How to Siphon Gas From Outdoor Power Equipment for Seasonal Storage
This handy skill can help you winterize your lawn mower or even get back on the road in a pinch.
While siphoning gas is normally associated with nefarious activities, there are many aboveboard reasons to learn this skill. Knowing how to siphon gas can get you back on the road should you find yourself stranded far from a gas station. It’s also useful for winterizing (or summerizing) lawn mowers, snow blowers, and other gas-powered equipment by allowing you to clear out the gas tank. You can even siphon gasoline from your car to fill an empty lawn mower gas tank, or vice versa, in a pinch.
Ahead, learn how to safely siphon gas from a gas tank using a simple and affordable tool.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Before learning how to siphon gas, it’s important to remember that removing gas from a vehicle that isn’t yours without permission is illegal. This guide is solely intended to help DIYers siphon gasoline from their own vehicles and equipment.
Never attempt to siphon gas without the proper tool. While there are ways to siphon gas without using a pump, these methods involve blowing into or sucking on the gas siphon hose to create suction, which is very dangerous. Siphoning with your mouth can cause you to inhale gas fumes or even ingest gasoline, either of which can cause dizziness, headaches, throat irritation, and vomiting. A siphon pump is by far the safest way to siphon gas and the only method that will be covered below.
STEP 1: Buy a siphon pump.
In order to siphon gas from a gas tank you’ll need a gas siphoning kit, which is a simple device that can be purchased at any auto parts store for around $10. A fuel siphon pump creates the suction needed to begin the siphoning process using a bulb, or a plunger mechanism powered manually or by a small electric motor.
STEP 2: Set up the tank and hose.
Place your gas can on the ground near the equipment’s gas tank. Positioning is crucial, as siphoning uses gravity to carry gas from one container to another. Siphon pumps have one end that receives fluid and another that expels it. Place the end that takes in fluid into the gas tank and the other end into the gas can. Make sure to position the hose in the equipment’s gas tank so that it’s immersed in the gasoline.
STEP 3: Begin pumping gas.
Squeeze the pump mechanism a few times to create the suction needed to move the gas from the gas tank through the hose. Keep in mind that mechanisms on siphons vary depending on the pump design. You may need to squeeze a rubber bulb or manipulate a plunger to get the process started. The gas should begin flowing after just a few pumps. The vacuum created inside the pump coupled with gravity will move the gas through the line without the need to continue pumping throughout the siphoning process.
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STEP 4: Monitor the pump.
Monitor the pump as gas moves out of the tank and into the gas can. As the container approaches full, elevate the tube or the container above the level of the gas tank to stop the siphoning process. Raising the line above the level of the can will reverse the flow, causing any gas remaining in the line to drain back into the gas tank. After the gas has drained out of the line, remove it from the gas tank and close the tank.
STEP 5: Clean the pump.
If you’re siphoning gas out on the road, temporarily and safely store your siphon pump in your car. Once you’ve made it back to civilization, clean your pump before storing it. To clean the pump, run a solution of water and dish soap through the lines, then rinse with fresh water. Allow the pump to dry completely before storing it to ensure no water remains in the line when it comes time to use it again.
Knowing how to siphon gas is a useful skill to have in order to dispose of stale gasoline, in the event you run out of gas and become stranded, or when you need to borrow gas for an empty mower or snow blower tank. Remember that siphoning gas from a vehicle that isn’t yours without the owner’s permission is illegal. And, while there are ways to siphon gas without using a pump, these methods are dangerous and should never be attempted.