According to the Family
Handyman, there are over 6,000 snowthrower-related injuries each year. Don’t
be that guy – we’re here to pass along a few tips on safely and effectively
operating your machine before the next big storm hits.
Don’t wait for the snow to pile up over 6” to start clearing. It’s best to start early and get it clear before it reaches the 6” mark; even though you may make a couple of extra trips outside, it’s easier on your machine and you’ll be able to throw snow farther and to the areas you want.
Distance is key
You don’t want to have to throw the same snow twice. Not only does it take longer, but throwing snow on top of snow and then trying to clear it makes your blower work harder. You can throw it farther the first time by doing it in smaller chunks, running your blower at high RPM but slower ground speed, and raising the chute high to blow with the wind.
3) Watch for the newspaper
Believe it or not, frozen newspapers are the leading cause of snowblower damage. With the potential to damage the auger, impeller and shear pins, hitting a hidden newspaper can be an expensive mistake. If a paper does get stuck in your blower, make sure the machine is turned off and remove it with a broom stick instead of your hands. Trying to unclog your snowblower by hand is reported as the leading cause of snowblower-related injuries.
4) Smaller swath = less clogs
Rather than trying to mow through a full chute of snow, take it on in smaller chunks. Trying to do too much snow at once can clog your machine and wear out your drive belts.
5) Use fresh
Stale gas leads to hard starting so if it’s your first time out, empty the old gas and replace with a fresh mixture of gas and a fuel stabilizer.
Speaking of gassing up your snowblower, if you run out of gas in the middle of a job be sure to let the engine cool down before adding new gas in. On most snowblowers, the gas tank is close to the hot engine. Spilling gas on a super-hot engine can flare up and burn you or your snowblower.
Visit The Family Handyman for even more detailed snowblower maintenance tips.