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Because of how white snow is (it’s actually clear, but that’s a story for a different day), sunlight hardly gets absorbed on it and bounces right back into the air. And if your eyes are pointed anywhere near there, you’re getting nearly the full brunt of the sun back in your eyes. Do that enough times, and you’ll irreparably damage your eyes from UV radiation. Here’s how to keep them safe from the snow when using your Toro or Ariens snow blower those last couple of times this season.
Invest in Good Eyewear
Heading down to your local drugstore and buying a $5 pair of sunglasses—no matter how cool and hipster-looking they are—just won’t do the job at all. At the very least, you’ll need a pair of sunglasses that read 100% UV A/B protection (polarized is even better), and it will cost you a little bit. But look at it this way: you can invest $50 or $100 on a pair of sunglasses once, or potentially spend tens of thousands down the road on eye surgery. Suddenly, that $50 looks like a pretty good deal, no?
A few of the conditions that repeated eye exposure to UV radiation can lead to include:
When looking for sunglasses, try to get ones where they cover as much of your eye as possible. It may be cool to wear granny glasses just like John Lennon did, but they hardly offer any coverage and you’d be much better off adopting a Katharine Hepburn look.
Dab on a Layer of Sunscreen
When there’s snow on the ground, it may seem silly to open up a bottle of sunscreen and apply some. But as we see right in the very beginning, snow is precisely when you should be most adamant about putting sunscreen on. There’s very little to block the sun’s rays from you with the high reflectivity of the snow, so smear on a layer and protect your face. And just as with sunglasses, look for sunscreen that offers both UV A and B protection, as well as a high SPF number (and don’t forget your lips!)
It may be tempting to clear the driveway in thin pants and a t-shirt when the weather gets warmer, but skip that for another time and put on layers. This tip isn’t so much to keep you warm as it is to protect you from the sun, as the more clothing that covers you, the better your chance of being protected from a sunburn.
Because the weather is still a little chilly, it doesn’t really matter if you wear light or dark clothing. The aim is only to create a barrier between your skin and the sun, not to keep cool in extremely hot weather. Just don’t forget to cover up your ears and neck to avoid getting them sun- and wind-burned.
It really doesn’t take much to protect yourself from the sun when using your Toro or Ariens snow blower. But if you live in an area where the snow is still falling with enthusiasm, make sure you look at Snow Blower Source’s selection of Toro and Ariens snow blowers so you can clear your property quickly and efficiently—and covered up from the sun.
Now that spring’s officially here and the snow is on its way out, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to keep your snow blower safe in storage over the summer. A Snow Blower Source snow blower isn’t a big machine like a car or truck, but its mechanical parts inside need to be taken care of all the same.
Look at the Manual First
No matter what tips you read here, they’ll be general ones that mostly apply to all snow blowers. However, there’s usually the case where a homeowner has a snow blower that deviates from the norm somehow, and the owner’s manual is the first place to turn when it comes to safe storage. But other than advising you on your own snow blower, an owner’s manual can also go into a lot more detail than an article can, so always consult with that first.
Check if Any Parts Need Replacing
This winter has been an especially harsh one, especially for people in New England the Eastern United States. As such, your snow blower likely got a harder workout than normal this year, so take a bit of time to go over the machine and check if any parts are loose, broken, bent, scraped, worn, frayed, or just in general need of repair or replacement. While all parts are important, pay close attention to the scrape plate and skid shoes, as they’re the most important for actually clearing snow.
Take Care of the Fuel and Tank
You need to drain the fuel first, so turn on your snow blower (outside!!) and run it until the engine’s empty. Alternatively, if you don’t want to run the engine dry, you can just add fuel stabilizer and let your snow blower run for five to 10 minutes to clean the lines. The benefits of running it dry are you get to clean it completely from scratch, while adding stabilizer and running it for a shorter time is a better option if you’re in a time crunch.
