Snowblowers are easily the best available tool in the fight against large snow accumulations and the punishing cold weather that can accompany such storms. Snowblowers, though, should be treated like any other weapon in a big fight: With caution, good safety practices, and due deference. There’s no need to risk life and limb when using a snowblower to clear walkways and driveways, and it’s imperative that owners of Toro snowblowers and other brands follow few basic safety guidelines when operating their equipment.
1. Always Read the Operator Manual
There’s an unspoken rule among many homeowners regarding their power equipment: Only read the instruction manual in the event that something doesn’t work right, doesn’t work at all, or seems a bit dangerous. This rule is just not a safe policy, and it should be ignored. Instead, every owner of a Toro snowblower should familiarize himself or herself with the instruction manual that is paired with the equipment at the time of purchase.
The owner manual will clarify things like the type of oil and gas required by the snowblower, the best time to refuel or change fluids, and the key ways to start and operate the equipment without turning the operation into a safety hazard. These things are unique on a per-snowblower basis, making it even more important to read the specific manual bundled with the snowblower.
2. Never Change Fluids When the Engine is On or Hot
Always check the fuel level of the snowblower before putting it into operation. If this step is skipped, it’s likely that the machine will run out of gas and require refueling in the middle of a snow-clearing job. Doing so would require placing highly flammable gasoline near the engine when it is hot and primed to ignite that gasoline, posing a major safety threat to the operator.
Never refuel a snowblower that has a hot engine, and don’t ever refuel the equipment while it’s running. Refueling should always be done outdoors, rather than in enclosed spaces like a garage or storage shed, in order to provide proper ventilation and safe environs.
3. Stay Behind the Snowblower During Operation
Toro snowblowers are powerful machines that take in snow and spit it out at a high rate of speed. The snowblower, of course, doesn’t know whether it’s taking in snow, ice, or far more valuable things like human anatomy. For this reason, operators should always operate the snowblower from behind, and they should always stay behind the model while it’s operating. If a clog or other malfunction does occur, turn off the snowblower before checking on the problem and moving to the front of the equipment.
4. Take Precautions Before Conducting Maintenance
In the event that a snowblower does experience mechanical problem, or a clog, or requires fluid levels to be checked, operators should ensure their safety before beginning any maintenance work. First and foremost, be sure to give the engine ample time to cool down, as the engine does run hot enough during operation to severely burn hands and arms during maintenance procedures.
When conducting maintenance on mechanical parts or fluids, always ensure that the snowblower cannot start up or spark unexpectedly. This means removing the key from the ignition and, in the case of gasoline-powered snowblowers, removing the spark plug wire that allows the machine to spark the fuel and turn on.
5. Be Mindful of Electric Currents
Those homeowners who have an all-electric Toro snowblower need to take an extra precaution that many other operators do not. Because electric snowblowers require power to be obtained from a traditional wall outlet, they often require a very long cord in order to reach the furthest areas of the lawn, sidewalks, or driveway. This cord will be directly exposed to the elements, including moisture, and could spark a fire or electrocute the operator if it is not intended to be used outdoors.
When purchasing a cord for an all-electric snowblower, be sure that it is specifically designed to be used in outdoor environments, specifically with power equipment that is exposed to moisture. Cords of this nature are built with special materials that insulate the wires, guard against moisture, and ensure the safety of the operator.
Common Sense is the Key to a Successful Winter
Snowblowers are probably one of the easiest pieces of power equipment to use, and they’re also one of the most convenient things to own during the coldest months of the year. Despite their simple and convenient nature, however, they can be rather dangerous if those who own them do not follow proper safety instructions and procedures.
Before setting out to clear a sidewalk, driveway, or other area outside the home, be sure to review the snowblower’s instruction manual and follow excellent safety practices. With a clear mind and a little common sense, snowblowers can take the edge off of a major storm without taking the life out of the person charged with cleaning up the mess.
Where to Buy Snowblowers and Replacement Parts
Ralph Helm is a great resource for both new snowblowers and replacement parts for those that have already found their way into consumers’ homes. A wide selection of Toro snowblowers can be found, and it’s easy to use the parts lookup tool to find new blades, belts, spark plugs, and a wide variety of other replacement parts.
With Ralph Helm’s commitment to excellent customer service, affordable prices, and quick delivery of snowblowers and parts, it’s easy and quick to get a snowblower ready for the upcoming winter months.