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There’s an element of fun to taking out the snow blower, but only if you’re careful and look for hazards ahead of time. In this post, Snow Blower Source takes a look at some of the pitfalls you can very easily avoid.


Icy Surfaces

When there’s a quick and wildly varying change in temperature, ice tends to develop. This usually happens when a layer of snow gets partially melted by the sun, then refrozen when the sun disappears/the temperature drops. The change in state for snow turns the usually powdery stuff into crystals — and creates a potentially dangerous surface.

Sometimes you can see the ice, but other times, like if it’s snowed a fresh layer over top, you can’t. Either way, exercise precautions as though there’s always ice underfoot. In terms of keeping yourself safe, wear footwear with good traction on the bottom, like removable winter cleats or boots with no-slip tread.

In terms of your snow blower, avoid slopes and icy patches. It’s a machine that’s capable of getting away from you very quickly, and you want to be in control of it at all times. If you really need to clear snow but don’t want to risk the ice, salt or sand the area first before going over it with a snow blower.

long johns

Cold Weather and Hypothermia

The answer to helping prevent this is simple: layers, layers, layers. If you’re shoveling snow, the sheer exertion of it means you can possibly get away with a little bit less, as you’ll be working up a sweat and your body’s increased activity and blood flow can perhaps compensate for the cold temperatures.

But if you’re using a snow blower — something that doesn’t require nearly as much exertion — then dress in layers like this:

  • Base: Put on a pair of long johns and a moisture-wicking long-sleeved shirt. Pick fabrics like silk or wool because something like cotton will hold water and keep it close to your skin, making you cold.
  • Mid: Toss on an insulating layer made of something like fleece or down. This’ll trap the air in between the base and mid layers, while still being breathable.
  • Outer: This is the layer you’ll be wearing to protect yourself from the elements, namely wind and moisture. Pick something that’s water-resistant or water-proof, like a durable water repellant (DWR) outer shell. GoreTex is one of the most popular brands for this.
  • pebbles snow

    Debris on Surfaces

    Although snow blowers vary a little bit in how their internal parts are organized, they pretty much all essentially follow the same mechanisms: the insides suck up snow from the ground, “crunch” it up inside, and then blow it off to the side. However, snow blowers don’t discriminate against what they pick up, especially single stagers.

    This means that, along with scooping up snow, they can also pick up pebbles, sticks and toys — and blow them up and out in little pieces. And if you’re in the path of that, well, you’re just in the path of that. Take preventative action by doing a quick walk through before starting up your snow blower, and picking up any loose debris that could get in the way.

    snow blower blade

    Snow Blower Problems or Breakdowns

    The tip mentioned in the above point about taking preventative action also applies here, albeit in a slightly different way. Keep on top of snow blower maintenance (and in the coming weeks, we’ll have some solid tips you can use to keep your snow blower in top shape) on a regular basis. And although we know not everyone will do this, checking out your machine before starting it up each time is a really smart idea.

    But if you’re using it and something goes wrong, here’s a basic checklist to follow:

  • 1. Turn the snow blower off and disengage the clutch (if there is one). If you’re using an electric model, unplug it from its power source. Whichever type you’re using, making sure it’s totally and completely off.
  • 2. Wait a good 30 seconds for everything to stop spinning and moving inside.
  • 3. If you want to check inside for what’s wrong, NEVER use your hands. Grab a broom handle or hockey stick and poke around. There might be something jamming the blades inside and you never want to find that’s the case the hard way, with your hands.
  • 4. Keep all the safety devices enabled and don’t take off any protective shields. They’re there for a reason, for your safety. Pull out your snow blower manual and run through the troubleshooting section.
  • 5. Take extra precaution by wearing thick mitts or gloves and not drinking until after the job is done. If anything goes wrong, you’ll want to put the odds on your side as much as possible.
  • There’s a lot that can go wrong with operating a snow blower, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just a bit of foresight and couple minutes of precautions means you can enjoy a powerful, fun machine for the entire winter season. Another smart tip is to make sure you’re using the best possible snow blower and accessories, which Snow Blower Source has in abundance. All you have to do is pick out what’s missing from your inventory and enjoy both tax-free pricing (except in MN) and free shipping.

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