Snow Blowers

Tips for Snow Thrower Maintenance

April 21st, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Tips for Snow Thrower Maintenanceover the past few weeks we have posted a number of articles about snowblower maintenance. The term snowblower and snow thrower are used interchangeably. We thought we would summarize some of the typical maintenance activities that anyone who owns and operates a snowblower should consider.


Never allow your children or pets to be near an operating snowblower. The Snowblowers can throw rocks, hard ice and the engine sound can lead to deafness. There’s also a danger of slipping into the spinning blades particularly with active dogs. Always read the safety section of the snowblower manual prior to operating your machine for the first time.

Snow blower maintenance tips and operating tips.

Wear hearing protection and safety glasses

Wear excellent grip footwear to stop you from slipping

In heavy snow conditions try to clear the store more often or only take a half cut with each pass of your snowblower

Always wear lots of protective clothing particularly in windy conditions with dry powder snow.

Always clear your driveway of any rocks and sticks or anything else that could damage the snowblower or be thrown.

Never point the snowblower chute at windows or vehicles or humans.

Lower the speed, the forward speed of the snowblower when you’re dealing with deep snow and heavy wet snow.

Always clear all of the snow from the driveway, since any snow left can freeze and make it difficult to clear the snow next time.

Always clean the auger and the impeller of snow once you’re finished. Make sure you turn the engine off to avoid any potential accident with the moving auger

Always use the proper bolts for shear pins to avoid expensive repairs to the transmission and the gear system of the snowblower.

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Inspecting the belts on your snowblower

April 14th, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

There are usually two belts on most to stage snowblowers. One belt is required to drive the auger while the other belt is required to drive the wheels. They Usually last for quite a few years however on older snowblowers operators should check them on an annual basis looking for wear and tear, abrasions and cracking. It is fairly easy to inspect the belts on your snowblower and we recommend that you open your manual and confirm the location of the belt cover and how best to remove it.

The plastic belt cover it Sheasley secured by two bolts which can be removed using a small wrench. Once you remove the belt cover on your snowboard, inspect the belt for cracks and where. Replace the belt if needed. If you’re going to replace the belt take a picture first so that you can refer to it when you’re installing the new belt and you want to refer to it and install it exactly as removed.

If you’re finding that the forward motion of the snowboard is slowing down under heavy loads, or the snow is not being shown as far as it normally would there’s a chance that the older belts have begun to stretch. There are two ways to deal with this problem. The first is to adjust the pulleys to make sure that the belt is tight. You will notice the belt tightener probably has an adjustment to allow you to tighten the belt. The second alternative is of course to replace a belt. Make sure that the replacement belt is the right size both in diameter as well is in the width and depth of the belt.

Once the belt is installed replace the cover and test your snow blower by restarting it and confirming that the forward speed as well as the auger is running properly. Most operator owners of snow blowers prefer to do their maintenance during the summer or fall months when it is warmer rather than when it’s very cold outside
and difficult to work.

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Oil change on a Snow Blower

April 7th, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

The oil in all small engines, including snowblowers should be changed at least once per year and more often if The snowblower is used on a regular basis. Follow the instructions that are included in your manual for the frequency of oil changes in the snowblower engine.

Always check the level of oil in your engine by checking the dipstick. Make sure the snowblower is on level ground, pull up the dipstick wipe it clean with a cloth and put the dipstick back in completely. Wait for 10 seconds and then pull out the dipstick and confirm that the level of oil in the engine is at the correct level. At the same time assess the color of the oil to determine if it should be changed. A light yellow brown looking oil is in good condition while a thick black oil is in very bad condition. You should change your oil in your snow blower a long time before it turns black.

Review the owners manual for instructions on how to change the oil. Make sure the engine is turned off and remove the oil plug to drain the used oil into a receptacle. I sometimes find that a short piece of garden hose attached to the oil drain serves to make sure that the oil drains properly and easily into a receptacle.

