13 Snow Blowing Tips That Make Snow Removal Quick and Easy
These snow blowing tips will help you maintain and operate your snow blower for maximum efficiency and safety. Read these tips thoroughly—there are some you’ll want to do before you’re buried in snow.
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Snow Blowing 101
Running a snow blower seems like a skill you could master in two minutes. But we wondered: If it’s really that simple, why are there 6,000 blower-related injuries in the United States every year? And why do repair shops get overwhelmed after a big storm?
To get answers, we talked with experts at all the major manufacturers?as well as the guys who fix blowers. It turns out that operator error is the No. 1 cause of clogs and breakdowns, and improper clearing of clogs is the most common cause of injuries. The experts shared some great tips on how to avoid both. So even if you’re an experienced snow blower operator, read on.
Don’t Wait for it to Stop Snowing
One common snow removal mistake people make is waiting for it to stop snowing. The truth is that you should start clearing the snow before it reaches 6 in. Sure, you’ll spend more time snow blowing, but your machine won’t have to work as hard, and it’ll throw the snow farther. That’ll reduce the height of the snowbanks flanking your driveway.
Throw Snow As Far As You Can
Avoid throwing snow only partway off the driveway and then throwing it a second time. That just creates a heavier load for the blower. There are four ways to get the maximum throw: Take smaller bites of snow, run the blower at full rpm but at a slower ground speed, adjust the chute diverter to its full raised position and blow with the wind.
Prepare Your Property Ready for Snow
You can make snow removal that much easier if you take some time to winterize your driveway and sidewalks. To start, inspect your property. Remove rocks, dog tie-out cables, extension cords, holiday light cords and garden hoses. Then stake out paths that run near gardens so you don’t accidentally suck up rocks and garden edging with your snowblower. Mark your walk and driveway perimeters by pounding in driveway markers. If the ground is already frozen, just drill a hole using a masonry bit and your battery-powered drill.
Watch Out for Half-Buried Newspapers
A frozen newspaper is the leading cause of machine jams. It can break shear pins or belts and damage expensive auger and impeller components. A fresh layer of snow over newspapers makes them hard to see, and they’re easy to forget. So protect your machine by scouting the area before you hit it.
If you do suck up a newspaper, shut down the engine and remove it with a broom or shovel handle, but never with your hands. If you can’t remove the paper, take your machine to a pro, who will charge a whole lot less than even the cheapest surgeon. To avoid any other hiccups while removing snow, use these tips to fix a snow blower that won’t start.
Take Smaller Bites to Avoid Clogs
It’s tempting to crank up the speed and plow right through it. That’s the single best way to clog your machine and wear out (or break) the drive belts. And when you consider how long it takes to constantly stop and unclog the chute, ramming at full speed doesn’t actually save any time. Worse yet, improperly clearing a clogged chute is dangerous, and the most common cause of snow blower?related injuries.
Instead of making a full-width pass through the snow, manufacturers recommend taking smaller bites; about one-third to one-half the width of the machine. It’s faster than slogging through a full path of heavy snow and it’s easier on the machine. Another reason it’s a better snow-blowing technique is that it allows the machine to throw the snow farther.
Start With Fresh Fuel
Stale gas is the No. 1 cause of hard starting. So don’t use what’s left in the lawn mower can. It’s better to dump that summer blend into your car’s tank, then refill the can with winter blend, which is more volatile and provides better starting.
Cool Off, Then Gas Up
If your snow blower runs out of gas halfway through a tough job, you’ll be tempted to refill it right away. But think about this: The engine is hot and the gas tank sits right on top of that hot engine. Even worse, you’re standing right over the machine holding a gallon of gas.
Snow-blower fires happen often enough that the manufacturers strongly recommend that you let the engine cool for at least 10 minutes before refilling. Take that opportunity to grab a cuppa joe or hot chocolate and warm up your fingers and toes. Then, once your personal tank is refilled, refill your snow blower and carry on.
Add Stabilizer to Fresh Fuel
Follow the fuel stabilizer dosing recommendations on the bottle label. Add the stabilizer to the gas can right at the gas station so it’ll mix up on the way home. Or, add a premeasured packet to the gas can before filling it with gas.
Switch to Synthetic Oil for Easier Starting
Small engines typically have to reach at least 400 rpm before they’ll fire up. But traditional motor oil thickens when cold, making it much harder to reach that 400-rpm threshold. Synthetic oil allows the engine to spin faster when you yank the cord, so it starts with fewer pulls. So when you change the oil in your snowblower next, switch to synthetic.
