Cool That Gas Can
Paul James offers tips for handling gas cans safely.
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Each time you fill up one of your gas-powered gardening gizmos, be aware of the potential dangers associated with gasoline. A good place to start practicing caution is with your gas can.
Keep it small. Gas cans, whether metal or plastic, come in a range of sizes (figure A). But for safety's sake, it's best to be minimal — one gallon or less. That may mean more trips to the gas station, but it reduces the dangers associated with having large quantities of gasoline around the house. Also, gas goes bad over time, and bad gas can lead to costly engine repairs.
Depending on the type of power equipment you use, you may actually need two gas cans — one with straight gas for four-cycle engines and one with a gas/oil mixture for two-cycle engines. (Of course, you'll want to label the cans accordingly.)
Fill the tank safely. When pouring gas into your equipment, it's best to use a funnel. The spouts that come with most cans work fine, but depending on the location of the gas tank, they can be awkward to use and lead to spills.
You may also want to consider a gas can that comes with a pump (figure B). It helps get gas directly to the tank, to transfer gas from one tank to another, or even to empty a gas tank in preparation for winter storage.
Whatever you do, don't fill any device while it's hot. That can lead to an explosion. If you run out of gas while working, move the device to a shady spot and let it cool for 10 minutes or so, until it's no longer warm to the touch.
When possible, place the device you're filling on a paved surface in case of spills. Gasoline kills vegetation and renders soil lifeless for weeks or months.
When refueling, try to avoid inhaling gas vapors or getting it on your skin. And it's best to store gasoline in a well-ventilated area, such as the garage. However, if there are any sources of ignition nearby, such as pilot lights or heaters, consider an alternative location.
Ground your gas can before filling it. Finally, you may have heard about explosions and injuries at gas stations caused by static electricity igniting gasoline vapors. Always remove the gas can from your vehicle and place it on the ground before filling it (figure C). This is especially important if the can has been sitting on the carpet, which could cause static buildup. And for the same reason, you should touch the container with the gas dispenser nozzle before removing the lid to help neutralize potential static buildup. Keep the nozzle in contact with the container when filling it to prevent the accumulation of static electricity from the flow of gasoline.
Pacific Cycle petro pump: Amazon.com
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