Once all of the oil has been drained, replace the drain plug and tighten the plug so that it is sealed properly. Refill the engine with the proper amount of the recommended oil as per your manual, inspect for leaks around the drain plug and be sure that it’s tight. Once the oil is at the proper level, restart the engine, Let it run for three or four minutes and then turn it off. Recheck the level of oil in the engine as previously mentioned and top up as necessary or remove if needed.

This job can easily be done in less than 30 minutes and is something that most do it yourself handymen can do around the home. You can dispose of the old oil but taking it in a proper container to most garages that change oil in automobiles.

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Flat Roof Snow Removal

March 31st, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

Flat Roof Snow RemovalThis is not exactly a flat roof and this is definitely not the way to remove snow from a roof. The probability of damaging this roof with the back hoe is so high that is almost a given that it will happen. All it takes is one accidental brush with the bucket and the shingles are broken allowing water to penetrate in the spring causing a great deal more damage from water leakage. And that is assuming that the operator is extremely careful and does not make any major mistakes. He could actually put the bucket right through the roof if he pulls a lever the wrong way!

Flat Roof Snow Removal – The Way to Do It

The only way to remove snow from a roof is to shovel it off by hand to ensure that no damage is done to the shingles. In cold weather the shingles are brittle and will crack easily. Even if you are using a shovel and walking on the roof, it is better to leave a couple of inches of snow on the roof to protect the shingles and avoid any damage to the shingles which could lead to further water damage from leaks.

Flat roof snow removal will take more work since the snow will not slide off the roof like the one in the picture. Never the less, if the snow load is too great, someone will need to get up on the roof to shovel the snow off the roof.

Some consumers will also use a snow rake to clear snow off their roofs. This is a shovel with a long pole attached and the shovel is vertical to the roof allowing it to be pulled pushing snow ahead of it and off the roof. This type of snow removal can be accomplished from ground level with no danger to the person removing snow since they are not on the roof. There is also no danger of damaging shingles as well since no one is walking across the roof. A snow rake can also be used on flat roofs to reduce the amount of foot traffic on the roof as well. Avoid collapsed roofs and remove much of the snow to reduce the weight on your roof.

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Snow Thrower for Flat Roof

March 21st, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

snow-blower-for-flat-roofIs there such a thing as a safe snow thrower for flat roofs? We do not think so and we certainly do not recommend the approach this homeowner is taking to clear snow off his roof. It is simply too dangerous on a number of levels to warrant taking the chance on using a snow thrower on your roof. We also wonder how he got it up there in the first place. We will not even speculate since that might give readers the idea that even though there are risks, they might try it instead of using an old fashion shovel to remove the snow from their flat roofs.

Snow Thrower for Flat Roof – Issues to Consider

First of all there is the inherent challenge to raise a heavy snow thrower up to the roof without damaging the building and without hurting someone. Sure you could probably figure out how to do it safely, but is it really worth the effort given the following issues.

Consumers must also avoid getting too close to the edge of the roof. It is a long way down and once the snow thrower goes over the edge even with one tire, there is no way the operator can hold onto it and prevent it from falling.

The tires and the scraper on the snow thrower can potentially damage the shingles or rubber membrane that is found on flat roofs. If a hole is punched in the membrane, water leaks are going to take place for sure and cause a lot more damage. At the very least, shingles will crack and break off causing long-term damage and shorten the life span of the roof.

Not all roofs are design the same. Some can support a great deal of weight in terms of snow load and one person walking on the roof. Add a heavy snow thrower to the roof and there is no telling what will happen.

We strongly suggest that the snow should be shoveled off the roof taking care to avoid damaging the roof in any way.