Don’t Forget Pre-Season Maintenance
Get your snow blower ready for action by installing a new spark plug, changing the oil and checking the condition of the belts. Replace the belts if you see cracks, fraying or glazing or notice that chunks are missing. Replacing the spark plug? Consider an iridium spark plug.
Next, sand any rusted areas and repaint. Once the paint cures, apply a high-quality polymeric car wax to all painted surfaces. The wax will shed the snow and water and protect the paint. And, wax the inside of the chute to help prevent clogs.
Then consult your owner’s manual to find the lubrication points and the recommended lube. If the type of lube isn’t listed, here’s some general guidance: Use motor oil on metal linkage joints, gears and cables, but dry PTFE lube on plastic parts (knobs, gears and chute). Spray the auger, second-stage impeller and chute with silicone spray to prevent snow from sticking.
Buy Parts Before You Need Them
Belts and shear pins always break on a Sunday night in the middle of a blizzard. So buy replacement parts at the start of the season when everyone has them in stock. If you break a shear pin and try to improvise using the wrong shear pin, or worse yet, an ordinary bolt, you risk major damage that can easily cost you $200. You’ll need to change the belt in your snowblower from time to time too, so grab set of belts and a few extra shear pins.
Also make sure you have the right size of wrenches and sockets and the correct size pin punch to drive out the broken pin. Then assemble a parts and tool kit.
Prevent Major Auger Damage
The drive shaft applies torque to the shear pin, which then applies it to the auger. However, if the auger rusts to the drive shaft, they’ll become one and the shear pin will never break. If that happens, the auger clog can cause major damage to the machine. Lubricate the drive shaft to prevent it from rusting to the auger. Remove shear pins and lubricate the drive shaft with lubricating oil. Then spin the auger to spread the oil along the length of the shaft. Reinstall shear pins.
If you’re unable to remove the snow on your own, then you can always get professional help. Here, find out the cost of snow removal.
Originally Published: November 26, 2018
Best Snow Blower Buying Guide
Depending on where you live, a snow blower can be either a nice luxury or an absolute necessity.
When deciding whether to buy one, consider how much snow you get in an average winter and how big an area you need to clear around your home to get your car on the road safely.
If you have a short driveway and a garage attached to your house, you might get away with a decent snow shovel. Or if you live in an area that rarely gets pummeled by winter storms, you may be better off saving the money you’d spend on a snow blower and hiring a plow truck once or twice a winter to dig you out.
But if you get three or more big snowstorms per year, or can’t afford to get trapped in your house while you wait for a plow service, a snow blower (also called a snow thrower) is definitely for you. It simply moves infinitely more snow than a shovel, clearing a wide pathway with each pass and shooting snow 20 feet or more out of the way—and all without the back-breaking effort. In some cases, a chore that might take an hour can be done in 10 minutes.
The snow blowers in our ratings range in price from about $180 to over $3,000. Features and size dictate price; here’s what you need to consider when zeroing in on the kind of snow blower that’ll serve you best.
Single, Two, or Three Stages
All snow blowers use an auger, which works like a drill in reverse to suck up snow from the ground and discharge it through a chute. On single-stage snow blowers, the corkscrew-shaped auger is the only device moving snow, automatically shooting it out the back but not throwing it as far as a larger machine. Single-stage machines tend to be the worst performers, and we recommend only a handful of models—they’re best for users in parts of the South where you get a few inches of snow, on occasion, without the risk of a major snowfall. Most of these tools will throw snow up to 25 feet.
Two-stage models have an auger as well as an impeller, which is a fan that helps force collected snow from the back of the auger out through the discharge chute—as a result, these models collect snow faster and send it farther than single-stage blowers. Two-stage blowers typically throw snow up to 35 feet.
Three-stage models have an auger and impeller, too, but they also add something called an accelerator, which helps force collected snow from the auger to the impeller. These machines can clear the fastest and throw the farthest—shooting snow 40 feet or more.
In general, the more stages a machine has, the more power it packs. In turn, two- and three-stage machines tend to be wider than any single-stage model, because they have enough power to clear wider swaths in a single pass.
