Electric tools need special attention to keep them in good condition. Here’s expert advice on things you should do to enjoy your power tools for a long time.
- Cleaning after use
Make it a habit to clean your drill, circular saw, or other power tools before storing them. You can wipe the casing with a cloth. For cleaning ventilation slots, compressed air is the best solution. Using a brush for this could push dirt inside, hindering the tool’s performance.
During long and strenuous tasks like drilling in concrete or sawing through hardwood, your tool’s motor can become heavily stressed and might overheat. If you notice it getting hot, stop and give it time to cool down to prevent premature wear or burnout of components.
- Keeping sharp
Using dull drills or saw blades makes your tool work harder, putting unnecessary strain on the motor and leading to overheating. Replace drills, bits, and saw blades as soon as they become dull, and only work with undamaged and sharp accessories.
From time to time, power tools need lubrication to prevent moving parts from grinding or overheating. The user manual usually provides information on how to keep specific tools lubricated and which lubricant to use.
Store your power tools in a dry, clean, and dust-free location. Moisture causes rust and can lead to issues with electrical components, while dust can clog ventilation slots. A tool case or cabinet is ideal for storing your valuable tools.
- Replacing worn parts
Components that wear out over time and need to be replaced include carbon brushes and drive belts, for example, in a belt sander. Power cords and switches also often become faulty. Not only is working with poorly functioning components detrimental to the tool but also poses a safety risk.
- Battery care
The Li-ion batteries that cordless power tools are mostly equipped with these days can be kept in top condition by taking the following precautions:
- Guard against heat. Always let the battery cool down before charging it, and don’t store it in an overly hot place, such as in direct sunlight. Normal capacity loss (18-22% per year at a temperature of 22°C – 26°C) accelerates at higher temperatures.
- Store the battery half full. If you’re not using it for an extended period, it’s best to store a Li-ion battery with a charge of about 50 to 70%. The fuller the battery is stored, the faster it starts to oxidise internally.
- Never fully discharge the battery. Deep discharge, where the remaining capacity falls below 5%, can irreparably damage a Li-ion battery. A good rule of thumb is to recharge the battery when there’s about 20% capacity remaining.