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Snowblower tire chains scratch paver driveway

March 14th, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in General | No Comments »

Snowblower tire chainsNever use Snowblower tire chains on a driveway that has interlocking stone installed on it. The tire chains on a snowblower, car or truck will scratch the driveway for sure. In addition if you are using a snow clearing service, make sure they use a Teflon blade to avoid scratching the driveway. If your snow clearing company cannot provide this service, or will not talk about it, or worse gloss over it, then try another company. Once your driveway is damaged, the only way to correct the damage is to replace the stones on your driveway, which can be very expensive.

Snowblower tire chains – Avoiding the Issue

Many companies offer this service at no extra cost however you will need to specify this in your contract. If you plan to clear your own snow from your driveway and have tire chains, remove them and only rely on the rubber tires. Although your snow blower may slip a bit it is much better than scratching your pavers with tire chains. In addition, Teflon skid shoes can be purchased for your snow blower. These skid shoes go on the bottom of the housing which comes in contact with your driveway. They will not mark your driveway and only cost a few dollars to purchase. Most people can install their own skid shoes.

Consumers should also remember that snow plow operators do not want to have any problems with their customers and certainly not cause any damage that they would be responsible for. Make sure that your requirements are always clear and written down in the contract to ensure that both parties are clear about the requirements. This way there is no room for any misunderstandings. Also check in with neighbors or previous customers who have used this service in the past to confirm service levels and general satisfaction levels.

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Snow Thrower for Flat Rubber Roof

March 7th, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

Snow Thrower for Flat Rubber RoofLet’s start this post by saying we do not recommend this approach shown in this picture on the left. We do not know how he got the snow blower onto the roof and we certainly cannot suggest that consumers even remotely think about this type of solution to get snow off their roofs.  This looks like a flat roof and that usually means it has a rubber membrane to seal the roof or perhaps a tar based membrane. Either way the amount of damage that can be done to the roof by using a snow blower on the roof is huge. Gauging holes in the roof, scraping some of the shingles and tar or rubber off the roof is just the beginning.

Snow Thrower for Flat Rubber Roof – Damages

Using any heavy equipment that can scrape shingles or tear a hole in the roof is just something you do not want to do. Any tear in the fabric allows moisture to enter the roof structure and then into the building below, in this case the house. If this is a flat roof, then the water from the snow when it melts is just going to pour through this hole and into the home.

Water damage spreads quickly, especially if it is a large leak. If it is a large leak then at least it will be noticed right away since the water will just pour in. If it is a small leak then the water will drip in and spread slowly causing mold  and damage to the insulation, the structure and the drywall. This can lead to thousands of dollars in damages.

There is also a safety issue. Suppose you get to close to the edge and both the operator and the snow blower fall off the roof causing further damage. In addition some roofs have weak points which a heavy snow blower could fall through.

We strongly advise that the snow should be shoveled off the roof and never use a snow blower on any roof! A roof is built to handle snow load and not a concentrated heavy load like a person and a snow blower.

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Changing shear pins on your snowblower

February 28th, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Shear pins in any piece of equipment including snowblowers are meant to break when the piece of equipment is put under too much stress. In the case of the snowblower if the auger becomes blocked somehow this shear pin will break in order to protect the engine and the gear mechanism. Shear pins should never be replaced with any other kind of bolt other then a Specific bolt meant for use as a shear pin. It is a safety feature the brakes and protects your gearcase in your snowblower.

Each year when you’re doing your annual maintenance, the shear pins should be inspected to ensure that they are not broken or missing. When they do break in most cases they will fall out on their own.

If you do need to install new shear pins always use the exact replacement pins that are recommended for your snowblower. Your manual will provide information on the kind of shear pin that you should be used. Also make sure that the engine is turned off and that there is no danger of the auger turning while you are replacing the shear pin.

It is always a good idea to have an extra set of shear pins on hand for use in replacement in the winter season. This will avoid getting stuck in the middle of a snowstorm and not having a replacement, or being able to purchase one when the stores are closed. Personally,I would rather have a couple of extra sets of shear pins then have to shovel snow if I couldn’t use my snowblower.

