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How to Operate a Snow Blower – Tips & Techniques to Use it Effectively

Looking at the snowfall is an amazing thing that everyone would love to see. But when does it backfire? – During the time of clearing it to produce a path for your sidewalk or driveway. When the temperature starts dropping down, it is necessary to explore ways to remove the snow more smartly. There are many options for the snow removal process. Using a shovel is one among the several options, but make sure to go for an ultimate investment. As winter is approaching, now is the time to get rid of the shovel technique and opt for help from a nearby hardware store. Using snowblowers fits every home, a worthier investment with a lifetime of about 10 to 15 years.

How to Use a Snow Blower?

There might be different techniques for snow blowing. But as a beginner you need to know the correct process for using a snowblower. Below you can learn out how to use it in a right way avoiding all the beginner mistakes.

Step 1: Plan Before You Start

This process of using a snowblower or removing snow is similar to mowing a lawn. To clear it, just move your machine front and back.

  1. As a first step, determine whether your snow blower will discharge the snow either on both sides or not. It is not good to blow snow on people, vehicles, or homes.
  2. Blowing it towards the street will welcome additional problems your way.
  3. When you are discharging the snow, try to determine the wind direction because even a small breeze could hinder your effort when cleaning the work area.
  4. You could either set a flag or spike as a reference point if you are in an area that is prone to regular falls of snow. The reference points will guide you on track whenever you use your snowblower machine.

Step 2: Do a Pre-Check

Pre-checking is the most important step whenever you are going to handle the machine.

  1. When your machine is not in use or in the off-season, it is recommended to empty the fuel tank. So, when you are going to use the machine, check whether the gasoline that is mixed with the fuel stabiliser is filled in your machine or not. Mixing the fuel stabiliser can protect your fuel tank from oxidation that could happen between the usage of the device.
  2. Also, note that if your fuel tank is filled with the fuel you used before months or days or years, then make sure to remove it with the help of a syphon and then add new fuel to it.
  3. Also, check the engine oil, the tires, the belts, shear pins, scraper blades, and the skid shoes before use.
  4. Use appropriate workwear suits depending upon the climatic condition.
  5. Make sure to scan your driveway area and remove the debris of branches, newspapers, etc., that could clog as well as damage your machine.
  6. Going for several passes rather than one sweep at times of severe storms could be beneficial. It is also to be noted that even the strongest snowblower machine will struggle to remove the snow that is 16 inches deep inside.

Step 3: Operating a Snowblower

Make sure to wear safety glasses to ensure the utmost safety. Refer to the user manual for a clear understanding of the working conditions of the machine.

  1. Turn on your snowblower and adjust the position of the snow discharge chute towards the direction of the wind.
  2. Once you start the snowblower, keep both your hands on the machine.
  3. Start operating the throttle to move forward and engage the auger lever to begin discharging.
  4. While you complete the first pass, disengage the augur lever. For parallel passes, adjust the discharge chute to blow the snow in the wind direction.
  5. Perform a slow operation to avoid the clogs or damage that might occur to your machine. Overloading the capacity of snow throwers faster leads to damage to the machine.
  6. The machine’s motion must be slow, but running the blower should be at full speed for removing heavy snow.
  7. Make several passes to deep clean the snow. Your hard work gets wasted if you blow the snow in an upwind situation.

Step 4: Maintenance

Regular maintenance keeps your machine in good condition for many years. The following steps are to be followed for regular maintenance of the machine during cold weather, before the season, or after the season.

  1. During the cold-weather season, use a fuel stabiliser to prevent gas breakage, leading to clogged injectors. To prevent rust, wipe your snowblower after every use. Check if there are any damaged belts and tighten loosening nuts and bolts.
  2. Try to empty the fuel at the end of the season. From the user manual, try following the lubrication process. For long-term use, protect the internal parts of your machine by using fogging oil.
  3. During pre-season, replace damaged parts such as spark plugs or belts, or change the oil if necessary. Also, check the clutch levers and lubricate the parts. The discharge chute can be waxed inside to reduce clogging.

Snow Blowing Safety Tips and Precautions

Improper handling of snowblowers may result in injuries, and every year thousands of people are suffering from this injury, especially on their hands, backs, and fingers. This injury is likely to happen at times of heavy snow or the snow has accumulated so deep (several inches). So, safety precautions have to be taken to avoid these circumstances.

  • Don’t Wear Loose Clothes – Wearing loose jackets, pants, or something like this can easily get tangled in the machine, which causes injuries to humans and damage to the machine.
  • Good Traction Shoes – Using shoes or boot grippers helps prevent slippery or injuries. Appropriate footwear should be used; it can be either spikes or ice cleats to reduce the slip or fall.
  • Pay Full Attention – Stay focused on what you do to avoid unnecessary risks.
  • Better to Start Machine Outside – It is always better to start the engine outside and not in a shed or garage. Snowblowers like Gas Snowblowers can produce dangerous carbon monoxide, harmful to humans.
  • Check for Position of Discharge Chute – The discharge chute used at the time of discharging snow should never be directed towards people, vehicles, your home, or the areas which can cause severe damage.
  • Keep Your Kids Indoors – Kids usually enjoy playing this time, but it is recommended that you do not allow your kids outside when working with the snow blowers.
  • Protect Your Ears and Take Breaks – Gas-powered snow blowers produce a high sound that could even result in ear damage. Make sure to use earplugs or something related to it to avoid such a worst situation. Taking breaks is a must when handling the snowblowers, as using this technique produces faster results than using a shovel for cleaning purposes.

When the user tries to clear the clogged discharge chute or auger lever with their hands, injuries might sometimes happen due to the carelessness of the users, which may even result in amputation. Therefore, follow the below steps to ensure safety when rectifying a clogged snow blower.

What to Do If a Snow Blower Clogged?

  1. First, turn off the engine and check whether the blades have stopped rotating before clearing the clog.
  2. With the help of the clearing tool, clean the clog and do not use your hands. The augur, which is clogged, may have some residual energy that can injure your hands even when the machine is off condition.
  3. Also, keep your hands away from all the mobility parts and shields in their place.

Prevention is always better than curing issues. In this way, there are certain steps to be followed to keep your machine safe from clogging.

  • Using cooking oil spray, spray the blades and discharge chute often and when your cleaning ends.
  • During heavy snowfall or wet weather, slowly begin clearing to avoid clogging conditions.
  • Make the blade move faster to make the snow less likely to stick on the machine.

Some of the additional snowblowing tips are:

  • Don’t wait for the snow to settle down completely because you should start clearing the snow before it reaches 6 inches. That could reduce the height of your driveway.
  • Before doing the process, inspect your property and remove all the debris like branches or newspapers to avoid clogging. If your machine encounters a frozen newspaper, that could even cause a jam in the machine.
  • To avoid clogs, take small bites, and it is the best snowblower technique that allows your machine to throw the discharge very far.
  • Always start with fresh fuel that could make your work simpler.

FAQs

How much snow do you need to use a snowblower?

Minimum snow required for snowblower is at least 2 inches. Also remember not to blow more than 5 inches at a time and if the snow is less than 2 inches you can use shovel instead of blower.

Conclusion

Above all, if you are going to handle a new machine, the best piece of advice to keep your machine safe is to refer to the user’s manual for detailed explanations and the operation of certain features and parts of the machine. Slow and steady always wins, which is the ideology you have to follow when working on a snowblower. Use the machine very carefully to avoid injuries because your life is worthier than anything in the world.