Saturday, September 26, 2020

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Home Improvement Tips

Floyd Braun

Greetings everyone, I hope your past week went well. This week I will cover some tips on snow blowers and related snow-removal equipment, what works best, and green options to consider for your consideration. First, I will cover snow blowers and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Snow blower model types

There are 3 different kinds of blowers on the market today. Let me describe how each type works. All snow blowers will have an auger this pulls the snow into the machine and breaks it up and feeds it into the impeller. The impeller sucks the snow in and throws it out the shoot.

The newest model is the electric rechargeable blower. This may not sound like a good option to many but some of you may want to consider this option.

Ten years ago, these units were not a viable alternative because their battery life was very short between charges. The newer batteries can continuously run a snow blower for about 20 minutes on one charge. For my own home, I think this is a viable option since I have a short driveway and I don’t mind shoveling any remaining area after the batteries run down. After all, a snow blower does not eliminate the need for a shovel. The electric version is also good for narrow walkways which tends to be too narrow for a gas or diesel unit to navigate.

In my opinion, the best electric models are: the Snow Joe brand 18″ and the EGO Power brand 21″ . Prices will vary, but average about $400.00 to $500.00.

All electric units are single stage throwers.

Next model is the gas powered walk-behind units. These units come in 1, 2 and 3 stage types. Each stage represents one auger. In really deep and heavy snow, the more augers there are, the faster the impeller can be fed. I use a single-stage model in my work.  In my experience, the single-stage unit works best for snow amounts of less than 16 inches.

I find that most powered units will run continuously on one tank of gas for about 30 minutes. They hold a half gallon or more, depending on the brand, so have extra gas on hand. I also have found that steel fuel tanks have less problems compared to plastic tanks, which, if left to sit over 20 days, can cause the fuel to foul.

Tips for making the purchase

Not all brands are created equal. No matter what brand you choose, if you buy your machine from a big box retailer, understand that there may be different brands; however, they are all made by Murray Inc. These machines are fine for the homeowner, but if you are moving a lot of snow on a ranch or other commercial site, I strongly suggest that you find an authorized dealer for a commercial grade machine. For example, John Deere or Toro. Only an authorized dealer can sell and repair a commercial line machine. The cost is higher but like any solid purchase, you get what you pay for.

Electric start vs. pull cord

If you plan to get a gas unit and plan on storing the machine in an unheated area, get a model with an electric start. If you store your machine in a heated garage, it should pull start in 5 pulls or less.

Options to consider:

Headlight groups for clearing gravel roads will make the job easier.

Heated handles- your hands will tire faster in thick gloves.

Diesel power- if you opt for a diesel, get the optional plug-in.

Battery blankets will save you a lot of grief. Nothing is worse than a dead battery while you are snowed in.

Snow blower tips, things to consider

Run your machine weekly for 10 minutes

Lubricate all moving parts and cables monthly

In my opinion, studded tires are worth the cost versus chains. The cost is comparable and keep in mind the time spent constantly fiddling with chains.

Other types of snow moving equipment to have on hand:

Flat-blade shovels for moving ice.

Ice-breaking wedge with a long handle.

Traditional snow shovels are great for loose snow.

Walk-behind push plows are a great time saver for wide and long walkways

Hand-held snow pushing blades.

Ice melting options

Traditional ice melt should be applied at one pellet per 1/4 inch for light ice. Increase for heavier icy areas.

Ice melt with beet juice works in temperatures up to -40 degrees and works longer. The sugar in the best juice is the secret to this product- it can be found on Amazon.

Last tip– No matter what, you will never completely eliminate the need to have a shovel on hand.

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