Snow Blowers

Just Tuned my Craftsman 10hp Snowblower

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

Craftsman 10hp SnowblowerJust got finished with a tuneup of my Craftsman 10hp snowblower. This machine is about 15 years old and is still going strong. It is beginning to show its age in terms of rust on the housing etc, bit the engine and the impeller operate just like new. Anyway I thought I would go over the steps required in a tuneup / checkup to help readers decide if this is something they want to tackle themselves or have a small engine mechanic look after for them. We will list them in no particular order and you can tackle each one as you see fit.

Tuned my Craftsman 10hp Snowblower

Change the Engine Oil – Drain the oil into a oil bin and then dispose of it properly at a recycle location. Before you drain the oil, run the engine for a few minutes to warm up the oil. You find that it drains much more quickly and thoroughly if you do this. Add the recommended oil for your engine in the correct quantity. Check the level with the dip stick before and also after running the engine to ensure that the correct amount of oil has been installed.

Check the spark plug – Always take the plug out, check the gap after first giving it a good cleaning. If it is corroded etc, then replace it with a new one after you have set the proper gap.

Check the belts – The belts should be free of cracks, and wear and tear. Check that they are also properly tensioned as per your snowblowers manual.

Grease the Auger – The auger usually has 4 grease points. Give each at least two squeezes from your grease gun.

Grease the Wheel Axles – Remove the wheels and grease the axles and then place the wheels back on, taking care to put them back in exactly the same way. This may seem like a waste of time, however if you have a flat tire and need to remove the wheel,  you will be glad you did this.

Reconnect the Electrical Wires for the Light – Check all of the electrical connections. Reconnect or tighten any that are needed.

Test All Moving Parts – Finally start up the engine, make sure it is running smoothly and test that the auger and impeller are working properly. Check all of the gear speeds to ensure that there is no other maintenance required.

That’s a pretty good check list to make sure that your snow blower will be ready for the season. There is still a chance that it might be hard to start in the cold weather, but at least you know that all of the major things have been addressed in your tuneup.

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Best Snowblowers for Roof

September 21st, 2015 ernie Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

Best Snowblowers for RoofThe snow rake pictured on the left is by far the best snowblowers for roof situations where there is lots of snow to get rid of. It comes with 3,  8 foot sections that hook together giving you a 24 foot reach to get at the snow on your roof without having to actually get on your roof. Consumers using the snow rake stand on the ground and pull the heavy snow off their roof onto the ground. It is much safer than getting up onto a slippery roof and there is almost zero chance of damaging the roof shingles as well. Consumer need to understand that their shingles can become brittle in cold and crack if stepped on. Anytime a shingle cracks, it is a potential leak into your home which can cause a great deal more damage.

Best Snowblowers for Roof

Some consumers will use an electric powered snow shovel while on their roof. They are handy for light powdery snow conditions, however for heavy snow and ice crystals, a shovel is probably the best tool to use. Be careful to avoid damaging your shingles with the shovel and causing potential future leaks into your home.

Unless you have the proper equipment i.e. boots that don’t slip and a roof that is not too sleep, we really recommend that you do not get onto the roof. The possibility of losing your grip and sliding off the roof is high and depending on the height and also what you land on, you really could hurt yourself badly.

If the 24 foot pole is not long enough to reach all of your roof consider adding additional 8 foot lengths to increase the reach. The pole is a bit difficult and unwieldy to handle, but once on the roof, all you need to do is pull the snow towards the edge without allowing the rake to go over the edge.

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Roof Snow Blowers

September 7th, 2015 ernie Posted in Roof Snow Removal | No Comments »

Roof Snow BlowersUsing roof snow blowers is not a good idea for the average consumer. We wanted to say that up front to make sure that readers understand that it can be very dangerous to the person using the snow blower as well as for the possibility of actual damage to the roof. If not completed carefully and in a safe manner, people have fallen from the roof due to the unsafe conditions. They have also damaged the roof causing water damage and major leaks to the interior of their homes and businesses. If you must clear snow from your roof there are a couple of safe ways to arrange for the job to be completed, which we will cover in this post. We are very interested in your safety and prefer that no one is hurt in any way.

Roof Snow Blowers – Use a Snow Rake Instead

For those of you who may not be aware, a snow rake is actually a blade that is attached to a long pole that allows the operator to stand on the ground. The business end of the rake is placed on the roof and the operator pulls the snow towards the edge of the roof onto the ground. Sure you have to work a little harder and you may have to shovel the snow that falls onto your driveway or steps, but it is far safer than getting on the roof.

If you must get on the roof, devices like the one shown in this picture are sometimes used. It is light, easy to hold and runs on electricity. It can be used on the roof without placing a lot of weight on cold brittle shingles which could break under your own weight.

We have seen pictures of full sized snow blowers on a roof, we are not sure if they were photo shopped or not, but this is clearly a very unsafe thing to consider.