Gas, Corded Electric, or Battery
The vast majority of snow blowers use gasoline engines, and these models perform the best by throwing snow farther and clearing it faster. You’ll find some corded electric models, which can be used with an extension cord up to 100 feet from your home, but none perform well enough for us to recommend. A growing number of battery-powered electric models are also available. Of battery snow blowers, two-stage models tend to be more effective than single-stage units.
Wheels or Tracks
The majority of snow blowers are wheeled, including all single-stage models and most two- and three-stage models. For single-stage models, the user pushes or pulls the snow blower. On two-stage and three-stage machines, the wheels are powered by the engine, making those tools better for clearing large areas, where you’d get tired of pushing and pulling. Some two- and three-stage snow blowers have tracks, like those on a tank, in place of wheels. They’re more suitable for hills and steep driveways because they dramatically boost traction, but they tend to be more difficult to turn on level terrain.
It’s fascinating that no two snowflakes are alike, but that presents a problem for Consumer Reports’ testing protocol. We run our tests with something we can standardize, for consistency. That’s the reason we use a mixture of a certain type of sawdust, saturated with water, instead of snow.
The mixture we use can simulate a standard snowfall or be molded into a mound that simulates a plow pile, like the ones the town plows leave at the foot of your driveway. In each test we time how fast a model cuts through the dense mixture and note how far the sawdust is thrown and how clean the surface is.
The Overall Score for each model combines results from these performance tests as well as results of our survey of tens of thousands of CR members, which inform our brand reliability and owner satisfaction ratings. Brand reliability reflects estimated problem rates by the fifth year of ownership for gas snow blowers, or the fourth year of ownership for electric and battery snow blowers. Owner satisfaction reflects the proportion of CR members who are extremely likely to recommend their machine to a friend or family member.
We test single-, two-, and three-stage gas snow blowers as well as single-stage electric snow blowers and single-stage and two-stage battery snow blowers. We also include power snow shovels in these tests. These shovels are lighter and nimbler than traditional snow blowers, and designed for less snow.
For consistency, we use wet sawdust to simulate snow. Former snow blower test engineer Peter Sawchuk demonstrates.
Single-Stage Electric Snow Blowers
Single-stage electric snow blowers are best for short, level driveways, decks, and walkways with snow levels of less than 6 inches. About the size of a small walk-behind lawn mower, single-stage electrics are the lightest, quietest, and easiest models to use.
The technology is basic: A plastic auger pulls in the snow and throws it out the chute in one step. But the auger can also pick up and throw gravel, so keep people and pets a safe distance away.
An electric motor frees you from fueling and engine maintenance, but a power cord can limit range and maneuverability. Working in swaths that are typically 21 inches wide or less, these machines may require multiple passes to clear a particular space. And their modest power is no match for steep slopes.
Single-Stage Electric Snow Blowers Ratings
Power Snow Shovels
Smaller and lighter, power snow shovels are designed to go places where a snow blower would be overkill (along a short walkway or on an elevated deck). They’re corded or battery-powered and can generally clear up to 6 inches of snow. We test them just like snow blowers, but we use far less of the sawdust mixture—because for anything deeper, you’ll want a traditional snow blower.
Power Snow Shovels Ratings
Single-Stage Battery Snow Blowers
Like plug-in electric snow blowers, battery-powered snow blowers trade performance for convenience. They start instantly and eliminate the need for gas, oil, or engine maintenance, but they just don’t pack as much power as gas models. Some can clear 9-inch-deep snow, but most max out at a depth of about 6 inches. That’s on a par with a depth you’d easily tackle with a good snow shovel. They clear paths up to 21 inches wide with each pass.
Single-Stage Battery Snow Blowers Ratings
Two-Stage Battery Snow Blowers
As with two-stage gas snow blowers, two-stage battery blowers add an impeller to help the auger suck in snow more aggressively and shoot it farther. In our tests, that translates into more effective clearing and better throwing distances, and the best two-stage battery snow blowers can really clear well, albeit not as fast as the best gas blowers. Most models max out at 24 inches wide and can clear depths of up to 16 inches, though they’re more effective at depths of 12 inches or less.
Two-Stage Battery Snow Blowers Ratings
Single-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
Like their electric counterparts, single-stage gas snow blowers are a good choice for level midsized paved driveways and walkways with expected snow levels of up to 9 inches.
These models free you from the limitations of a cord and tend to cost far less than large two-stage and three-stage gas machines. They’re fairly light and easy to handle and take up about as much storage space as a walk-behind mower. They clear swaths of up to about 22 inches wide, and some models offer electric starting.