Give it an Oil Change
Just like a car needs oil every so many months or miles, your snow blower does, too. A regular supply of fresh oil helps keep all the parts inside lubricated with minimal buildup of gunk, ensuring your snow blower runs smoothly as long as possible. Essentially, all you have to do is loosen the drain plug and collect the oil in a pan—which you should always recycle instead of just throwing away—and then tighten the plug and pour in new oil.
Inspect the Spark Plug
The spark plug is the one bit of the snow blower responsible for ensuring an arc occurs and the machine can power to life. It doesn’t have to be replaced every season or every year, but you should be looking at it that frequently. If you’re at all unsure about what a good or bad spark plug looks like, just buy a new one and put it in; they’re not very expensive. Some snow blower owners also like to remove the spark plug over winter so it doesn’t get contaminated with grime, but it’s not a mandatory step. If you do decide to remove it, though, store it in a clean and dry place for maximum upkeep.
The warmer weather is slowly starting to poke its head out from around the trees and bushes, and that means it’s time to look at storing your snow blower over the winter. If you don’t have a snow blower from Snow Blower Source, though, now’s a great time to get so you’re ready when the next winter hits. And remember, you always get free shipping to the lower 48 states.
Being outside in the frigidly cold weather is almost never fun, especially now that the Polar Vortex has made a return visit. But because snow falls when it wants and doesn’t always differentiate between comfortably and uncomfortably cold weather, using your Toro or Ariens snow blower to clear off the drive may have potentially serious consequences.
Cold Weather Effects
Humans are not constitutionally composed for very cold weather, but we’ve managed to adapt. And while we may be aware of the effects that cold weather has on the human body are nothing new, ignoring them is never a good idea. Here’s what happens when the temperature drops, and how the body tries to defend itself:
Next time you take out your Toro or Ariens snow blower during really cold weather, evaluate how important it is to clear every inch of your driveway in terms of the potential impact it can have on your health and maybe choose to only clear the sidewalk until it warms up a bit. But when the mercury does finally rise, make sure you’ve got one of Snow Blower Source’s Toro or Ariens snow blowers, and enjoy free shipping to the lower 48 states.
Just like buying a Ferrari for the racetrack and a Honda Civic for daily life, choosing a Toro or Ariens snow blower based on snow fall and climate is just as important.
1. Consistency of Snow
Snow can come in many forms: powdery, light, wet, clumpy, icy, granular, slushy, pellet, or crust. Just imagine if you’ve ever been skiing, built a snowman, or tried to throw snowballs. Some forms of snow make it easier to glide over than others (just ask the skiers at the Olympics), some types are great for packing together, and others can get blown away at the slightest wind.
The consistency of snow has a big impact over what type of snow blower will be best for it. For example, a snow shovel is perfect for light snow, and would fail epically at blizzards. Knowing as much as you can about the consistency of snow over a season or several seasons will help you to make the best choice possible.
2. Height of Snow
Do you live in an area that only gets snow as a freak event, such as in parts of Nevada? Or do you live somewhere where it seems to snow for more months of the year than not? Although areas like Reno-Tahoe—known for snow and snow sports—have been getting less snow in recent years, they’re still more thought of as “snow hotspots” than places like the Pacific Northwest.
How much snow falls in a season or over the course of several seasons is one of the most important things to look for when buying a snow blower, for different machines are built to power through different amounts of snow. A two-stage snow blower, for example, is far better able to handle a two-foot snowstorm than an electric single stage, so factor in snow height when buying a snow blower.
3. Amount of Space
How long is your driveway and walkway? If it’s a small, curved driveway, that’s far less space to deal with than a three car wide drive that’s 40 feet long, and affects the type of snow blower to buy. This is where snow type and height isn’t necessarily as important as gas or electric.
The benefits of an electric snow blower are it’s easy to run (just plug in and go), there’s no worry about running out of gas mid-job or changing the oil, and they’re really quiet and light. However, their range is limited to as far as the cord can stretch—with the risk of running over the cord—and a gas snow blower can happily run for hours without needing to look at it. Gas snow blowers might be more difficult to start for people with strength concerns, but they also provide more power and clearing ability.