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What Oil to use in Snow Blower Engines

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

What oil to use in snow blower enginesThe chart at the left provides consumers with recommendations regarding what oil to use in snow blower engines at various temperatures. Most consumers will end up using 5 W 30 since it is good for temperatures from -22F to 32F and it is cheaper than synthetic oil which has a wider range. Since a snow blower engine is not needed during warm temperatures the wider range of synthetic oil is not really needed and you save money as well since it is more expensive. Always review the owners manual and use whatever is recommended for your snow blower engine. The intent of this post is to provide consumers with a guideline to follow.

What Oil to use in Snow Blower Engines – Fresh Oil

We also recommend that the oil should be changed at the beginning of the season in the late fall period. Run the engine for a few minutes to warm it up and ensure that the oil is hot enough to cleanly drain out of your snow blowers engine. Shut it off, drain the oil and replace the oil with whatever oil you decide to use. Check the oil level, restart the engine and let it run for a few minutes and then shut it off again. Let it sit for a minute before checking the oil one more time to make sure there is the right amount of oil in the engine.

Depending on how much your snow blower is used, you may need to change the oil one more time during the winter season, otherwise you can change it again at the beginning of the next season. Maintaining fresh oil in your snow blowers engine is one of the best ways to maintain your engine and keep it running for a long time. Don’t forget to put gasoline preservative in the gas tank, which you can obtain from most auto stores. Clean the spark plug and re-gap the plug when you change the oil as well.

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Signs of bad spark plug on Snow Blower

August 9th, 2015 ernie Posted in Repairs & Mtce | No Comments »

bad spark plug on Snow BlowerSigns of bad spark plug on snow blower engines can be confused with several other issues all of which have similar symptoms. For example if your snow blower engine will not start it could be because there is no gasoline in the tank (don’t smirk this happens a lot), bad gas that has clogged the filters and / or carb, a bad spark plug or no spark at all getting to the spark plug. The easiest way to trouble shoot these problems is to check the easy things first, eliminate them and move onto the more difficult areas. For example, always check that you have gas in the gas tanks and if there is a shut off cock for the gasoline, that it is open! Many people shut this off in the spring and then forget that they did that when it comes to firing the snow blower up in the fall.

Bad Spark Plug on Snow Blower – Check the Plugs

The next easiest thing to check is the spark plug. Remove the wire connected to the plug and hold the metal end of the wire within 1/16th of an inch to the end of the spark plug. Have some one slowly pull the starter chord. You should see a spark. Be careful not to touch anything metal connected to the machine to avoid receiving a shock. It will not hurt you but it will give you a bit of a surprise.

Next remove the plug, clean it and re gap it to the specification in your manual. If the spark plug is badly corroded or cannot be cleaned properly, replace it with a new one. Make sure you also set the gap on this plug as well. If your engine is still running rough or not at all and you confirmed that there was a spark then you will have to search for other solutions.

At this point you know you have gas in the tank, the shuttle cock is open so gas can get to the carb, you know there is spark getting to the spark plug and you have either cleaned the plug or replaced it. What’s next? Turn the engine over a few times, remove the spark plug and check for gasoline on the plug. If the plug is wet, and you can smell gasoline, then gas is getting into the engine, you will need to recheck that it is gaped properly and that the spark plug is actually receiving a jolt of electricity. If it is dry then gas is not getting into the engine and you will need to recheck and / or clean the carb and gas tank.

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Best Snow Blowers for Roofs

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

Best Snow Blowers for RoofsUsing a snow blower on your roof is probably not the best thing to do, given the danger of slipping and also potentially damaging your shingles on your roof. However we know people are going to disregard these suggestions and do things that may compromise their own safety. You are much better to use a snow rake, stand on the ground and pull the snow off the roof rather than lift a snow blower onto the roof. Although a snow rake takes more work, it is by far the safest approach to take. If you are going to use a snow blower on the roof, use one that is meant to be portable, that you can lift with one hand and that you can handle easily while maintaining your balance on a slippery roof.

Best Snow Blowers for Roofs – Portable Snow Blower

Most snow blowers are far to heavy to lift onto the roof and they will definitely damage your roof as well. Use a portable snow blower like the one in the picture. It is an electric blower so no need to worry about spilling gasoline on your roof and it is light enough that it will do less damage to your roof.

The hand held model will handle most snow conditions, however if there is ice or hard packed snow it may have more difficulty removing the icy junks. You probably also blow the snow onto adjacent sidewalks or even your driveway and will have to clear it later on. This is to be expected. If there are shrubs just below your roof, try to avoid dumping too much snow onto the shrubs. The weight of the snow will usually break the branches and flatten them to the ground.

If there is any doubt about your safety, hire someone to do the work on your behalf or use a snow rake to remove the snow.

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Snow Blower for Roof

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

Snow Blower for RoofMany readers are looking for snow blower for roof solutions which we have to say can be very dangerous. We have seen numerous pictures of people using hoists and cranes to lift full size snow blowers onto a sloped roof to clear snow off of them. Not only will you damage your shingles you can slip off the roof and have serious injuries as a result. We strongly encourage readers to never lift a snow blower of any kind onto a roof. There are two possible solutions which are much safer. The electric snow blower shown in this picture would work provided that the snow is not hard packed or has an icy crust on it. Anyone attempting to use this solution needs to be very careful to avoid falling off the roof, but at least it is a light machine and can be controlled much more easily than a full blown powerful snow blower.

