How to Clean an Electric Chainsaw (Full Guide)

Electric power tools have many advantages, especially new cordless models. However, they do need to be maintained differently than a traditional gas-powered chainsaw. When cleaning an electric chainsaw, it is important to keep water away from powered components. A solvent cleaner is an excellent choice. Keep reading for our comprehensive guide on Electric Chainsaw maintenance.

How is an Electric Chainsaw Different from Other Kinds of Chainsaws?

As the name would suggest, an electric chainsaw contains an electric power supply of some kind. This power supply is usually housed in the base. In cordless models, you can locate it via the removable battery or charging contacts. In corded models, it is located where the cord comes out the main body. Electric models tend to produce more noise and be less powerful. However, they also start with a single button push, and have less complicated maintenance routines.

Important Parts of an Electric Chainsaw

  • Main Guide Bar – This is the main metal section of the chainsaw – what is left when the chain is removed.
  • Chain – this is the removable part on the blade with the cutting bits.
  • Oil reservoir – this is where the oil for the chain and blade sits.
  • Air Filter – There are usually two on either side of the motor.
  • Wiring – delivers the electricity from the power supply to the motor
  • Power supply – the source of electricity (usually a battery or cord)

Electric Chainsaw Maintenance

Electric Chainsaw Maintenance

While maintenance of an electric chainsaw is easier than gas powered models, there is still a routine you should go through to ensure the longevity of your tool. I have compiled a checklist you can go through each time you store and use the chainsaw as well as a list of chainsaw maintenance supplies.

Supplies Needed

  • Ammonia
  • Water
  • Canned air
  • Bar and chain oil
  • A cleaning cloth
  • A wire brush
  • A quick drying solvent cleaner
  • WD 40

Post Use Routine

After using your chainsaw, it will be dirty. The chain especially tends to become filled with debris. Short term this is not problematic, but letting this dirt sit in between uses will shorten the life of your electric chainsaw. To clean the chainsaw after use, do the following:

1. Completely drain the oil from the chain and blade. If you let the oil sit on the blade between uses, it can dry up and stick in the chainsaw. When it is empty there will be no oil in the level window.

2. Loosen and remove the chain. There is typically a knob near the base that keeps the chain attached. Turning it one way loosens the tension while the other tightens it. Make sure you pay attention to the direction of the blades and the method of attachment, so you can put it back on later. Set the chain aside.

3. Carefully clean the main bar of the chainsaw with a damp cloth. In the case of electric chainsaws, solvent cleaners are ideal because they dry quickly and will not corrode the wiring. For stubborn debris, you can use canned air.

4. Once the main bar is clean, do the same with the chain. Each of the holes needs to be cleaned out, so this will be the most time-consuming step. Do not put the chain back on until the end.

5. Remove the air filters. Tap them to shake out the dirt. Neglecting to clean the air filters will cause clogging during future use. If tapping is not sufficient, you may need to use the wire brush to remove the dirt.

6. Mix ammonia and water in a 50/50 solution. Dip a nylon bristle brush in the solution.

7. Scrub the motor clean with the wire brush. All the dust and dirt should come right off.

8. Wipe the plastic housing of the chainsaw clean and replace all the parts as they were before. It is important not to reattach anything in the wrong direction. If in doubt, look at the manual and/or pictures of your specific model.

9. Spray the metal sections of the chainsaw with a thin coating of WD 40. This protects it from rust and lubricates the moving parts.

10. Store in a suitable location (described below).

Suitable Storage Location

Suitable Storage Location

Before you put your chainsaw away, ensure the storage location is dry, well ventilated, and protected from the elements. This will prevent rust and corrosion in between uses. You will also want to limit sun exposure, but you can use a cover or blanket if your location has windows.

Pre-Use Routine

The next time you get out your chainsaw, it should be all clean from the post use routine above. However, you will still want to give it a quick once over. Improperly assembled or damaged chainsaws can cause injury. Here is a handy checklist to make sure your tool is ready for your project:

  • Check that the wiring is in good condition. Damaged wiring can cause sparking and severe injury. Wiring in an electric chainsaw is also delicate. If you notice any wear and tear, exposed wire, or other damage, then do not use the saw.
  • Ensure that any nuts, bolts, or screws are properly tightened, and that all mechanical pieces of the chainsaw appear to be properly installed.
  • Fill the oil reservoir with bar and chain oil. The level window should be at least halfway full. Never use regular motor oil in a chainsaw, as this is too thick.
  • Check the chain tension. If the tension is too loose, it can come off mid cut and become a projectile. If the tension is too tight, then it might snap and send pieces flying. Ideally the chain should be securely affixed to the housing without being completely taut.
  • Check the work area for nails and rocks. These can damage the blades, so you will want to remove them before using the chainsaw.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a power tool like a chainsaw can seem confusing for the average homeowner. However, it is the most important thing you can do to lengthen the lifespan of your tool. Luckily, electric chainsaws are much more streamlined. Additionally, there are guides out there to help you do it properly. Cleaning an electric chainsaw can be done in ten steps with common DIY supplies, so there is no need to be nervous.

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