Their gas engines are also four-cycle, requiring only straight gasoline and no oil. But like electrics, they’re a poor choice for gravel driveways because they operate closer to the ground, sucking up stones in the process. Their auger provides only modest pulling power, and they tend to veer sideways on steep slopes.
Single-Stage Gas Snow Blowers Ratings
Two-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
Two-stage gas snow blowers are best for long wide driveways with snow levels of up to 16 inches. Some models clear a swath of up to 30 inches wide, and some can handle steeper inclines.
Like smaller models, two-stage gas snow blowers use an auger to pick up and throw snow, but they add a fanlike impeller behind the auger to help throw snow out the chute. They’re also propelled by engine-driven wheels.
Two-stage snow blowers are best for clearing snow on gravel because the auger doesn’t touch the ground. But the machines are relatively heavy and expensive compared with smaller models, and they can take up as much space as a lawn tractor, though you’ll also find easier-to-store compact 24-inch-wide models.
Two-Stage Gas Snow Blowers Ratings
Three-Stage Gas Snow Blowers
Three-stage gas models are the latest breed of snow blower, aimed at homeowners who have to contend with 18 inches or more of wet, heavy snow.
The accelerator is the feature that separates these power blowers from conventional two-stage machines. As its name implies, this feature speeds up snow clearing by taking snow from the collection augers and forcing it up into the discharge impeller.
Like their two-stage counterparts, three-stage blowers can clear a 30-inch-wide swath of snow, or more in some cases. The machines are on the expensive side, they’re heavy, and they take up a lot of storage space in a garage or shed; consider a compact 24-inch-wide three-stage blower if you don’t have a particularly large space to clear.
Three-Stage Gas Snow Blowers Ratings
Snow Blower Parts
Here’s where you’ll find the most crucial elements of your snow blower.
Illustration: Chris Philpot
Illustration: Chris Philpot
Even a well-maintained snow blower can have problems. Keep these extra items handy to ensure your machine is operational when you need it most:
• Belts. These essential parts engage all the critical components of the blower. You’ll need one drive belt for single-stage machines and two for two-stage models.
• Shear pins. On two-stage models, they protect the engine and transmission by breaking if the auger hits something too hard. Keep extras on hand.
• Fuel stabilizer. If you’re running your snow blower every week, you won’t need it until you stow the unit in the spring. But when the machine sits idle, gasoline in the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor breaks down and thickens. Adding stabilizer to your fuel can slow down this process.
A good snow blower blends competent clearing ability with smooth, single-lever chute control that sends snow any direction you want it to go. Retailers typically have floor samples you can check out. Be sure you’re comfortable with the height of the handle and with the chute adjustment controls, which you’ll be using frequently. Here are other important features to keep in mind.
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Dead Man’s Switch
All the snow blowers we tested have a dead man’s switch—a critical safety feature that stops the spinning auger and impeller when you release the handlebar grips.
A longer handle on single-stage models lets you quickly change the height and direction of the snow thrown from the discharge chute.
Most gas-powered models now offer plug-in electric starting for use near an outlet, which is much easier than yanking a pull cord in cold weather. It also prolongs the life of the pull cord, your only means of starting a model that lacks electric start.
This feature on many two- and three-stage machines lets you work after dark.
Most multistage snow blowers have four to six forward speeds—plus one or two reverse speeds—for the drive wheels, compared with just one on single-stage models. A choice of speeds can help prevent clogs while you slog through heavy snow.
A handlebar-mounted trigger release on multistage models eases steering by disengaging power to either or both drive wheels.
Discharge Shoot Control
Joystick chute controls let you change the vertical and horizontal direction of the discharge chute with the push of a lever. That’s convenient, though the lever can be a little difficult to maneuver if you’re wearing thick gloves. We’re now seeing more easy-turn crank controls, which you operate by hand. That might be a better option in frigid climates, though you should test the crank in the store to make sure it’s conveniently located (typically, adjacent to the handle).
Dead Man’s Switch
All the snow blowers we tested have a dead man’s switch—a critical safety feature that stops the spinning auger and impeller when you release the handlebar grips.
“Which Snow Blower Should I Buy?”
Our video buying guide will help you fine-tune your search.