Now that you know exactly how to find the right snow blower, it’s time to take a look at Snow Blower Source’s inventory for a selection of the best Toro and Ariens snow blowers around. Each snow blower is shipped free of charge, so find yours today.
A snow blower isn’t the type of purchase where you open your wallet and pick out the shiniest product. Instead, it’s something that will be with you through thick and thin for a good number of years, and it’s important to read this checklist before you buy one.
1. What’s the Average Snowfall Like in My Area?
Living in a place like Kentucky or Nevada where it really doesn’t snow too much doesn’t make too much sense in getting a snow blower. Snow isn’t a regular or heavy occurrence, and something like an electric snow shovel may be more than enough to have on standby.
But if you live somewhere like New England or the Great Lakes region where snowfall is a regular part of winter, then a snow blower may be a wiser investment. Look at how often it snows, and what the snow’s consistency is. Does it start in November and last until April, or is it a mostly December/January event? How high does the snow fall, and is it thick and wet, or light and dusty?
2. What’s My Physical Condition Like?
Folks with joint or muscle stiffness, heart or lung conditions, or stamina problems probably shouldn’t be shoveling their driveways for two hours at a time, especially if the snow is heavy and wet. If you fall into this category, ask yourself what’s more important: risking your health and wellness for the sake of performing a physical task, or prolonging quality of life by investing in a machine that makes the job 10 times easier?
3. How Much Am I Willing to Spend?
A snow blower isn’t usually an inexpensive investment, and nor should it be. It’s a piece of machinery assembled with moving parts, and those moving parts need to be aligned pretty perfectly to ensure safe and efficient performance. If you find a two-stage snow blower on Craigslist, chances are it’s either not going to last very long, or give you fits and hiccups the entire time you own it. Set a budget for yourself by researching how much name-brand, high-quality snow blowers cost, and be prepared to spend what’s necessary.
4. Am I Prepared to Maintain It Regularly?
The initial outlay of a snow blower isn’t the last one, just like a car. You’ll have to buy gas and oil to keep it lubricated and powered, invest in replacement parts when the insides get worn down, or even set aside a small fund to have a mechanic take a look at it if you’re not comfortable going under the hood yourself. Although maintaining a snow blower is far easier and less expensive than something like a car or motorcycle, it still needs to be looked at regularly.
Buying a snow blower isn’t a light decision, but Snow Blower Source is here to help. We’ve got a great lineup of snow blowers suited to all climates, needs and budgets, and each one comes with free shipping. Find your Toro or Ariens snow blower today and never look at snow the same way again.
Maybe you’ve decided to hold off on buying a Toro or Ariens snow blower because you think this winter is an anomaly, or maybe you’re a little wary of how to use a potentially life-threatening machine. Whatever the case is, here’s the safest, best way to use a snow blower and clear your drive.
Prep the Area
A snow blower’s auger are the curved, rotating parts you see inside, and they grab the snow, break it up, and send it to the chute to be thrown away.
They can also tear off whole hands.
When checking your snow blower to make sure everything’s in good working order, never stick a hand in there, even if the snow blower is turned off and unplugged. There could be something jamming the auger that, when prodded free, causes the augers to spin—regardless of what’s in its way.
Along with this safety tip, make sure there are no doormats, sleds, branches, newspapers or other debris blocking the area you’re going to clear. If there are, you risk either ruining the machine or—like a lawnmower—having the machine spit up the object at you.
Ready, Set, Go
A snow blower consists of moving parts, and needs oil to make sure they don’t dry up and chafe. Always check your oil levels before you start: it may seem redundant if you’ve just filled it up, but you’re also checking for leaks or holes—signs your snow blower needs repairs.
If you’re using a gas snow blower, also check to see that fuel levels are where they need to be. But if you’re using an electric, check the cord to see if it’s worn or frayed.
