Snow Blowers


Why Would you Hire a Snow Clearing Company vs buy a Snow Blower

August 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Buying Snow Blowers No Comments »

Reliable Snow Clearing CompanySnow Blowers are going on sale in the late summer period and your wondering if your should hire a snow clearing company. The sales look attractive, but do you really want to operate one of these noisy machines? Where will you store it when it is not on use? They are heavy and difficult to transport if you need to have repairs completed. Can you maintain it yourself and what do you need to do anyway? These are all questions that many people ask themselves every year when they look at the snow blower sales available. We have summarized some of the main issues to help people make a decision regarding which solution they should consider. Hire a snow clearing company vs. buy a snow blower.

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Why Would you Hire a Snow Clearing Company vs buy a Snow Blower

Cost – Sure there is a large up front cost to buying a snow blower, but how quickly will you spend more money hiring a company to clear your driveway. With many contracts running in the $300 to $500 range a year, most people will find that within 3 to 5 years their snow blower will be the less expensive option.

Operation – are you comfortable operating one of these machines. The trick is to let it do the work and just focus on steering. They are noisy as well. Try out a neighbors machine if you have concerns in this area.

Storage – were will you store the snow blower when it is not in use. Many people find that they cannot store it in their garage and have to leave it outside. Over the years every machine will deteriorate so make sure you have someway to protect it.

Maintenance – can you change the oil, check the belts and the spark plug. If you cannot, you might want to hire a snow clearing company. These tasks are simple and straight forward but not everyone wants to do the maintenance.

Convenience – It is very nice to look out your window in the morning and see that your driveway is already clear. Getting to work is no problem at all. If you travel, then hire someone to clear the snow. You want the house to look live in while you are away and the driveway to be clear when you return.

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Which Snow Blower Features Would You Pick

December 21st, 2014 ernie Posted in Buying Snow Blowers No Comments »

Which Snow Blower Features Would You PickWhat features do you need and which ones would you pick if you are buying a snow blower? In our last post we described each one of these and as promised in this one we will discuss our personal favorites. Note that each of the features will have value to consumers. Some features more than others and it really depends on what your personal situation is and your own preferences. I have been using a snow blower for over 30 years in all kinds of weather. My driveway will hold four cars so that gives you some idea of the area to be cleared. We also live in a snow belt area and receive quite cold temperatures in the winter time. My driveway is part asphalt and part interlocking stone.  I like doing my own driveway and have not or would not consider hiring a snow clearing company at this time. So here is a refresher list of the features and our own personal preferences.

Typical Snow Blower Features

  • Electric Start
  • Single Hand Interlock
  • Remote chute and Deflector Rotation
  • Power Steering
  • Track Drive
  • Drift Cutters
  • Skid Shoes
  • Hand Warmers

Which Snow Blower Features Would You Pick

Our own preference for features is as follows in this order of preference:

Non marking skid shoes – these will not scratch or mark our driveway especially with the interlocking stone that we have on the driveway. Don’t want to ruin this investment. The non marking skid shoes cost $25 if you buy them separate, many machines come with them included.

Remote Chute and Deflector Rotation – this is important from an ease of use and safety perspective. Everything can be controlled from behind the machine

Electric Start – has been useful over the years especially when the machine has been hard to start. Some people may find the recoil manual starter difficult to use and prefer the electic starter for that reason

Hand Warmers – I do not have these on my current machine, but would really appreciate having them. On cold days even with warm gloves, your hands can get pretty cold.

The other features all rank the same and are not as important to me as the above ones. For readers you may have a different priority. The only other comment is that larger more powerful machines make quick work of lots of snow so if you can afford it purchase a 28 inch wide 10 horsepower snow blower vs. one that is 26 inch wide 8 horsepower. You will appreciate the difference. Speed of clearance and ease of use along with more features that are auto included are some of the criteria that I would be looking for.

One other point is that a larger machine is a heavier machine. As long as you let it do the work, they are easy to use. A heavier machine will plow it’s way threw snow drifts much better than one that is lighter. I found that I had little issue dealing with snow drifts etc with a larger heavier snow blower. Compared to my old one which was 25 inches wide, the new one at 28 inches does a far better job from this perspective.

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Find the Best Snowblower for Your Money

April 21st, 2012 ernie Posted in Buying Snow Blowers 1 Comment »

Find the Best Snowblower for Your MoneyThere are lots of features to choose from when it comes to buying a snow blower and they are an expensive purchase so you will want to select the best snow blower for your money. We decided to write this post to help  you make your decision and some thoughts to help you chose the right machine for your needs and for your money. This assumes of course that you actually want to clear your own driveway instead of having someone do it for you.

Finding the Best Snowblower for Your Money

Basic decisions include:

  • Gas or Electric
  • Hand start or Electric start for gas models
  • Single stage or two stage
  • Snow clearance size
  • Storage location

As you make decisions about the above, you will eliminate many snow blowers, leaving a group that you can choose from. At the same time selecting various features will also determine the price you will pay as well. Once you have settled on a particular feature and found the best price at various dealers in your area, you may want to reconsider some for the features that you fellt you need. For example a 30 inch machine will generally cost more than a 24 inch machine. Both will do an equally good job, but the 24 inch machine will take a little longer to clear the snow from your driveway.  This is a basic decision and it really comes down to time vs. how much money you want to spend on your new snow blower.

