A clogged snowblower chute is one of the most common problems to affect most snow clearing equipment, causing issues that range from engine inefficiency to legitimate problems with clearing frozen precipitation from walkways. Clearing these obstructions is absolutely crucial when ensuring the long life of a snowblower and making sure that it performs at its peak throughout the winter season. Clogs are easy to remove in most cases, and they’re even easier to prevent when operators follow a few basic tips and guidelines. Here’s what to know to prevent clogs or remove existing ones from any snow removal equipment.
Safety First: Don’t Risk Injury When Clearing Snowblower Clogs
Performing work on any part of a snowblower can risk serious injury unless some safety guidelines are followed. Always turn off the equipment as soon as any obstructions enter the equipment in order to prevent engine damage or injury. These obstructions should be removed when the snowblower has been turned off and the ignition key has been removed, and they should only be removed when the snowblower is placed on a flat surface and made level with the ground. Wear protective eyewear at all times, and be sure to allow the engine to cool before proceeding.
A Step-By-Step Approach to Clearing Obstructions
Removing chute obstructions from the snowblower is pretty easy, but it does require a few basic steps in order to safely and effectively remove any debris that might be causing problems with the engine or auger. Here’s a look at the steps typically involved when working with today’s modern snowblower models.
Step 1: Prepare the Snowblower for Work
The snowblower can cause serious injury to operators if proper precautions aren’t undertaken at the outset. Operators should release the auger control and the drive control before proceeding, and they should make sure to both stop the engine and remove the ignition key entirely.
Step 2: Locate the Clearing Bar or a Related Tool
Most snowblowers come with a tool that can be used when the intake chute has been clogged by debris, dirt, or other items. This tool is typically attached to the equipment near the operator handles or close to the intake chute itself. Locate this tool and get it ready before proceeding.
Step 3: Use the Clearing Tool to Remove Obstructions
Most clearing tools come with one end that resembles a shovel and another end that resembles a simple stick. Start with the shovel end, since this will help clear out any snow and ice from the chute. Continue using the shovel end as needed, switching to the stick end only if larger debris needs to be pried out from the intake chute. When all of the snow, ice, and debris has been removed from the intake chute, but the clearing tool back in its standard position and make sure that it is firmly attached to the equipment.
Step 4: Give the Equipment a Brief Test Run
With the clearing tool back in place, place the ignition key back where it belongs and start the engine. Stand in the operator’s position, behind the equipment, and engage the auger control. Keep engaging the control for a few moments and monitor the performance of the snowblower. If all goes according to plan, snow intake and dispersal should function like new. It is now safe to use the equipment for standard clearing of any snow accumulation.
Prevention is Key: How to Keep Clogs From Happening in the First Place
It’s certainly easier to prevent a clog than it is to fix one after the chute has become obstructed. For those new to working with snowblowers, be sure to review the tips below when preventing obstructions and reducing the likelihood of a complicated, time-consuming clog.
1. Clear the Yard of Debris First
The best way to make sure the snowblower remains free of clogs is to simply scan the yard and remove potential problems before firing up the snowblower’s engine. Remove toys, logs, large rocks, and other items prior to operation.
2. Warm Up the Engine First
Don’t “dive right in” when clearing particularly deep snow accumulations. Instead, let the engine warm up for a few minutes prior to getting work done. Also, use the snowblower to clear shallower areas first. This will help prevent some of the most common obstructions.
3. Use Graphite on Smooth Surfaces
The intake chute and auger surfaces should be smooth in order to avoid clogging the equipment with compacted snow and ice. Furthermore, the inside of the intake chute should be coated with a graphite spray in order to reduce the likelihood of snow sticking to the inside and narrowing the chute over the course of a typical snow clearing task.
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Ralph Helm, Inc. has been helping power equipment owners maintain and repair their owned models for several decades. Whether it’s expert service on existing equipment or a great selection of OEM parts for all snowblowers and other power equipment items, RalphHelmInc.com has the tools and resources needed to locate the right parts and professionals.