Snow can create hazardous conditions on your sidewalk or driveway. Using a shovel to create a path is one option for clearing it, but going that route can take a toll on your back.
Fortunately, there is another option for snow removal that’s less taxing than using a shovel: a snow blower. Here we will offer guidance on how to use a snow blower safely and effectively. And remember to be considerate of your neighbors.
Before you get started with snow removal, there are a few things you will need to do to get ready for the task:
- Prepare the area. Conduct a property inspection to remove items that could damage your snow blower. This includes objects such as rocks, extension cords, garden hoses and holiday light cords. Be sure to keep an eye out for frozen newspapers — they’re a leading cause of snow blower damage.
- Mark a path. It can be hard to keep track of where you are when the ground is covered with snow. If you wander off the path you’re clearing, the snow blower could wind up on the grass and make contact with rocks and debris. To help prevent this, mark a path in the snow to indicate the area you intend to clear. You can use driveway markers to simplify this process.
- Replace stale gas. If you try to fuel your snow blower with gas that has been sitting in the tank for months, you’ll likely experience hard starting. Be sure to replace the old gas with fresh gas designed for winter use.
- Put on gloves and safety goggles. This step is crucial to protect yourself, as snow blower injuries are all too common.
- Make sure you’re not wearing loose clothing, such as a scarf that isn’t tucked in. Any loose clothing could get caught in the blower.
How to Use a Snow Blower
Here’s a good process to follow when you’re using your snow blower:
- Get an early start. Don’t wait until the snow stops falling to get your blower out. The heavier the accumulation gets, the more difficult the task of snow removal becomes. It’s easier to clear snow when it’s still falling and the accumulation is relatively light, even though this may require multiple passes.
- Make sure there aren’t any other people or pets nearby when you’re using the blower, as these machines can hurl rocks and debris as far as 30 feet.
- Start the snow blower and get it ready for the first run. Decide where you want the cleared snow to land, and adjust the discharge chute so it sends the snow in that direction. Know that it’s never wise to blow the snow toward homes or vehicles. Blowing it into the street could create a hazard for drivers, so avoid that as well.
- Use the drive control to initiate forward movement, and use the auger lever to start moving the snow. Make sure to keep your hands and feet away from all of the machine’s moving parts.
- To avoid clogging the machine, don’t try to clear too much snow too quickly. Instead, aim for slow, consistent passes.
- Once you’re done, wipe down the snow blower to help prevent rusting.
A snow blower can be your best friend in winter weather, and now you have the information you need to use this machine in a smart and safe way.
Check out all the small engine, lawn and garden parts and accessories available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to use a snow blower, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Pixabay
I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.