It is always a compromise between features and cost when it comes down to any buying decision. Some features are must have and this will help narrow down your selection. Other features may be nice to have and depending on the price you may or may not decide to purchase a snow blower with the particular feature you need. for example, my old snow blower which I have had for over 20 years has an electric starter. It also has a manual pull chord to start the engine. I think in the 20 years I have used the electric starter twice!

Check Reviews on the Snow Blowers

Next you will need to confirm consumer reviews about the machines you are considering. This can be a really great way to find out what other people are thinking about the machines they purchased. Read all of the reviews to get a good perspective on both the comments, the machine you interested in and also the dealer. Sometimes a great snow blower machine with a good reputation is hurt by poor service from a dealer and vice versa.

Go With Name Brands

There is lot’s of opinion about this subject. My own is that  you are better off going with a manufacturer that has been in the business for some time and knows how to build and service a high quality machine. If they have been building a particular model for some time, then they should have worked all of the kinks out of the design. Check the reviews to confirm for the model you are interested in.

Deal with Firms that Provide Excellent Service

Hopefully you will not need any service other than perhaps oil changes for some time with your new snow blower. But just ins case you need warranty or general maintenance work, you are far better off to make your purchase from a company that you know will provide the support you need whenever you need repairs, parts or maintenance. There is nothing more frustrating to need warranty work and the company you purchased your snow blower from is only selling them on a seasonal basis and provides no support at all for them.

You can also save money by splitting the cost of a snow blower with your neighbor or someone close by instead of each of you having to lay out the cost of a snow blower. Just a thought. Make sure you are on good terms and also write out the agreements so that there is no chance of any misunderstanding later on!

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Tips for Selecting a Snow Blower to Meet Your Needs

April 7th, 2012 ernie Posted in Buying Snow Blowers 1 Comment »

Winter is almost over at the time of writing this post, at least for people living in the Selecting a Snow Blowernorthern hemisphere. You may have decided that you have had enough of shoveling snow and are thinking of purchasing a snow blower for next season. Well this could be the right time to make your purchase since all dealers are desperately trying to get rid of their inventory and will cut really good deals if you are ready to lay down some cash. It might just make sense to make your purchase now rather than wait for the new models and higher prices.

Regardless of when you are planning to buy, we thought that these tips would help you when it comes time to making your selection. Also refer to our previous post , find the best snow blower for your money,  to help make your decision. Here are a few ideas about making your selection.

  • Lots of Snow
  • Narrow vs. Wider Blowers
  • Big Snow Clearing Areas really need Gas Machines
  • Focus on the Basics you need and add Bonus Features
  • How Much Physical Effort is Required

Selecting a Snow Blower

Lots of Snow

If you receive a lot of snow every year with deep snow drifts, you really should consider a larger more powerful machine to use to clear the snow. deep drifts with heavy snow take a more power and small machines , electric powered machines cannot deal with this demand.

The larger machines are dual stage which means the augers break up the snow and then an impeller throws the snow out the chute. Single stage machines utilize the augers to throw the snow and a single stage machine cannot deal with lots of snow under these conditions.

Narrow vs. Wider Blowers

Large ares will take more time to clear and it just makes sense that if time is important or you do not want to be out in the cold any longer than you have to be, then a wider machine is the way to go. The width of snow blowers varies from 21 inches in width up to the really big machines for consumer use at 45 inches wide. A wide machine will take half the amount of time to clear the snow compared to a really small snow blower.

Remember that you have to store these machines when not in use. They really should be kept inside, which means you need space in your garage. Take this width requirement into account when you make your purchase. You might end up leaving your car outside so that you can put your snow blower inside!

Big Snow Clearing Areas really need Gas Machines

Electric machines are convenient, there is no gas to worry about, however you do have an electric chord which you have to drag around and avoid as well from being caught up in the augers. They are great for small areas, small driveways or the walkway in front of your home. However if you are dealing with something larger or just  do not want to be bothered with the chord, then a gas powered snow blower is the way to go!

Focus on the Basics you need and add Bonus Features

Once you have the basic decisions out of the way, you can look at bonus features such as headlights, tire chains, electric starters and much more. The larger more expensive machines come with more features as standard as well and of course cost more too.

How Much Physical Effort is Required

This is a really important item. Most people try to manhandle their snow blower and it is tough work. They weigh as much as 300 pounds or even more and it is difficult to move these machines.

The right way is to let the machine do the work for you. It may take a bit longer, but why strain your muscles when you have  the controls at your finger tips to drive your machine and also to steer your snow blower. I usually drive with one hand and have the other hand to control the direction of the chute so that the snow goes in the right place. If I need to turn, you can easily do this with modern snow blowers by depressing the appropriate direction  controllers. Of course you can just manually swing the machine around and it is probably faster to do this, but it does take manual effort and some strength to move a 300 pound snow blower in a different direction.

Hopefully these tips will help readers make decisions about which snow blower to purchase, whether you are taking advantage of the sales in the spring or picking one up in the fall before the winter season begins.

 

 

 

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