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Can I Use My Chainsaw When It Is Wet?

The chainsaw has always been known to be a durable and tough power tool. This is because they are usually used in different weather conditions, including rain, and various environments, including forests and wetlands. When you consider the versatility of a chainsaw as an effective power tool, one may be forced to think that they are waterproof and can be used to cut trees that are wet or have fallen into a body of water. This article focuses on answering your questions while providing necessary information and safety tips to observe.

Can you use a chainsaw when it is wet?

The simple answer is yes and no. If you’re using a gas chainsaw, it will continue running fine even when it is wet. However, if you’re using an electric chainsaw, it can be really dangerous to use it in wet conditions.

Working with your chainsaw in wet weather such as the autumn rain and the winter snow is simply unavoidable. However, in case you have mixed feelings about your chainsaw getting wet, don’t fret. Gas-powered chainsaws are the perfect option to use in wet weather conditions as well as on the wet log itself. Sawing through wet wood is okay for your chainsaw bar and blade, although there may be some extra build-up due to wet sawdust. But it’s excellent as long, and you clean it off with a rag.

On the other hand, because an electric source powers an electric chainsaw, it is important that you do not use the tool when it is wet. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you NEVER use your electric chainsaw, especially the corded ones, when wet. Even with a cordless electric chainsaw, it is always wise not to use it when wet. Asides from the risk of rusted blades, a wet electric chainsaw can be generally ineffective.

Running a Wet Chainsaw

● Gas-Powered Chainsaw

As mentioned earlier,  gas chainsaws can handle moisture well. This is one of the many reasons why professional loggers prefer to use this model. It’s not news that you should never submerge them in water, but they will survive a bit of rain without any hassles. That being said, here are a few things to keep in mind if you plan on using your saw on a rainy day.

Firstly, never let water get into the fuel tank. Fuel and water, as you know, are not compatible, so allowing water into the mix would cause a lot of complications. Not only will it cause the blades to rust, but it will also lead to malfunction of the engine, probably sending your chainsaw to an early grave. So always make sure that the fuel cap is tightly closed before you start up your chainsaw. This also applies to the bar oil tank. Although not nearly as damaging, you still shouldn’t let any water in there.

Secondly, pay attention to the chain. Although water may not have any short-term effects on your chainsaw’s chain, you should always keep the chainsaw chain dry after you have finished using it.  This is because the water collected on the chain can cause it to rust, eventually decreasing its cutting performance. You can use a rag to clean the chain before storing the saw away, and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to clean up the air filter before using the chainsaw in the rain, especially if you have been cutting dry wood beforehand. Exposure to moisture can cause the dust on the filter to expand, causing your chainsaw to choke out. Finally, it would help if you tried to run your chainsaw for a few minutes before you put it away to get all the moisture out of it.

● Corded Chainsaws

Generally, operating any electric device in the rain is not a wise decision and can be dangerous. Electric chainsaws are not an exception in this category. Even though most manufacturers design the device so that water can’t get inside too easily, it still isn’t safe to use a corded chainsaw outdoors when it’s raining. If the water manages to get inside the tool, it can short circuit your chainsaw and even ruin it for good. Another reason why you shouldn’t practice this because you can get electrocuted, which is especially dangerous in an already damp environment. There is also the chance of slipping while holding the machine; this can cause serious injuries or other accidents. Finally, water and electricity have never been known to go together. If water gets inside your electric motor, your tool may be at a high risk of malfunctioning or failing to work altogether. Therefore, you should never use an electric chainsaw when wet.

● Cordless Chainsaws

When it comes to using them in the rain, cordless chainsaws are similar to their corded counterparts. While it isn’t as dangerous as corded ones- because their only source of electricity is the battery- it still isn’t totally safe to use.  If water gets inside the motor, it can short circuit your saw, and this can burn your battery for good. As in the corded models, there is also a possibility of slippage while holding the machinery.  Slippage can also occur between the blades and driving links.

How To Prevent Chainsaw Rust

Though a wet chainsaw won’t damage while it’s running, it can cause the tool to rust if not properly cared for. The chainsaw’s chain and bar are the most susceptible parts to rust. However, if you have already made this mistake, it might be better for you to just replace them. To prevent rust, follow these two steps.

  • Clean off moisture with a dry rag
  • Oil the chainsaw

Specifically, you may want to dry the entire chainsaw outside of the casing, the bar, and the chain, for good. Note that the most important parts to dry out are the bar and chain. To oil the device, make sure the bar oil tank is full. Next, start your chainsaw and run the chain for a while. This is usually the fastest and simplest way to oil the tool. Of course, you can oil it manually, but most chainsaws already have a built-in oiling function, so oiling it manually might be extra work.

Recommendations When Using an Electric Chainsaw in Wet Conditions

Although, it is always recommended to use your electric chainsaw in dry conditions, there are some situations where you may not be able to avoid cutting wood in the rain. Be it the autumn rain or the eventual winter snow, you will eventually have to work with a wet chainsaw. Cutting firewood and logs in snow or rain is fine for your chainsaw, even though it may have some additional build-up due to wet sawdust. However, this wet sawdust can be quickly wiped off using a rag. Here are some important tips for dealing with a wet chainsaw. Provided you follow these tips, you should be able to maintain a safe cutting task in wet conditions.

● Beware of Slippery Cutting Conditions

An important issue that many people who wish to use their chainsaws in the rain or snow tend to deal with is that things can become very slippery, especially when their surface is wet. Therefore, you must have a firm and solid footing anytime you work outside in the snow or rain. Also, make sure you have a good grip on your chainsaw to avoid any problems.

● Use Protective Equipment

If you plan to cut during the rain, you must make sure you wear appropriate clothing, protective gear, and equipment. These include gloves with extra grip and weather boots. Your protective gear will help you avoid any misadventures. Also, by wearing water-resistant and warm clothing, you will be comfortable enough to stay concentrated while doing the job.

● Use the Right Chain Type

One thing to note is that not all chains are multipurpose. When working on wet wood and in the rain, a chain with semi-chisel or rounded teeth is often required. Although this also means that you will be at a moderately slower pace, the benefit is that you will not have to pause in the middle of a job to sharpen your chain.

● Be Cautious of Debris Stuck to the Tree

Cutting through matters like rocks and debris can damage your chain. So, you should check and clear any debris that may be stuck to your wood before you cut, especially around the lower part of the wood, where it might not be visible enough.

Final Remarks

The operation of electric chainsaws is strictly not recommended if there is rain or when the conditions are damp. The possibility of electrocution is too big a risk than to go for a scheduled sawing session. Hence, it would be best if you postponed your plans until the conditions become suitable. Furthermore, if you use a gas chainsaw, make sure that you don’t let the water go in its engine or the fuel tank. Also, avoid its prolonged use in water to prevent rust formation. If you plan to keep your machine in service for a long time, always ensure that the prescribed safety protocols are followed.