As we move closer to those cold winter months and blizzards and snowstorms may rear their heads again, we here at Best of Tools thought it’s about time that we look at how you can best use a snowblower to ensure ease of movement on and off your property.
Using A Snow Blower
So you have bought a snowblower. Clearly, you are already prepared for that nasty weather, but before using your snow blower, there is a little more preparation to be done. We recommend that before you use the machine, you perform a safety check of the machine and the area you are working in to ensure a safe working environment.
First, ensure there is enough fuel in the tank of the machine and that you have cleared all loose debris from the area you are about to begin working in – you definitely do not want loose stones or sticks being blown into your property or car.
Next, ensure that you have appropriate clothing on, sufficiently fitted to ensure that it cannot become caught up in the machinery when you begin working – there is nothing worse than trying to get to the ED in the snow, especially when a preliminary safety check could avoid that. Finally, you will need to check that all parts of the machine have been attached as per the specifications, and you have read the instruction manual thoroughly to ensure you are entirely up to speed with the controls and steering.
Following your preliminary checks of the machine and area that you are going to be working in, we suggest you make a plan of how you are going to approach the area you want to clear – there is nothing worse than working through the space only to have to go over it again because the next section moves the snow back to where you started.
You need to look at where you are going to pile the snow, avoiding blowing it towards property and people, also avoid the road as this is dangerous for passing motorists and also annoying if a snowplow comes past and moves the snow straight back onto your property. Before beginning, we suggest you take note of which direction the wind is blowing, for the safety of others in the vicinity and also for your own comfort – it will not be pleasant if all of the snow blows right back into your face.
When starting your snowblower for the first time use the instruction manual to safeguard yourself against the fumes it will emit, you may well need to use an extension cable to reach all of your yards so follow the manual and make sure that any extension cable you use is waterproof if it will be out in the snow.
Now that your snowblower is up and running use two hands on the machine as often as you can, this is the safest and quickest way to use the machine, you will be able to steer and control it with more accuracy and if the area you are clearing becomes slippy you have a better chance of remaining upright.
The best way we’ve found to move snow safely is to go at a steady pace and move slowly throughout the entire area you wish to clear, moving too quickly could clog the machine and damage the internal workings which would slow you down and could cost you. Steering your snow blower will depend on the model and controls, so please make sure you check your manual before beginning the work – there is nothing worse than making a start and having to begin again.
If you are using a single-stage snowblower, you shouldn’t use this on a gravel surface as the chances of gravel flicking up are very high, so we wouldn’t recommend you go over gravel due to the risks to property, yourself and passersby. If you need to clear a gravel surface we recommend you use a two-stage snow blower for safety, we also suggest that you adjust the skid shoes to a higher setting, this will leave a thin layer of snow on top of the gravel and reduce the risk of stones being flicked into the air or going through the chute.
Hints and Tips
We have a few instructions you must remember when using a snowblower; ensure that you never leave it running and unattended when moving away from the machine make sure you switch it off to avoid injury for those who aren’t aware of how to use it safely. Make sure that you only use the snowblower on snow – sounds like an obvious instruction, but when you see how well this works, you may be tempted to use it on other things – don’t – it could prove dangerous and also could damage the machine you’ve just bought.
As we advised above ensure you never point the chute at any properties or people and make sure you never switch the machine on in an enclosed area due to the fumes which will be emitted when the engine is first engaged. Finally, only refuel the machine when it is switched off and never clean the chute or auger using your hands or feet.
Instead, when cleaning the machine, make sure it is switched off, and you use the cleaning tool to remove any leftover snow from the machine, wiping any excess with a cloth – use a mat, to collect any melting snow and avoid damage to the machine, if you have one.
Lastly, and we can’t stress this enough, it is imperative you read your owner’s manual before beginning to use your machine as these are general tips and not specific to your machine. The manual really is the best way to find out all of the great features of your model and the best way to safely remove annoying snow from your property.