Just as how you know not to stick anything but a broom pole or stick into the snow blower, don’t wear winter clothing that’s loose, dangly or drapey. You risk getting the ends pulled into the machine, and possibly you along with them.
First, check out which way the wind is blowing and then position the snow blower’s chute to go with the wind, not against it. It just makes the whole job easier. Next, cut a swath down the middle of your drive so you won’t be blowing snow onto an area that’s already been cleared. Make sure to always eyeball where you want your snow to go—front lawn is good, huge stack under a window isn’t as good (it can cause leaking and water damage.)
You’ll also need a pattern of clearing, with two possible ways of doing it. With wind, start upwind on the drive-lawn border and go up-down-up-down until it’s done. But with no wind, start in the middle and travel in concentric circles outward until you reach the drive-lawn borders on both sides. One thing to keep in mind, though, is how far the chute can throw the snow. If your driveway is really wide, then starting on one side may not be the best strategy. The goal is to clear the snow once.
For more news and tips on how to use snow blowers, check back here often. But if it’s just a Toro or Ariens snow blower you’re after, browse our selection of high-quality snow blowers and enjoy free shipping on every one.
With the polar vortex refusing to stay in its own backyard, snow blower owners are facing a new set of problems: snow blowers that take one look at the cold weather and decide it’s too frosty to go to work. Here are some troubleshooting tips to coax your snow blower to start.
Fuel Shutoff Valve
Sometimes, the most frustrating problems are the ones with easy solutions staring you right in the face. In this case, a non-starting snow blower could be as simple as making sure the fuel shutoff valve is in the “ON” position. Another place to check is the throttle; it should be positioned to three-quarter speed or higher. If either has happened to you, don’t worry. Nobody saw.
Just like you’d be grumpy if you had to go to work in the frigid cold on an empty stomach, so, too, is your snow blower. Make sure the tank never gets too empty, topping it up just a little bit each time you use it.
If you’ve stored it and are taking it out for the first time this winter, one problem may be the volatility of the fuel. Adding fuel stabilizer to the gas before storing it is the easiest way to combat “lazy” volatility. But if it’s a hindsight problem, simply drain the system through the carburetor and then add new fuel and stabilizer.
And remember to always check the oil.
Remove the spark plug and look for one of two things: the right gap size, and an absence of fuel (the spark plug should be dry.) If it’s the latter, turn the engine over a few times to get rid of fuel in the spark plug hole, clean off the spark plug and put it back in (a new one may be required.)
As for how to check for a correct gap and adjust an incorrect one, this video offers a step-by-step tutorial.
Manual or electric starters can be a little finicky, which is why having an optional electric starter is a pretty good idea: there’s always a backup plan in case one starter doesn’t work. If that’s not the case, applying safe heat is a quick solution, but the problem will likely flare up again once the temperature drops.
Snow blowers with manual starters have a metal “dog” (or metal tab) that’s susceptible to freezing, so remove the starter to find the “dog.” The pulley doesn’t have to be removed, just the center screw so lube can reach the pivot area. Just make sure not to use grease because it’ll gum up in cold weather.
Sometimes, the starter gear can get frozen to the shaft, resulting in a spinning sound with no engine turnover. To combat this, first thaw with safe heat, and then put a light coating of lube on the gear shaft. Some snow blowers don’t require you to remove the starter, as you only need a spray lube with a nozzle extension on the shaft, but others do.
If you’ve been hit with another round of the polar vortex, make sure you’ve got a Toro or Ariens snow blower that can handle anything Mother Nature hands out. Take a look at our selection of the best snow blowers on the market, and enjoy free shipping on any one you choose.
A snow blower is a powerful machine, able to grab heavy snow and ice, grind it up, and throw it dozens of feet in the air. But when people are careful with their machines, accidents can happen.
The longtime Colorado Avalanche hockey player got tangled up with a snow blower- literally. Snow was packed in tight inside the machine and though he had turned it off, he still reached inside the auger. Sakic ended up with three broken fingers and severe tendon damage to one of them, and was scheduled to miss about three months devoted to healing and rehabbing.
