Leaf blowers are great handy tools for fixing the landscape during summer. Most leaf blowers are durable.
However, this doesn’t mean they do not develop problems from time to time.
If your leaf blower is smoking, then it is a sign that there is something seriously wrong with the blower.
You should immediately switch it off and try to ascertain what the problem is.
There are several reasons why your leaf blower might be smoking ranging from a dirty muffler to improperly mixed fuel.
In this article, I’ll be discussing the potential causes of a leaf blower smoking, how you can fix it, whether leaf blowers are a fire hazard amongst other questions.
What Causes A Leaf Blower To Smoke?
As I mentioned above, there are several reasons that could cause your leaf blower to smoke.
I’ll explain them here so you can easily figure out the culprit in case you have a smoking problem in future. They include:
- Dirty or Damaged Muffler
The muffler on a tiny engine muffles the sound of the exhaust as it passes through the system, reducing noise to a reasonable level.
It is important to always have a clean muffler which will help to extend your battery life.
For the leaf blower engine to remain functioning, heated gasses must be vented out of it as it heats up.
As the gases leave the engine, they pass through the exhaust port and muffler, forming a thin layer of carbon along the muffler walls and exhaust port walls.
Once there is too much deposit on the muffler, it would easily lead to your leaf blower engine smoking, especially a release of black smoke.
- Improperly Mixed Fuel
Another major culprit in engine smoking is wrongly mixed or low quality fuel. 2 cycle gas powered leaf blowers require a mixture of fuel and oil.
This has to be mixed before being poured into the engine. In contrast to this, 4 cycle engines do not require such a mix.
Fuel mixing issues only crop up with 2 cycle engines.
The fuel and gas are mixed together in a ratio determined by the manufacturer.
If the fuel mixture is incorrectly mixed, the fuel will burn poorly inside the cylinder. This will cause the engine to smoke.
If you notice the smoking is from the fuel, remove any old or poorly mixed gas.
Make a new batch of fuel and while at it, ensure you are paying close attention to the mixing directions.
- Fuel Leakage
To ensure the fuel keeps running into the cylinder, the fuel system requires an airtight seal.
A little amount of fuel can leak out of the system if an air leak develops near the carburetor.
If this fuel comes into contact with a hot engine, it may start smoking around the carburetor.
These leaks usually occur near the carburetor’s fuel hoses and elbow connectors.
The gasket above the intake manifold is another common leaky area to inspect.
If you notice the problem is that of leakage, then inspect your fuel system.
You would probably have to change a few hoses or the gasket to stop the problem.
- Sealing Problems
Internal sealing problems within the leaf blower engine sealing issues can also cause the engine to smoke.
These issues most often prop up close to the sealing on both ends of the crankcase.
If the sealing in those areas are not airtight or has been damaged, it could cause problems.
A small amount of fuel may enter the crankcase and burn up inside if this happens.
The carburetor is an important part of the leaf blower engine. It can also be a secondary source of smoking.
An excessive amount of oil in a 2-cycle motor’s fuel is one cause of white smoke.
If the gasoline contains a lot of oil, it will end up in the general pool and be collected in various motor locations.
The carburetor is typically one of these. If the carburetor has accumulated a lot of oil over time, it would get damaged and start to smoke.
Here is an article I wrote on what size of leaf blower do I need?
What Can I Do To Fix A Smoking Leaf Blower?
Most of the causes of blower engine smoking are easy to fix. You can fix them yourselves or call in a technician to handle.
Let’s look at how to fix the problems:
- Fixing dirty muffler: To check if the muffler is the problem, unscrew the spark arrestor screen. Then remove the muffler cover.
Clean these components with a brush and mild detergent if they are covered in black carbon deposits.
You can also use a carburetor cleaner to clean it. If the buildup is tough, soak the muffler in the solution for sometime before cleaning up.
Once it’s clean, reattach to its proper position.
- Fixing improper sealing problem: This problem is towards the crankcase. Split the crankcase into two halves. Then replace the seals on both sides to fix this problem.
You may also need to inspect the cylinder and chamber rings and seals for spillage.
Once you are satisfied there is no other problem you can fix it back and restart your engine.
- Fixing the carburetor: If you find out your carburetor is the reason for your engine smoking, you can choose to either replace or reconstruct it. Replacement is typically easier and less expensive to carry out. Follow the steps below to change your carburetor:
- Disconnect the supply of fuel
- Remove the air filter
- Next, remove the air box
- Remove the fuel lines. Put in mind the way they were configured so you do not miss them out when installing the new carburetor.
- Install the new carburetor
- Put everything back together following the steps in reverse.
After this is done, your engine should be fine and good to go.
Are Leaf Blowers A Fire Hazard?
Yes, to an extent leaf blowers can be a fire hazard if not properly maintained. Gas powered models are prone to smoking and possible fire explosions.
If the gas is leaking it is possible that it could start a fire.
Electric models are also not exempt. The leaf blower can overheat, ignite, and catch fire, providing a risk of fire and burns.
A brand of electric leaf blowers, Homelite produced electric leaf blowers which they had to recall.
There were reports of the blowers sparking, smoking and burning. Hundreds of thousands of the blowers had to be recalled to stop the problem.
Also check out this article I wrote on the uses of a leaf blower
Should I Be Concerned If My Leaf Blower Is Smoking?
Yes, you should be concerned when you realize your leaf blower is smoking.
It is an indication of underlying mechanical issues and they would have to be fixed. Seeing your engine smoking is not something that should be ignored.
If the cause of the smoking is a fuel leak for example, it can cause a nasty explosion of fire hazard.
The first thing you should do once you see your blower smoking is to switch off the engine.
Then go through the list of possible causes above and try to find out where the problem is coming from.
Then you should get around to fixing it before you use it again.
Do Leaf Blowers Smoke A Lot?
Gas powered leaf blowers are known to emit smoke from their exhaust.
This is one of the reasons why there is a call for them to be banned. However, they emit smoke just like any other engine.
Once the smoking is getting too much then there is a problem somewhere.
A major reason for heavy smoking from a gas powered blower is mixing in too much oil with the gas.
As you use your tool, you should also take note of any mechanical faults.
Leaf blower smoking is a common occurrence that operators experience. However, the problems are often not expensive to fix.
Ranging from improper fuel mix, sealing problems to even the carburetor.
There can be several reasons why your leaf blower engine is smoking.
Switch off your machine and thoroughly inspect to find the cause of the smoking. Once they are fixed, you can go back to blowing leaves.