You’ll probably spend some time blowing snow off your driveway this winter. As you put your machine to work, it’s important that you know how to use it safely. In fact, the same care you put on the lawn mower and other yard machines should be extended to the snow blower. Many accidents are reported every year regarding this line of winter lawn care.
Get Prepared to Blow Snow before the Onset of Winter
Remove any objects like doormats, newspapers and minor stuff lying on the ground. This measure will prevent clogging after you start blowing when the snow sinks to a few inches.
Understand the various functions and controls on a two-stage snow blower. These operations include:
- Start and smooth running procedures
- Controlling the directional chute
- Understanding how the auger and drive clutch work
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Seeing that the weather is freezing, you’ll want to be in warm fitting pants preferably bright overalls. Have on gloves, a pair of safety glasses, and ear plugs for loud snow blowers.
Scarves may get stuck in the tool. So avoid it or if you must, tuck it in your jacket.
Assess the Weather conditions
How warm is it? Determine whether you’ll be dealing with fluffy or wet snow.
What is the wind direction?
You should be able to easily know the direction of the wind so as to identify where the snow will be blowing. You should always blow the snow in line with the wind. This will prevent it from blowing back onto your face.
Perform a Quick Blower Checkup
- Check whether the fuel tank is full to give yourself a long runtime before you have to refill the tank. Also, remember to use fresh fuel
- Ascertain the oil level is at the top mark
- Align the skid shoes, scraper blade, and shear pins
For the skid shoes, the height is dictated by the type of surface you are cleaning. If it is paved, then the thrower will not pick up stones and rocks. The skid shoes should be set a little higher if you plan to move snow on gravel surfaces.
Start the Snow Blower
- Launch the blower in a ventilated place like outside or leave the garage door open
- Follow the stipulated starting steps. That is; the drive system should be disengaged.
Use the Appropriate Snow Blower depending on the Snowfall
If the snow is just a few inches deep, say up to 6-inches you’ll want to use a lightweight blower. Preferably, use an electric single-stage blower.
When you have over 8-inches deep of snow, it tends to get sticky and hard with the changing temperatures. Use a powerful blower as in a two-stage, gas powered blower.
Plan the Blowing Process
Decide on where you want to pile the snow regarding the wind direction. Ensure there are no people or pets in line with the direction you intend to blow the snow. It can be on one or both side of the area you want to remove; like the driveway or sidewalk.
If you leave your car outside, it’s probably buried in snow. Start by cleaning the frame to avoid coming back after you have cleaned the driveway.
If your driveway is long and the weather is calm, you could start at the middle working your way towards either direction. Blowing in circles discharges the snow on both sides of the driveway. It’s best that you have no onlookers during this process.
If it’s windy, adjust the direction of the chute to discharge the snow in line with the wind direction.
Keep Both Hands on the Thrower
This aspect makes sure you have total control on the machine. This is from the speed to adjusting the controls when need be.
If the snow is not much, opt for the single stage since it’s easy to steer.
For the two-stage, look for one with power steering option. It helps in self-propelling the wheels which follow the rate of your steps. This way, you can stop one of the wheels when making turns.
If your two-stage blower does not carry the power steering feature, look for one that locks one hand into position.
Other Safety Precautions
- NEVER use a single stage blower on gravel surfaces
- Wait until the engine is cool to refuel a gas snow blower
- Always turn OFF the blower when it’s unattended even for a moment
- Always use cleaning tools to break any clogging; not your hands or feet
- Clean the snow blower after use
Learning how to use a snow blower is the first step to safe snow clearing. Use the information above to ready yourself for the next time you’ll be using this incredible machine.