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Quick Start Guide – Snow Thrower

February 21st, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Quick Start Guide - Snow ThrowerWhether you refer to the machine in the picture as a snow thrower or a snow blower, it is all the same when it comes to developing a quick start guide for these machines. We have put together a quick start guide – snow thrower list of tips for making sure that you can always start your snow thrower easily and also use one of these machines safely. They are powerful and have exposed moving parts that can easily damage something or a person. Pay them some respect and they will move mountains of snow for you for many years.

Quick Start Guide – Snow Thrower – Tips

  • Use fresh gasoline and never allow gasoline to sit in the gas tank for an extended period of time
  • Use gas stabilizer to keep the gasoline fresh for longer periods and to also avoid gumming up the fuel system
  • Change the oil at least once every season and more often if your machine is on the go every day, perhaps as often as once a month or every 50 hours of operation
  • Clean and regap the spark plug annually and / or change it once every two years
  • Make sure that there is a solid connection from the spark plug wire to the sparkplug
  • Start the engine every month to keep the fuel moving and to avoid gumming up from stagnant fuel sitting in fuel lines
  • Read and follow all safety guidelines before doing any maintenance on these machines.

Quick Start Guide – Snow Thrower – Safety

  • Read all of the safety instructions on the snow thrower and in the owner’s manual.
  • Use hearing protection and safety glasses whenever you are working or operating one of these machines
  • Wear excellent grip footwear so you don’t slip.
  • Heavy snow may require that you clear the snow more often or that you only take half a swath on each pass to avoid over loading the snow thrower
  • Clear your driveway of rocks, sticks,every year before each snowfall.
  • Clean out the area around the blades and impeller removing all snow. Make sure that the engine is turned off before you attempt this.

Have fun with your snow thrower and remember to do all of the maintenance work before it gets really cold and unpleasant.

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Basic Guide to Snow Blower Maintenance

February 14th, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

Basic Guide to Snow Blower MaintenanceA snow blower properly maintained will last for many years, providing great service and starting easily every time. There are challenges since it is one of the machines which has a lot of down time and needs clean oil and gasoline to continue running at optimum levels. We will review some of the requirements to maintaining a snow blower and provide a basic guide to snow blower maintenance in this post. We need to emphasize that every operator and consumer who plans to conduct their own snow blower maintenance should first read the service manual and follow all safety precautions before beginning any work. They are big, powerful and can damage material and people working on them easily. Be cautious and careful.

Basic Guide to Snow Blower Maintenance

The first step to maintenance in all situations is to disconnect the spark plug wire so that the engine cannot start by accident. This is critical and for your own safety.

  • Change the Oil
  • Inspect and Replace Belts
  • Check scraper bars and skid shoes
  • Change the spark plug
  • Check shear pins
  • check starter chord
  • Fuel system maintenance
  • Tighten all bolts

A few words about each area will help do it yourself consumers complete all maintenance issues:

Change the Oil: at least once per year and more often if you use your snow blower a great deal. Check your owners manual for recomended frequency.

Inspect and Replace Belts: replace any frayed or worn belts before they break in the middle of winter when it is really cold

Check scraper bars and skid shoes: and adjust them to ensure proper scraping of your driveway

Change the spark plug: at least once per two years or more often depending on the owners manual recommendations. Cleaning and regapping is also recommended each year.

Check shear pins: and replace any that are warn or in danger of shearing off. Grease the auger at the same time

Check starter chord: and replace as needed

Fuel system maintenance: Always use clean fresh gasoline, use gasoline products to reduce gum forming in the carb and clean the filter every year.

Tighten all bolts: vibration can loosen bolts from time to time. tighten all bolts that are visible.

The best time for snow blower maintenance is in the late spring, summer or fall when temperatures make it easier to work on these machines. A break down in cold weather is not fun at all especially if you need to shovel a lot of snow and complete repairs in freezing temperatures.

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