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What is all the hype about keeping my air filter clean?
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Author Topic: What is all the hype about keeping my air filter clean?  (Read 2549 times)
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« on: November 24, 2009, 12:32:49 »

Question: What is all the hype about keeping my air filter clean?

Answer: First, some basics.  An engine must have the following to run: Fuel, Air, and a source of ignition (spark).

Most power equipment engines spend their entire lives operating close to the ground, in a virtual storm of dust and dirt.  This is especially true for lawn mower engines. 

Fact: An engine must gulp about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel used!!

Because of its working environment, the air available to your engine is heavily saturated with airborne dirt particles.  Knowing that dirt will quickly ruin an engine, most manufacturers equip their engines with extremely efficient air cleaners to filter out the harmful dirt.

As the dirt particles are stopped, they build up and begin to clog the outside of the filter. This reduces the amount of air available to the engine and causes an over-rich fuel mixture which can result in the following adverse effects:
1. Increase fuel consumption,
2. Cause power loss,
3. Result in hard starting,
4. Create smoke from unburned fuel,
5. Produce carbon build-up internally,
6. Foul spark plug electrodes,
7. Score (scratch) cylinder walls (excessive fuel will "wash" oil from the cylinder walls and prevent adequate lubrication),
8. Burnt valves,
9. Cause your engine to wear out prematurely (in general),

Damage caused by a poorly serviced air cleaner is not covered under the engine warranties. So, save yourself unnecessary expenses and undue aggravation by keeping the air cleaner properly serviced at the intervals specified in the engine owner's manual.

It doesn't take long to service an air cleaner. Follow the specific instructions in the engine owner's manual for the type filter used. Prevent dirt from falling into the carburetor intake when servicing your air cleaner. Make sure components are installed in correct sequence after servicing to prevent unfiltered air from entering the engine.

Some servicing hints on several common types are:

Foam filters:
Generally, wash foam-type filters in a dishwashing detergent and water solution. Rinse and wring dry, then saturate with oil and squeeze out excess. Failure to re-oil this type filter will ruin the engine.  Oil "traps" the dirt as it attempts to enter the engine and helps the air filter perform its job. 

Paper filters:
Clean paper elements by tapping lightly. Blowing with air will rupture paper elements. If too dirty or damaged, replace it with a new air filter specified in the engines owner manual.  You can use a flashlight to detect clogged or torn paper elements - replace if damaged in any way.

Remember: It is always more cost effective to replace an air filter than to destroy your engine because of an improperly serviced air filter!!

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