• Try to keep your chipper or shredder clean, make sure the mechanism is not clogged up, in particular, with damp or wet material. This will improve the machine's efficiency and give it a longer life
• Check that the waste you wish to chip or shred is free of stones or rocks. This is especially important with piles of leaves, as it's easy to pick up an armful of leaves with small, but potentially damaging, stones lurking in it.
• Do see to it that the chip outlet or outlet chute is kept clear of any accumulating debris, this will help prevent overheating
• Try to make sure that no part of the branch, particularly knots and bumps, exceeds the machine’s stated cutting diameter, as this can damage the machine. The thickest part of the branch should always be within the parameters set by the manufacturer.
• Generally you should avoid attempting to chip or shred seasoned wood or old wood as it can be very hard, especially for a smaller machine
• If your blades are replaceable, why not buy a spare set when you purchase your machine, so you won’t ever be out of cutting power in the middle of a job
• Try not to leave your machine outside. A garden shredder or chipper will not respond well to being left in the rain.
• If you have a petrol machine, make sure you clean around the cap after a re-fill. With dirt, chips and so on flying around it can get grubby and any dirt or debris in your fuel will cause problems.
• Don’t feed branches or material in too fast, and let the machine ‘digest’ what it is dealing with before you load another lot in. This will reduce the chance of jamming and clogging.
Engineer’s Tip – Let the engine warm up for a bit before you start trying to chip branches. It takes a lot of energy to chip or shred a branch and you can reduce the wear and tear on your engine and mechanism by a great deal by simply holding back for a moment, reducing maintenance costs and/or the cost of a replacement.