Some people love snow and welcome its arrival, while others wince at the back pain they have to look forward to. Its not surprising that these 2 people fall into 2 groups: those with snow blowers, and those who shovel. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the white stuff once again.
Know Your Snow Job
Just like a car, there are many makes and models of snowblowers (or snow throwers as they are also commonly known as). Each car is suited for a different purpose, and snow blowers are no different.
How long is your driveway? How much snow do you expect receiving each year? How heavy is the snow? How wide a space does your snow removal needs cover?
For most city dwellers, who have just a driveway and a sidewalk to clear off, a single stage gas blower will do the trick. These types of snow blowers will touch the ground, so be aware of the area you are clearing. Most single stage gas snow blowers retail for $ 300 to $ 900.
However, if you find that you get a lot of snow, or have a larger area to clear, a two stage gas blower will save you time and help avoid further back aches. These types of snow blowers come equipped with wide augers to clear off larger areas, while throwing the snow further. Depending on the type of two stage gas snow blower you are looking at, prices can range from $ 600 to over $ 2000 according to Consumer Reports.
If you have a gravel driveway, you'll want to ensure that the auger does not touch the ground (that picking up rocks which can be hard on the snowblower, and cause harm if to items near the path of the blowing snow. Most two stage blowers are perfect for gravel driveways.
If you find that you only get a few inches per snowfall, or have a small small area to clear, you may find that a single stage electric blower will take care of your needs. Electric snow throwers range between $ 100 and $ 300 and will clear an area of about 11-18inches.
Take It For A Spin
While a retailer wont let you clear off any snow at your house to test it out, they will let you push the floor models around. Find one that suits your strength. The larger snow blowers are normally very heavy. While it may be fun to have the largest snow blower on the block, it does not make sense to buy it if you cant push it around without hurting your back.
Are the handlebars adjustable to your height? You have to remain in control of your snow blower at all times and the handlebars will help you move around corners. You should also pay attention to the chute control. By adjusting the direction of the chute, you can angle the snow where you want it, not in front of you or on your neighbors driveway.
If you purchase a single or two stage gas snow blower, remember to start it up outside. Carbon monoxide poisoning is an invisible killer. Clearing snow is tough enough without having to worry about carbon monoxide.
Do you have a set of ear plugs? You'll need them, especially with the larger snow blowers.
Remember not to wear anything that is loose fitting. Its very easy for a scarf or sleeve to get worn in the snow blower and the results are not very nice.
Its obvious, but many people loose limbs because they dont watch what they are doing. If your machine gets clogged, turn it off. Only when the engine is off (or unplugged if you purchase an electric snow blower) should you attempt to clear the clog. Use a wooden broom handle or hockey stick to clear out a clog. Better you have to buy a new broom or a new hockey stick than to have to explain why you no longer have an arm.
Other than price, buying a snow thrower is no different than buying a car. In both cases, you buy the one that meets your exact needs and fits within your budget. Take it out for a test drive and remember safety first.
Start enjoying snow again. Think of how envious your neighbors will be when they see your new machine purring down the driveway, without a care, and without a worry of a sore back.