More and more people are turning to a snow blower for their snow maintenance needs. Using a snow blower is fast, efficient and doesn’t require as much effort as shoveling, so it’s no wonder that this technology is being embraced by consumers. Whether you’ll be purchasing a new snow blower this winter, or you just want to take better care of your machine, this guide will give you a helpful overview.
The Benefits of an Electric Snow Blower
There are two main types of snow blowers: electric-powered and gas-powered. Electric snow blowers are meant for light snow removal. These are either plugged directly into an outlet with a cold weather extension cord or powered by a battery. These models are a lot lighter to carry than gas snow blowers, and are best for small properties where snow removal is minimal. Electric snow blowers are perfect for seniors and others who can’t carry larger models. They’re best for areas that don’t get a ton of snowfall, so if you plan on clearing out a foot of snow this winter, you might want to choose a different model.
The Benefits of a Gas Snow Blower
Single-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
Gas snow blowers are divided into three types: single-stage, dual-stage and three-stage. Single-stage blowers are ideal for moderate snow and can take care of most accumulations up to 8 inches. But make sure you don’t use a single-stage on gravel surfaces; since it touches the ground when throwing snow, it’ll shoot out bits of gravel on contact.
Dual-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
If you expect heavier snowfall or live on a large property, a dual-stage model is your best bet; these snow blowers are great for managing snowfall of a foot and higher. You can even use them to clear out ice and heavy, wet snow. If you have a large gravel or concrete driveway you need to clear, or live in area with high average snowfall, this kind of model is a great pick.
Invest in a more powerful model like this if you have a lot of hilly terrain to work with, as this is a lot tougher to manage than snow flat on the ground. And if you’re going to be making a lot of wide turns with your snow blower, you might want to look for a model with power steering.
Three-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
Finally, three-stage snow blowers are meant for the heaviest snow accumulations. Chances are you won’t need to invest in a three-stage model unless you work in commercial snow removal, or if your area is prone to extremely heavy winter storms. With each stage, the models become a little more expensive, so choose the snow blower you think you’ll need. Many electric snow blowers will do the trick if you have a small yard, so do some research before purchasing your machine and read about the recommended uses for each model.
Changing the Oil in Your Snow Blower
If you decide to purchase a gas snow blower, you need to remember to change the oil every so often. Make sure to read the instruction manual to see how much oil is recommended for your model, and be sure to double check for any leaks. If you’d rather not worry about replacing the oil and want easier maintenance, consider an electric snow blower.
Essential Snow Blower Maintenance
Aside from replacing the oil, there are a number of parts on your snow blower that will wear down over time and need to be inspected. It’s essential to check your shear pins, which connect the gear case to the auger, to note if they’re missing or broken. You should have a few spare sets of these lying around, just in case they break mid-season. When installing new shear pins, make sure you’re using exact replacements or it could cause damage to the machine.
You’ll also want to inspect your scraper bars and skid shoes; these will wear down as the winter season goes on, so they will need to be replaced as needed to keep the machine functioning properly. The belts are another area you want to keep a close eye on. If you see heavy wear and tear on one of the belts, remove it and replace with a new part, being sure to maintain the same placement.
Storing Your Snow Blower
It’s important to make sure you store your snow blower properly. Because you’ll use it so often in the winter, you might consider leaving it outside. However, you may have trouble starting it if it’s constantly exposed to frigid temperatures. Your best bet is to leave it in your garage where it won’t be too exposed to the elements.
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