers, but that doesn’t completely eliminate any potential danger.
“With a lot of electric motors, now that we see make sure your batteries are not damaged, they're in good shape. If it does have a cord hook to it that you plug into the house, make sure your cords aren't frayed,” Ingersol said.
When you’re finished, make sure to clean off any grass clippings and store your mower carefully. The engine could still be hot and could ignite any surrounding materials.
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