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Using your chainsaw in the rain. Tips from a professional

Something we can not control is the weather. This means that when you plan to use your chainsaw, you can have bad luck, and rain is forecasted. Or you are using your chainsaw, and it suddenly starts to rain. What do you have to do? Can you just continue, or is it better to stop?

Using your chainsaw in the rain

Generally, you should avoid using a gas chainsaw during heavy rain due to safety concerns. A gas chainsaw will be fine in light rain, but due to slippery conditions, it is not recommended. If you have a battery or electric chainsaw, you should not use it even during drizzle or wet conditions. Chainsaws are not waterproof, and water and electricity do not match.

This blog post will explain the problems with using a chainsaw in the rain, both for a gas chainsaw and a battery-powered chainsaw. I will also show what chainsaws can be used in really wet conditions and even underwater.

● Using an electric chainsaw in rain

Sawing with a corded electric chainsaw during rain is very dangerous since electricity and rainwater may turn out to be a deadly combination. Rainwater may seep inside the chainsaw and cause a short-circuit, and damage the chainsaw. Or even worse, the electricity may find its way to the operator and lead to hazardous situations.

Suppose you are using a corded electric chainsaw in rainy conditions. In that case, a poorly insulated part of the cord may also result in electric shocks hitting the chainsaw operator or others around. The situation gets dangerous as it involves a running chainsaw which can cause serious injuries.

If your chainsaw is battery-powered, the danger is less. But rain can still damage the chainsaw and batteries. If the battery safety circuit is not working properly, it can even lead to the battery exploding.

● Using a gas-powered chainsaw in rain

Short-circuit or electric shock issues can be ruled out if you are using a gas-powered chainsaw in rainy conditions. However, if somehow water manages to seep into the fuel tank or the engine unit, your chainsaw can get damaged. 

Similarly, water pouring over the chainsaw handle makes it difficult for the chainsaw operator to maintain a firm grip on it. And rain leads to slippery conditions, the chances of the saw skidding are higher during rain than in dry conditions.

● Chainsaw safety in rainy conditions

When working in the rain with proper rain gear and a face shield, you are protected against wet conditions. But the chances of rainwater bringing down your visibility are higher. It may bring down the accuracy of your work and may result in accidental damages or injuries to the operator or others. Wet weather also generally means slippery conditions, and this means that it is easier to lose your balance or slip away.

Just like the operator safety is important, equipment fitness is also a matter of concern. Rainy conditions may impact your chainsaw negatively, though not necessarily damaging it. For instance, wet wood is comparatively easier to cut due to the low friction. But water causes more dust and other particles to stick to the equipment and the operator’s hand gloves. 

In summary, it is better to avoid operating chainsaws during heavy rains considering these factors.

Can You Use a Chainsaw in the Rain?

You can use a gas chainsaw in the rain without much problem. When it is pouring, I recommend stopping working as water can find its way to engine parts. But generally, the chainsaw will work fine during rainy conditions. For electric or battery-powered chainsaws, this is a different matter. Except for unique models, I do not recommend using them during rain.

Always ensure that the chainsaw does not get submerged in water. Even when you operate a gas-powered chainsaw, it can get damaged if the engine is submerged in water.

Can you use a battery chainsaw in the rain?

It is not safe to use a battery-powered chainsaw during rain. Water can find its way to the electric motor, the electronics, or the battery connector, resulting in a short circuit that can damage the chainsaw or battery. And in the worse case, the battery can even explode when the battery protection circuit does not work as it should.

As the battery’s voltage is generally not that high, you have to worry less for an electric shock, as you would get with a mains-powered chainsaw. A battery-powered chainsaw may not be as risky as a corded electric chainsaw in light or moderate wet conditions. But still, you cannot rule out the chances of short circuits. 

I always recommend avoiding any instances of water pouring over the chainsaw. There are high chances that water may enter the chainsaw engine unit and cause sparks resulting in short circuits. Such instances may lead to panic and distraction, causing accidents. So I recommend you not to use a battery-powered chainsaw in rainy conditions. 

Is it safe to use a chainsaw in the rain?

Using a gas chainsaw in the rain is no problem. Using an electric chainsaw or battery-powered chainsaw during rain is not ok. For those types, I recommend stopping working when it starts raining. You do not want to have water find its way to the battery connectors or the engine and cause a short circuit. Gas-powered chainsaws are generally better suited for use in rainy conditions. 

