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How to Use a Snowblower

A high-quality snow blower is a vital tool for clearing snow during the winter months. How to Use a Snowblower for clearing snow from driveways, paths, and sidewalks. The electric-powered, battery-powered, or gas-powered snow blowing machine removes the hard, backbreaking work from shoveling deep or heavy snow from your property. In most cases, operating a snowblower is no more challenging than using a lawnmower.

Sometimes called a snow thrower, the snow-clearing machine can shift most types of snow—powdery snow, wet snow, and dry snow. A basic machine such as a single-stage snow blower can easily clean a couple of inches of snow up to 10 inches of deep snow.

how to use a snowblower

However, just like any tool, it’s vital to use a snowblower properly to ensure that deep snow removal is straightforward. Proper use of a snow blower also helps prolong the life of the garden power tool.

This article is a complete guide on how to use a snowblower.  You will also find helpful tips on the best way to use snow blowers to remove excess snow from your front or backyard, driveway, path, or sidewalk.

How a Snowblower Works

A snowblower clears snow by sending it up a discharge chute up to 35 feet away. However, the term snow blower is a misnomer because it throws snow using auger paddles rather than blowing it. The auger paddles turn rapidly, creating a force to project the snow to land several feet from the user.

There are two main types of snowblowers:

  • Single-stage snow throwers—This type of snow clearer has a paddle mechanism in an auger housing. The auger turns in a spiral way and sends the snow through the discharge chute. This means that a single-stage snowblower is best for paved surfaces and unsuitable for clearing a gravel driveway.
  • Two-stage snow blowers—These machines use the auger and an impeller and are suitable for deep snow removal and clearing snow from gravel surfaces or grass.

You May be Interested in Reading: How To Choose Between 2 Stage vs. 3 Stage Snow Blower

10 Tips for How to Use a Snowblower

If you have purchased a snowblower, it’s vital to know how to use it properly. It can seem that using a blower to clear a blanket of snow is straightforward. However, the best blower safety practices involve operating the machine correctly and wearing the proper safety gear.

To get the best out of your new snowblower, here are some handy tips on using it.

1. Don’t Wait too Long before Clearing Snow

The most crucial tip when using a snowblower is not to wait too long. If heavy snowfall is expected, it’s best to start cleaning when there’s a light cover of snow on the ground. If you wait until there is 6” of snow, the machine won’t clear as much snow, will easily clog, and will have difficulty throwing it far.

2. Prep the Snowblower

Before winter, it’s a good idea to ensure the blower is ready for action. First, remove any fuel in the tank from the previous year. Then, fill the tank with fresh fuel and add a fuel stabilizer. At the same time, it’s vital to check the tires and inspect drive belts, skid shoes, and auger blades. This way, you minimize the risk of the blower breaking down while clearing the driveway.

3. Prepare the Area to Clear

To avoid damaging the snow thrower, inspect your property for fallen branches, frozen newspapers, rocks, or extension cords. Another handy tip is to mark out areas to clear with clearly visible stakes or driveway markers.

4. Plan where to Throw the Snow

Before tackling a buildup of snow, plan on where you want to throw the snow. Do you want a pile on one side or both sides of the driveway? The best place is to blow snow as far from your drive as possible without getting into your neighbor’s yard.

5. Throw with the Wind

You can use the wind to your advantage when using a snowblower. For example, the wind can blow snow further from the sidewalk or driveway. To determine the wind’s direction, throw some light snow in the air.

6. Remember that Safety is First

As with using any outdoor power equipment, safety is a priority. Working in wintery, icy, or freezing conditions creates many hazards. However, when pushing a gas-powered snow blower, the risks increase. Here are some safety tips while clearing snow:

battery snow blower
  • Use safety glasses
  • Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Don’t leave the snowblower running unattended
  • Never point the chute diverter toward vehicles or buildings
  • Always start the snowblower in a well-ventilated area
  • Always use a clean-out tool to clean the blades

7. Clear Smaller areas to Avoid Clogging the Machine

When clearing wet snow, it’s best to clear smaller areas of snow. Trying to shift several inches of wet snow will cause extra wear on the machine, and it will clog easier. As a rule, only use about one-third of the machine’s width to collect deep, wet snow rather than creating a wider swath.

8. Work Slowly and Steadily

Try to avoid the temptation to get the job finished too quickly. A slower forward motion and steady operation is the best way to prevent overloading the snow thrower and clogging the blades.

9. Allow the Thrower to Cool off before Gassing up

A good safety tip is to let the snowblower cool down before filling the fuel tank. Even a tiny bit of fuel spillage on a hot engine could result in fire or severe burns. Safety instructions from most manufacturers advise waiting for ten minutes before refilling the tank.

10. Practice Good Maintenance Techniques

Maintaining your snowblower is the best way to extend its life expectancy. During winter, it’s recommended always to wipe down the auger housing and scraper blade to prevent rust. Also, make sure that drive belts aren’t damaged and always use a fuel stabilizer to avoid clogging the injectors.

Top snowblower tip: Using silicone spray in the auger housing and snowblower chute prevents clogging and makes snow clearing easier.

Snow Blowing Your Driveway

What are the best practices to clear snow from a driveway?

If you want to create snow piles on one side of your drive, start at the opposite edge. Then, work in straight lines up and down your driveway. At each turn, turn the show blower chute direction toward the side where you create the piles.

If you want to create piles on either side, start by creating a single swath down the middle. Then keep taking turns to reach the perimeter where you create the snow mounds. At each turn, you may have to adjust the angle of the chute divert to avoid throwing the snow too far.

When to Use a Snow Blower

The best time to use a snowblower is when there is a thin layer of snow—one to two inches—on the ground. Don’t wait until it’s finished snowing, as this could make clearing snow more difficult. Most residential snow blowers clear up to 10” of snow. But if the snow is compacted or has a layer of ice on the top, your machine may not work efficiently.

operate a snow blower

Can a Snow Blower Clear a Gravel Driveway?

You can use a snowblower to clear a gravel driveway. However, you will need a two-stage snow blower or a three-stage snow blower to avoid firing stones into the air. Two-stage blowers have adjustable augers. This means you can prevent the blades from touching the ground and still clear your driveway efficiently.