How to Use a Snow Blower | Starting, Techniques, & Safety

by | Dec 25, 2023 | Snow Blower, Snow Removal

First you’ll need to start your snow blower. Typically there are push to start snow blowers and pull-start snow blowers. We’ll cover both. Then we’ll get into the techniques, tips, and tricks in using a snowblower effectively and safely.

Starting a gas pull-start snowblower

  1. Check for adequate fuel. Drain and refuel as needed.
  2. Check the snow blower oil level.
  3. Set drive controls to the off position.
  4. Pump the choke at least three times to prime the engine.
  5. Set the throttle to the highest setting.
  6. Ensure the fuel valve is on.
  7. Switch the ignition switch to the on position.
  8. Pull the starter, just like a lawn mower.
  9. Allow the snow blower to run for a few minutes.

Starting an electric snow blower

  1. Connect the power cord to an outlet.
  2. Press the start button if five second intervals until the engine remains running.
  3. Once running, disconnect it from the power source.
  4. Allow the snowblower to run for a few minutes.
  5. Switch the choke to the off or run position.

Other snowblower tips

  • Switch the fuel shutoff valve to the off position when not in use to minimize fuel loss.
  • Always use a smooth swift pulling motion to start pull-start snowblowers.
  • Store the snowblower according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Read your snow blower’s manual

This will help you operate the snow blower safely, and avoid any damage. This will also allow you to correctly operate the snow blower.

Develop a plan for the property

Operating a snow blower is similar to operating a lawn mower. You will want to make a back-and-forth pattern to clear the snow from the area.

Get to blowing on the first snowfall

Don’t wait for subsequent snowfalls to take on snow blowing.

Waiting for snow to pile up can make your snow blowing very difficult.

Snow blowing machines are generally not designed for large quantities of snow.

Plan your route accordingly, and ensure you are only taking on as much snow as your machine can handle.

Consider the following in your snow blowing route:

  • Which way to blow the snow. Avoid blowing snow towards the home or building, vehicles, or pedestrians. Avoid blowing snow into the street.
  • Pay attention to the wind direction. If at all possible, blow snow with the wind direction.
  • Stake out the property, to avoid curbs, obstructions, or landscaping. This will help you stay on track.

Snow blower inspection

Take time to inspect your snow blower machine. Different makes and models have different requirements, but generally speaking:

  • Check the tank for fuel levels. Wait for the engine to cool down prior to adding fuel.
  • Check the engine for oil levels
  • Check the tires for proper and consistent air pressure
  • Inspect the snow blower blades and skid shoes
  • Ensure the bearings are lubricated
  • Have records of the last spark plug replacement
  • Place dry lube on plastic parts (knobs, chute, and gears)
  • Spray the auger, impeller, and chute with silicone spray

Do not operate the snow blower indoors. Only operate in a free air environment, to avoid carbon monoxide hazards.

Throw the snow as far as possible

You want to avoid redoing work you’ve already done. Ensure you are blowing snow as far as you can, and avoid blowing it onto areas you’ve already cleared.

To do this run the snow blower at full RPM.

Depending on your make and model, you may be able to throw snow farther. Take this into consideration when planning your snow-blowing operation.

Don’t blow snow full width

To avoid clogging snow in the snow blower chut take smaller runs and split the difference with the next pass.

Avoid making full-width passes through deep snow.

Most snow blower manufacturers recommend taking smaller bites about 1/3 to ½ the width of the machine blade hood.

Less snow on each pass means you’ll be able to throw it farther.

Start with fresh fuel

Hard starting is often caused by stale gas. Better to dump some of that fuel into your car. Refill with winter which is designed for volatility and offers easier starting.

It’s a good idea to add stabilizer to fresh fuel. Add at the recommended dosage per the bottle label.

Safety tips for using a snow blower

  • Wear fitted clothing that has little to no chance of being sucked into the machine.
  • Wear eye protection to protect yourself against possible debris.
  • Move all debris such as rocks and newspapers prior to doing a snow blower pass.
  • Keep your hands away from the snow blower chute.
  • Never use your hands to unclog the machine.
  • Don’t refill gas in a hot unit, rather wait until the snowblower has cooled down to avoid sputtering gas.
  • Don’t use a single stage blower on gravel. You will need to use a two or three stage blower for gravel driveways.

Did you find this post helpful?

If so please share it so others can learn how to use a snow blower safely and effectively.

For all your Calgary snow removal service requirements contact CSRS.


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