So you have decided that you are done with shoveling the snow and want to invest in a good quality electric snow blower to make life easier. The only thing holding you back is that you are not sure how to use an electric snow blower to clear your driveway and pathway.
We have put together this small guide on using an electrical snow blower that will help make things easier for you. So let’s get started.
How Do Snow Blowers Work?
A snow blower is a powerful machine that can heave snow away with minimal effort. Bigger models are capable of blowing snow up to 50 feet away, depending on the model. Previously, it was best to leave them to professionals. These days, snow blowers are easy to operate and anyone can learn to handle them in a few minutes.
A snow blower has a vacuum or propeller chute attached at the top that blows snow away in a narrow spray. There is a spinning auger at the bottom that feeds snow into the tube. Some electric snow blowers operate at a standard speed while more expensive models allow you to adjust the vacuum’s power.
Read up the instructions manual that came with the snow blower so that you know where all the gears and buttons are. It will also include proper maintenance and cleaning instructions that will help you extend its life.
How Much Snow Can You Clear?
Electric snow blowers are lightweight and offer moderate power. They are a good option when you are looking to clear away snow that is no more than a couple of feet deep. Electric snow blowers can be used to clean walkways as well as driveways. They can also be used to clear decks and patios where you can’t take gas-powered models due to their weight or bulky size.
For cordless snow blowers the battery lasts 1 – 2 hours, depending on size. If you will be using the snow blower for longer than that, make sure to get multiple batteries and have them charged while you work.
Preparation for Using a Snow Blower
Before you start using the snow blower, make sure to do a check for the following.
- Clear away all foreign or large objects from your driveway and sidewalks. Remove any dead branches, plants, paper or other debris that can get stuck in the snow blower.
- Ensure that the batteries are fully charged. If you are using a corded snow blower, ensure that you have enough extension wire to get the machine as far as you will need.
- Wear appropriate clothes that won’t get stuck on any parts of the snow blower. We also recommend using safety glasses, gloves and thick snow shoes.
Plan a Route
Pick a spot to throw away the snow. If you want to pile it up on the sides of your driveway, then it is best to cut a single swath down the center, then work your way out towards the edges. If you want to pile it up on one side only, then start on the opposite edge and slowly work your way towards the side where you want to pile up the snow.
Using the Snow Blower
Make sure that the auger and drive clutches are disengaged when you start. Pick your starting spot and turn the machine on. Engage the auger and then the drive clutch.
Keep both hands on the machine as much as you can while the snow blower is running. This will give you quicker access to the controls to turn it off. It also gives you support in case you lose your balance and begin to slip.
Do Not Rush and Keep it Slow and Steady
Cleaning away snow isn’t a race to see how fast you can do it. If you move too quickly through deep snow, it can clog up the blower pipes.If snow gets stuck in the blower, you will have to spend time to clean it out or even have to replace a shear pin. Set a steady pace depending on how deep the snow is.
Make slow, easy turns. Keep an eye on how much snow is being sucked in and blown out to adjust your movement. Trying to run through it quickly can also cause you to slip and fall.
The good thing about an electric snow blower is that turning a single stage model is easier than a two stage snow blower. It will feel almost like using a push lawn mower. One steady turn, and you’re ready for the next pass on the driveway. Don’t forget to rotate the chute when required.
Do Not Run on Gravel Surfaces
Single stage snow blowers are best used with paved surfaces only. This is because the auger paddles come directly into contact with the ground to push snow into the chute. If you run it on gravel, there is a risk that you will pick up stones and pebbles and send them flying everywhere.
Things to Avoid
While operating your snow blower, do not forget about all these important safety issues.
- Do not leave your snow blower unattended while it is on. Turn it off even if you need to step away for just a second.
- Donot try to clean out the augers or chute with your hands or feet. Use a proper cleaning tool.
- Do not point the chute at people, buildings or cars. It isn’t water spraying out and the snow can lead to an injury.
- Do not try to refuelgas blowers while the engine is on. Turn them off for refueling.
- Do not start the snow blower in an enclosed area. Always start in the open.
- Do not use the snow blower to clear anything other than snow. Clear away debris before you start.