In this week’s post, we’ll be getting into how to use a snow blower the right way. And surprisingly there are wrong ways to use one!
While snow has an alluring natural beauty, it can also get problematic, especially if you need to clear it from your lawn or driveway. Thankfully, a modern machine can significantly make the task easier: the snow blower.
A snow blower can remove up to 50 feet of snow, depending on the model. However, you still need to know how to operate it properly. Otherwise, it can be infuriating and even dangerous.
For example, you could heap the snow on an area you just cleared. Or, you can hurl stones or other debris at innocent bystanders or windows.
To help you avoid disastrous scenarios, this article will help you how to use a snow blower no matter the situation. Furthermore, you’ll also find helpful tips about handling such equipment.
Step #1 – Prepare Your Snow Blower
Assuming that you stored the gas powered snow blowers during the off-season with an empty fuel tank (which you should), then you need to fill up the machine with fuel. It would be best if you used a fuel stabilizer, which is available in some gas stations and most hardware stores.
The fuel stabilizers help prevent the fuel from oxidation in-between uses. Thus, it can help you save money and avoid minor damages to the machine.
If the snow blower has fuel from the last season, it’s best to remove it before putting the new fuel. You can use a siphoning method to remove it. You’d also want to check the tires to see if it’s properly inflated.
This assumes that your snow blower doesn’t come with tracks or airless wheels. Lastly, ensure that the snow blower has ample engine oil.
Step #2 – Prepare The Area
In most cases, you’ll use the snow blower to work on a driveway or lawn. Either way, you must first survey the area for newspapers, branches, or debris that may clog the machine and end up damaging it.
Ensure that your pets, kids, or fragile items are indoors. It’s not uncommon for snow blowers to hurl small stones and debris at high speeds. In fact, the machine can throw small rocks 30 feet away or further. Hence, be on the safe side.
If the snow is more than 10 inches, it’s best to formulate a plan that would involve two passes. Most single-stage snow blowers have a maximum depth of around six to nine inches. Hence, plan ahead if the snow is thick.
Step #3 – Snow Blowing Pattern
The pattern of how you make a pass of the area is also directly connected to which side you want to hurl the snow on. Most of the time, your choice is to throw the snow on one side or both sides.
Remember that most snow blowers can only hurl the snow in one direction. Hence, plan ahead.
If you want to hurl the snow at both sides, start in the center area. Then, move down until you reach the bottom part, take a left, move a few feet and make another left.
At this point, you’ll be facing up. Continue moving upwards until you hit the edge, and then repeat. The idea here is to follow an outward spiral. By doing so, you’ll be hurling the snow on both sides of the area.
If you want to throw the snow on one side, you’d like to position yourself at the farthest edge opposite where you want to throw the snow. Instead of doing a spiral, you are doing it as if you are mowing a lawn.
This means taking a pass downwards, making a turn, moving upwards, and repeating. Depending on where the snow is being hurled, you may have to do it the opposite way (starting from the bottom and then going upwards).
If you have a snow blower that can turn the output nozzle in any direction, things are a lot easier. It’s just a matter of pointing the nozzle to where you want to deposit the snow.
Additional Tips For How To Use A Snow Blower
Waiting for the snow to stop falling before you start using the snow blower is usually not a good idea. If the snow reaches around six inches, you may want to start clearing it.
While it is true that you may have to do it again soon, but you won’t put a lot of load on your snow blower. As a result, you’ll finish the job faster, and it’s less likely for your machine to get damaged.
Throw It Far
You’d want to throw the snow on the spot you want to deposit it. You don’t want to throw it halfway, then take another pass later on. Doing so will only put more load on your machine later on.
To maximize the throw distance, you can take smaller bites of the snow, slow ground speed with full RPM, fully raise the output position and/or blow in the direction of the wind.
Cool Off Before Refueling
If you happen to run out of gas while in the middle of snow blowing, it’s best to let the machine cool off before refueling. The snow blower is hot due to all the work, and the gas tank is above the engine. While refueling, you could spill a bit of gas on the machine, which may start a fire.
Another potential issue is that the fuel is a lot colder than the gas tank. If the temperature is wide enough, it could create a mechanical reaction between the cold fuel and the hot tank. And, this may cause the fuel to splash around and may even give you burns.
Snow blower manufacturers strongly suggest that you let the machine cool off for about 10 minutes before refueling. Use the time to give yourself a break and enjoy a hot coffee or hot choco.
Wrapping It All Up
A snow blower is a crucial part of modern living, especially in an area where mild to heavy snow is a regular occurrence. To maximize the benefits of this machine, you should know how to use it properly.
The three major steps to remember are using fresh fuel, preparing the area, and planning your snow-blowing pattern.
Lastly, don’t forget about the additional tips mentioned. While the tips are not comprehensive, they should give you a head start and point you in the right direction.
My name is Matthew Brown (editor and self-proclaimed snowblower expert) and I’ve lived in Wisconsin my entire life, so you could say I know a thing or two about harsh winters.
No matter what you need when it comes to snow blowers, maintenance, which to choose and why… you’re in the right place.
Let me know if you need any help or have any questions!