In 2010, this then 15-year-old pitcher– usually tasked with clearing the snow outside- ran into problems with the snow blower. His parents had told him there was a dangerous main blade inside that could cause a lot of damage, so he kept his hands away. But where he didn’t was inside the chute, the location of a second blade that was still spinning very fast. McGill ended up shaving the tops off his index and middle fingers on his right- pitching- hand. He tried returning to baseball, but performed so poorly he’s considering the finger-less sport of track.
An unnamed woman in Grand Forks, North Dakota left her snow blower safety smarts inside when she cleared her driveway. It’s not quite clear how the accident happened (her husband was using the snow blower), but she wandered too close and got her pants caught in the auger. When paramedics arrived, they had to cut her leg free from the blades, although one foot had already been run over.
This 34-year-old carpenter of Mineola, Long Island should have been used to using safety, as he uses sharp tools in his profession. But fell one step short of complete precaution: Gianfrancesco turned off his snow blower, but used his hand to reach in and clear the clogged snow, and not a wooden or plastic handle. Because of his mistake, he almost lost the tips of two fingers. Luckily, surgeon Dr. Tommaso Addona was able to reattach them and predicted he’d have full use of his fingers in three months.
Prince Edward Island
In eastern Canada, an unnamed man was using a snow blower at work when, thinking the machine was off, he stuck his hand into a snow blower to clear it. It wasn’t, and he lost part of his hand.
There’s a pattern here: even if you’ve turned the snow blower off and unplugged it, never reach in with your hand to clear clogged snow. Using a stick instead is a much better idea, but with our selection of Toro and Ariens snow blowers, chances are the power and efficiency of these machines will do the job just fine. Enjoy free shipping to the lower 48 states.
Winter is only a few weeks old, which means it’s still not too late to invest in a snow blower. But how do you know which one is the right one? Here are several things to look out for.
Do you find yourself have to slouch or stand on your tiptoes to navigate the snow blower correctly? Or do you stand in a natural posture and find using the snow blower easy and comfortable? Where are the handle and chute adjustment located? How does it respond to turns, and how tight can you turn the snow blower? Does it snow a lot where you live? If so, a two-stage snow blower will probably be more appropriate, but the added power can make handling them a little more difficult.
When buying a snow blower, make sure that it contains a “dead man control”, a safety feature that halts the auger or impeller as soon as you let go of the handlebar grips. This immediate stop vastly increases the safety of your snow blower and goes a long way in preventing accidents when unforeseen obstacles pop up.
Another control to look for on a single stage snow blower is a long handle (joystick on two stage snow blowers) you can use to switch the height and throw direction of the discharge chute so snow goes exactly where you want it to.
If you’re buying a two-stage snow blower, also take a close look at the drive control that lets you use both the drive wheels and auger with one hand, and the chute with the other. To make sure it’s extra safe, get one with a handlebar-mounted trigger release that disengages power to one or both of the drive wheels, as your steering control will be much easier.
You can choose from a gas-powered or corded snow blower (with many models offering both, like the NAME). While you do have to exercise more caution in using a corded snow blower and you’re tied to a certain radius, plugging in a cord instead of yanking one can be a welcome respite in cold weather.
If you live in an area that doesn’t get much snow, or your property is fairly small, a single stage snow blower will usually suffice. However, single stage snow blowers only come with one speed, which does limit their power and snow-clearing abilities.
But when you look at two stage snow blowers, they usually come in five or six forward speeds, which can come in very handy when you’ve got a heavy or wet snowfall that requires more muscle.
Ignore what the salesperson is telling you about bigger engines being better, and figure out exactly what’ll work best for your property. A heavy-duty two-stage snow blower will be far more useful for someone living in the heart of Wisconsin, and an overpaid purchase for someone in Kentucky. Do your research beforehand, and go with what you need, not what looks fancy.