Snow Blower for Roof – Use a snow Rake

snow rake for roofThis solution is far better and although it involves much more work and is probably a lot harder, it is much safer than getting onto the roof. The snow rake has several long poles which are connected together so that the user can stand on the ground to pull the snow off the roof. Consumers must be careful to not work too hard especially if you have been a couch potato for many years. With this kind of work, often people who are not fit, suffer heart attacks when they do this type of work.

If you fall into this latter category, hire someone to do the work for you who is younger and fit. While it will cost you some money, it is much better than falling off the roof or suffering a heart attack. Electric snow blowers and roof snow rakes are the best options for clearing snow off of sloped roofs and even those that are flat.

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Leaf Blower for Snow on Roof

June 21st, 2015 prrichar1 Posted in Roof Snow Removal | 1 Comment »

Leaf Blower for Snow on RoofUsing a leaf blower for snow on roof clearing looks to this writer as an incredibly dangerous activity. These guys on the roof of this house are really taking a chance walking on a slippery icy roof as they attempt to clear a light amount of snow from the roof. It appears that they are using a rope as an attempt at safety, however the second individual has nothing to grab on to if the first should slip and fall. Both are going to go tumbling off the roof and land on whatever is at the bottom. This also looks like a home under construction so there are likely some sharp ragged things on the ground which could hurt them a lot when they do land on the ground. Never try this sort of thing without a lot more security than what these guys currently have.

Leaf Blower for Snow on Roof – Does it work?

Aside from the safety issue, we are wondering if using a leaf blower to clear the snow from the roof would actually work or not? Light, non compacted snow could possibly be blown off the roof, however most snow goes through a compaction cycle of the sun warming the snow slightly during the day so that it melts a bit. At night when the air is colder, the snow forms a crust on the top of the snow. Once the crust has formed it takes much more than a leaf blower to remove any snow on a roof.

As the snow gets deeper on the roof, the snow becomes heavier as well and so really using a leaf blower to clear snow from the roof is a non starter. As we mentioned earlier it is also very dangerous to be on the roof anyway due to the slippery slopes. If you must clear the snow from the roof,  use a snow rake with a long pole to remove the snow. Consumers can remove the snow in this manner while remaining on the ground! Remember stay safe!

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How to get a Snowblower on a Roof

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

How to get a Snowblower on a RoofThe questions in not how to get a snowblower on a roof, but why would you do this or take the chance of an accident and damaging your roof? We hope this picture is photo shopped and not something that really happened. Snow loads on a roof is an important issue and the snow needs to be removed to avoid damage to the roof. Most people will get on the roof to shovel the snow off or use a snow rake while standing on the ground to remove the snow. Raising a heavy snow blower onto the roof is difficult to do and also dangerous. How do you get the snow blower up there? A crane could do the job and if you had one handy, I guess you could lift it up there but most people cannot afford to hire a crane.

How to get a Snowblower on a Roof – Damage to Roof

More importantly is the potential damage you can cause to the shingles as you move the snowblower along the roof. The tires are going to dig in and dislodge shingles. The scraper on the snow blower is going to catch shingles and tear them off. A lot of damage will be done to the roof, which can cause leaks later on when the snow begins to melt.

Whatever you are thinking, don’t try this as a solution. If you cannot get up on the roof yourself, hire someone to clear the snow off and make sure that they do this in a safe manner to avoid any potential injury from falling off the slippery roof. Personally I use a snow rake which allows me to stand on the ground and pull the snow off the roof. It is hard work, but a whole lot safe. If you are the couch potato type, you may want to hire someone to do this, since many heart attacks are caused by unaccustom overwork.


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Snow Blower Fuel Stabilizer

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

Snow Blower Fuel StablizerPlacing snow blower fuel stabilizer in the gasoline you use in your snow blower or any small engine is one of the best things you can do to keep the engine carburetor and filters from getting fouled.  When this occurs your engine will either run rough or it may not even start. This of course is not something that you want to deal with when there is a foot of snow on the ground. We suggest that you purchase some kind of snow blower stabilizer and regularly add it to your gasoline tank to keep everything clean and working smoothly every year. We do not recommend any particular type of fuel stabilizer, just that you use one recommended for your small engines.

Snow Blower Fuel Stabilizer – Why

If gasoline sits in a tank for any length of time, for example over a season, the components of the gasoline will tend to separate and settle on the sides of the tank as well as on the filter of the tank. As it is drawn into the carb, it coats the orifice of the carb and restricts gasoline from flowing smoothly and at the correct mixture of gasoline and air. The engine will not start if it is badly coated and insufficient gasoline gets into the engine. If it is not too bad the engine will speed up and then almost stall before repeating the same thing all over again. It makes it really difficult to develop enough power to blow snow properly, especially when you have lots of heavy snow to deal with. A few dollars spent on fuel stabilizer can prevent all of these issues and save you a trip to the local small engine mechanic as well.

Some people have been known to just go and purchase another snow blower instead of getting theirs fixed. Enterprising collectors will take them free of charge and fix them themselves and sell them for a few hundred dollars making a nice little profit.

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