It might seem premature to be talking about snow when we’re only just getting into fall, however winter will be here before you know it! Depending on where you live, it may well bring heavy snowfall with it, so it’s important to be prepared for this in advance. For example, that means stocking up on warm clothing, checking that your home’s heating system is all in good working order, and thinking about getting winter tires or snow chains for your vehicle.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of clearing your driveway of snow so that you can actually get your car out and drive. Many people stick to the classic method of shoveling; however, if you’re looking for something that’s a bit easier on your back, then it might be worth considering investing in a snow blower. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a snow blower?
A snow blower is a machine that can be used to clear snow from driveways, sidewalks, and other similar locations. They use an auger to scoop up the snow and then throw it out of the way through a discharge chute. There are many different types available, from single-stage snow blowers that are designed for smaller amounts of snow, through 2 stage snow blowers which have an impeller to cut up the snow, and 3 stage heavy-duty snow blowers for removing large amounts of compacted snow.
How do I use a snow blower?
To operate a snow blower, you simply walk behind it and push it along – similar to how you use a lawnmower when cutting the grass in your yard. This means that it puts far less stress on your back in comparison to shoveling. So while it might be a larger investment upfront, the potential benefits for your physical and mental health can be well worth it.
One issue to bear in mind when using your snow blower is where you want the snow to end up. Check which direction the discharge chute is pointing in, and be careful not to throw the snow onto cars, homes, people, or areas you’ve just cleared. Make sure that you read the instructions carefully before starting, remove any debris from the area you’re going to clear, and wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. You should avoid wearing loose clothing that could get trapped in the machinery and never put your hands inside a snow blower. If it gets clogged with snow, use the appropriate tools to clear it instead. Keep both hands on the handle, and take care when moving because the surface beneath you could still be slippery.
Alternatives to snow blowers
Of course, snow blowers are not the only alternative method to shoveling snow out there. For instance, heated mats can be very helpful in places where snow blowers can’t reach – such as steps or narrow walkways. These melt the snow from beneath, leaving a safe path for you to walk on. If the snow is light, a leaf blower might do the trick. Finally, you could even splash out on having a heated driveway installed!