How to Use a Hedge Trimmer

Echo Hedge TrimmerIf you live in a home with a well-manicured yard, chances are you own a hedge trimmer. If not, you may want to seriously consider purchasing a hedge trimmer to assist you in your yard care. Hedge trimmers are an invaluable tool in yard maintenance.  Before you begin to operate your new hedge trimmer or if you have questions about how to operate and or store your equipment, please review the manufacturer’s manual or contact an authorized Echo dealer.

Starting Your Machine

As suggested above, use your manufacturer’s operations manual to ensure that the machine is assembled correctly. For gas models, mix fuel and two-cycle oil according to the ratio that the owner’s manual recommends. This will prevent excess exhaust and ensure that the machine has proper lubrication. Always fill the gas tank outside on the ground or in a well-ventilated area.

When starting your hedge trimmer, there are two options; a cold start and a warm start. A cold start refers to the first time that the hedge trimmer is started after it hasn’t been used for a while, usually a day or longer. A warm start refers to starting the hedge trimmer while it is still warm or even hot from previous use on the same day.

Cold Start:

  • Remove the sheath.
  • Turn the on/off switch to the on position.
  • Set the choke lever to the cold start run position.
  • Push the purge valve five to six times until fuel fills it up.
  • Set the trimmer firmly on the ground. Keep your left foot on the handle and your right hand on the front guard. Then, pull the pull cord. Match the strength of your pull to the type of recoil your machine has. For example, if the trimmer has a 75% reduction, you’ll only need to pull on the cord lightly since it will take 75% less effort to start the machine.
  • Set the machine to the run position and pull the cord once again. The trimmer should fire on the first or second pull. Set it down for a few seconds.

Warm Start:

  • Place the trimmer firmly back on the ground. Just as you did with the cold starting procedure, keep your left foot on the handle and your right hand on the front guard.
  • Pull the cord one to two times; the unit will start up.

Maintenance and Long-Term Storage

During the spring and summer, keep the machine’s blades sharp. If the engine sounds like it’s working too hard or the blades get stuck on branches, this is a sign that the blades are dull. Some machines need to have the blades replaced and others have blades that can be sharpened. Always clear debris from the intake vent in order to keep the engine running efficiently.

During the winter, spray resin solvent or machine oil on the blades to keep the blades lubricated. Keep the spark plug disconnected, clear debris from the exhaust and intake vents, and clean surfaces thoroughly. Store the machine in a dry area.

Safety Precautions

For optimum safety, read the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with your hedge trimmer. Always wear ear protection, safety glasses, leather gloves, closed-toe shoes, a long-sleeve shirt and pants when operating the trimmer. Keep the blades in a sheath when the machine is not in use. Make sure that the blades have a guard on them to keep clothing out of the machine’s cutting surface.

Ensure that the debris shield is firmly attached to the machine. Doing this will protect your hands from the blades. Make sure that there are no loose bolts or screws on the trimmer. Keep the hedge trimmer away from your face; always operate it below your chest.

To protect your knuckles from flying debris in the blades, keep the guard in front of your left hand. Always have enough fuel to complete your job. A translucent gas tank will show you how much fuel is left in your machine.

Additionally, be cautious of hot surfaces near the muffler. There is a sticker on the guard that indicates where the muffler is, which will help you to avoid being injured by a hot spot on the trimmer. Make sure that the safety switch is easily accessible and durable, should you need to stop and evaluate your work. Finally, firmly grip the safety lock to engage the throttle. This way, if you trip, the throttle won’t engage unless you’re gripping the throttle.

Operation Techniques

It is important to ensure that you have the proper type of trimmer that it is adequate for the size of your yard. Also, familiarize yourself with the local noise ordinances. Usually, this information can be found on the towns’ website.  To extend the life of the machine, maintain and store it properly throughout the year. Finally, if you’re ever uncertain about how to perform a certain function, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual.

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