Even if the chainsaw itself keeps working fine, there is another reason it is generally not safe. Wet ground contributes to unstable working conditions during rain, and it may turn slippery, affecting your ability to maintain a strong foothold. If you fall or lose balance while operating a chainsaw, it can lead to grave injuries to you or persons nearby. 

Even with protective equipment, working during rain with a chainsaw is not the best condition for having a firm hold of your chainsaw. The presence of water can make the equipment’s handle slippery and lead to unsafe situations. 

As far as the health of the chainsaw is concerned, the presence of water- rain or otherwise- would let more dust and other particles stick to it. So ensure to clean it thoroughly to avoid rusting issues later. In any case, do not submerge your chainsaw in water because it will damage the equipment.

Are chainsaws waterproof? 

Chainsaws are not waterproof. But that does not mean that working in the rain or having some moisture over the guide bar will damage your chainsaw immediately. You can use a chainsaw to cut wet wood or work in wet conditions without any problems. Only with a battery or electric chainsaw would I be cautious. 

If there is heavy rain, it is recommended to stop using your chainsaw. When used in heavy rain, even gas-powered chainsaws risk that water finds its way to the engine’s fuel chamber or other parts, resulting in the malfunctioning of the chain saw. Ensure that the cap is closed correctly and as tight as possible when working in the rain. 

Similarly, water may find its way to the oil tank during heavy rain as well. Though it won’t damage the motor, water mixed with the oil would bring down the performance of the oil to keep the chain running smoothly, and it may eventually lead to damage. Since chainsaws are not waterproof, do not submerge under water in any circumstances. 

Usually, special equipment like hydraulic chainsaws or pneumatic chainsaws is used for underwater operations. They don’t use a gas-powered or electricity-powered engine to drive the chain directly. This means that the engine in these chainsaw types does not need to be in or near the water, and the chainsaw itself can be used underwater.

● Waterproof Pneumatic chainsaws

In a pneumatic chainsaw, the chain is not being driven directly by a gas or electric engine. Rather, it is powered by compressed gas which drives the chain. A motor pumps the compressed air into the chainsaw unit through hoses. Since it does not have electrical elements near the chain, it can be used in really wet conditions or even underwater without causing damage to the equipment.

● Waterproof Hydraulic Chainsaws

Hydraulic chainsaws look like pneumatic chainsaws, and they also don’t have a direct gas or electrically powered chain. Compared with a pneumatic chainsaw, a hydraulic chainsaw uses a compressed liquid instead of compressed air. A pump unit propels the high-compressed liquid to the chainsaw to run it. As in the case of pneumatic chainsaws, the motor unit is located elsewhere, outside the water. The elements underwater are waterproof. 

However, these chainsaws are meant for special operations and are also very expensive, and they are not for small-scale domestic usage.

In the case of other types, the chainsaw body may let water in. But water does not get mixed with oil or petrol; it will not affect the functioning of the chainsaw. However, the guide bar may get wet if you cut wood after rain or during mild rain. In such conditions, ensure to clean it and dry it after you finish using it. Otherwise, it may lead to rusting of the guide bar. 

Similarly, more dust and mud may stick to the chain when working in wet conditions. Ensure to clean thoroughly after work. Else it will affect the efficient performance of the chainsaw later.

What happens if you leave a chainsaw in the rain?

As most users know, you should clean and store your chainsaw in a dry place after you finish using it. But there can be reasons why your chainsaw may get exposed to rain or snow. In some cases, you need not leave it outside to get it exposed to water or other elements. If the roof of the shed where you store your power tools leaks or if there are liquids leaking from containers stored on the same shelf, it may also lead to your chainsaw getting wet.

If you left your electric chainsaw in rain, it need not necessarily damage the equipment if it was off. In such cases, make sure to dry the chainsaw well before plugging it and switching it on. If the water content is completely removed, it won’t cause any issues. But if water has entered inside and you switch on the chainsaw it will lead to a short circuit. 

If you left your gas-powered chainsaw in rain, there is nothing much to worry about as far as its fuel cap is tightly shut. If water enters inside the engine unit of the chainsaw, it can be damaging. If it did not happen, you need to wipe clean the chainsaw to remove water content and apply some oil on the saw and the guide bar to avoid any rusting issue due to moisture. Store it in a dry place, preferably in an air-tight carry case or container.