Snowblowers are designed to make it quite a bit easier to clean up after a major storm, but those homeowners who are new to the equipment might still face their fair share of challenges at first. In order to enjoy the safest, easiest, and most effective cleanup after a winter storm, those who are new to snowblowers in general should keep a few key guidelines in mind and make sure they’re getting the job done in the most efficient and logical way possible.
Remember that Safety Always Comes First After a Storm
The most important thing to keep in mind about using a snowblower is that the equipment packs a serious amount of power and a plethora of moving parts. If used improperly, this combination of power and moving parts can result in serious operator injury. Before getting started with snow cleanup, consider the following safety guidelines:
– Always start the equipment outdoors or in an open, ventilated area. Place the equipment on a flat and level surface to ensure easy engine ignition and a minimized risk of fuel spills.
– Wear protective gloves and eyewear at all time in order to avoid the kind of injury that can result from airborne debris or extremely cold temperatures.
– Never clean a snow or ice clog while the equipment is running. Turn the equipment off first, and wait for all moving parts to stop. Only then should a clog be cleared, and it should only be removed using the snowblower’s included snow clearing bar. Putting hands in harm’s way could result in serious injury.
– Establish a safe perimeter around snow clearing, or simply make sure that all pets, neighbors, and family members are indoors before the job gets started. This will reduce the risk of “collateral damage” caused by potential debris and other projectiles.
Tips and Tricks: How to Make the Most of a Snowblower
In addition to following stringent safety guidelines during regular operation of the equipment, snowblower owners should keep a few considerations in mind when planning their route, piling cleared snow along the path, and making sure that everything gets done both quickly and safely after the storm.
1. Always Clear Snow with the Wind, Rather Than Against It
On particularly cold days, snow has a tendency to blow and drift with even the lightest gust of wind. This will make use of the snowblower challenging no matter what, but things can be made just a touch easier if equipment owners clear with the direction of the wind. In essence, the wind will act as a help rather than a hindrance. Clearing against the wind, on the other hand, would see snow blowing right back to the cleared path.
2. Plan the Proper Space for Piling Cleared Snow
Because snowblowers clear snow to one side of the equipment, precipitation cleared from driveways and sidewalks will add up quickly. If operators aren’t careful about where they plan to put all of this snow ahead of time, they’ll quickly find themselves blocked in at their own home and unable to maintain safe visibility when using their vehicles the storm has subsided.
Remember that snow clearing should create a path, not block cars in. Furthermore, any snow pile should allow for visibility of the street and safe access to and from the street by vehicles and pedestrians. A snow clearing path should never put pedestrians at risk by piling snow too high along public sidewalks. With a smart plan put in place ahead of time, the driveway can be cleared, walkways expanded, and visibility maintained for all.
3. Always Check for Obstructions Around the Home Beforehand
The best way to prevent a snowblower clog in advance is to simply spend a small bit of time checking the clearing path for any rocks, toys, or other debris that might cause serious problems in the intake chute. Removing debris ahead of time will allow for quicker, easier, and more efficient operation over all.
Another key way to clear snow and stay clear of clogs is to make sure the equipment moves forward at a slow rate of speed. Quick clearing of snow, especially denser snow, can create compacted ice that causes serious problems with the auger. In particularly deep accumulations, it’s often a good idea to go back and forth over the same area several times in order to keep the equipment free of clogs.
For Troubleshooting, Parts, and Service, Visit RalphHelmInc.com
Ralph Helm, Inc. has been helping customers with their snowblowers for years, offering the right combination of troubleshooting, technical assistance, expert service, and OEM replacement parts for several models. When in doubt, be sure to get in touch with the company in order to clear snow efficiently and effectively, with minimal wear and tear on the snowblower’s engine or moving parts.