Sinilgen – a holiday of the first snow in Yakutsk
E Wreaths of the city of Yakutsk and guests from nearby settlements gathered on October 22 at the traditional holiday of the first snow, the blessing of wintering, and successful hunting Sinilgen.
On this sunny day of winter, the Evenks met in the hospitable cordon of the Arkit community. Sinilgen is a celebration of the soul and jubilation of the Evenks, because the great hunt begins this season. “Sinilgen” means “first snow”. The Association of Evenks of Yakutia has traditionally been the organizer of the event, which has fallen in love with the people.
The owner of the cordon is the elder of the Evenk association of the republic, respected among relatives Ivan Atlasov and the People’s Deputy of the State Assembly (Il Tumen) Elena Golomareva during the opening of the holiday, congratulated all those present and, under the exclamation of approval of the alaky, raised the flag of the Evenki association of Yakutia. It should be noted that at the origins of the revival of the traditional folk holidays of the Evenks of the republic were Ivan Mikhailovich and the famous performer of the Evenk legend Nimnakan Valentin Isakov , which this time also demonstrated to the youth many forgotten ancestral rites, folk games, admonished them to continue the good traditions of the people. According to their great joy, the current Sinilgen is held 21 times.
On Sinilgen, all rituals were performed in a special order. They showed the respect and admiration of our ancestors for the forces of nature, the elders. At the beginning of the holiday, all those gathered underwent the rite of purification of Chichipkan. Then, in a special order, the traditional rites “Ulgani”, “Imty”, “Elluvka”, “Sinkelavun” were held. The first in a row, the rite of blessing and petition of the spirit of fire was started by respected elders Galina Keregyaeva (originally from the Aldan Evenki) and Vera Dutkina (originally from the Evenki of the Tomsk region). This rite was completed by the elder and connoisseur and guardian of the culture of the Evenks Valentin Isakov (originally from the Ust-May Evenks). After that, separately for men, a rite of obtaining good luck for hunters and a separate ritual for hunting accessories “Magin” were performed.
On this day, for young people, as in previous years, hunting all-round competitions “Bultamni” are organized, including traditional Evenki sports: throwing a maut, shooting from a rifle, boiling a hunting kettle, running. For those who wished, an opportunity was given to compete in accuracy and strength. All the winners by type were awarded special prizes from the organizers, nominations were announced. It is symbolic that among the gifts were exclusive works – amulets, skillfully executed by the master Ezhana Atlasova .
It is worth emphasizing that at the current Sinilgen, a half-forgotten rite of the ancestors of bringing the bride to the groom’s delight, meeting new relatives, which surprised us all with brightness and originality, was demonstrated. The decoration and pride of the holiday were performances and participation in ritual ceremonies by members of the folklore ensembles “Oronchikan”, “Girkilen”.
Explosion at a motor plant in Stolbtsy: it turned out that the workers threw snow into a huge stove
February 3, 2021 14:51
A criminal case has been initiated under the article “Especially malicious hooliganism”
Explosion at a motor plant e in Stolbtsy: it turned out that the workers threw snow into the blast furnace. Video frame TUT.BY.
Everything happened back on January 28 in Stolbtsy in the branch of the Minsk Motor Plant. There was an explosion in one of the shops. It is reported that no one was hurt.
– A criminal case has been opened under the article “Especially malicious hooliganism” for unauthorized throwing of snow into an induction furnace, which caused an explosion in the workshop, – the local edition “Pramen” quotes the official representative of the Investigative Committee for the Minsk region Elena Krupenina. – On suspicion of committing a crime, three residents of Stolbtsy, men aged 38, 35 and 26, were detained. An investigation team was at the scene.
You can get up to 10 years in prison under this article.
The TUT.BY portal has received a video, presumably of this incident. It can be seen how the furnace explodes, a huge sheaf of sparks is scattered from it.
A man from Dzerzhinsk was given a year and a half of “home chemistry” for cynical inscriptions and a drawing on a concrete fence. The damage was estimated at 108 thousand 043 rubles
Lukashenka: “Let the fugitives be elected in Poland and Lithuania.” Lukashenka held a meeting on the preparation and holding of the All-Belarusian National Assembly
For an action against the non-registration of Babariko and Tsepkala, a 23-year-old guy was sentenced to three years in prison. Anton Volovik was found guilty under Articles 342 and 364 of the Criminal Code
Fines and a day: there were trials of pensioners from Malinovka. Women were detained on January 29 on Rafieva Street
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