Snow Blowers

Landscape Removal

June 21st, 2014 ernie Posted in General No Comments »

Landscape RemovalLandscape removal may seem like an odd post to be included on a site dedicated to reviewing all things about snow removal, but there is a reason for this unusual title.  Consider that you have hired someone to clear the snow from your driveway. They are using a truck and a blade much like the one shown in this picture. They might also use snow blowers, or tractors with blades. Or perhaps large blowers mounted on the front of the tractor.

Basically they will run the blade up and down your driveway to clear the snow away which is fine. Many contractors all over Canada and the United States use this type of technology. The problem comes when they are not careful about the edges of your driveway. They may scrape either some of your lawn or worse some of your landscaping as well. It ends up being pushed further onto your lawn. They leave an unsightly mess in the spring which you will need to repair. Or request that they make the repairs.

How Can You Prevent Landscape Removal

If you are concerned about this sort of issue when you hire someone to clear the snow from your driveway the solution is actually quite easy. Either do it yourself, hire someone else that does not use a blade or stick markers along the edge of your driveway. They will indicate where the edge is and where the landscaping starts.

Steel markers can be purchased with round red reflectors at the top that are easy to see. They indicate clearly where the edge of the driveway is or where your landscaping begins. Either way, you should not have to make any repairs in the spring. If the snow plow driver abides by these markers your landscaping will be in good shape.

Many companies will provide markers and place then at the edges of the driveway on either side to make the driveway. This is also advertising for them as well since their phone number and company name will be prominently displayed. it is to your advantage to have these markers in place other wise there is almost a certainty that your lawn at the edges of your driveway are going to be damaged.

For some people this may seem to be a minor issue, however if you have expensive landscaping along your driveway with flower beds etc, you certainly do not want them damaged in any way. Use the markers to indicate where the landscaping begins and avoid any chance of Landscape Removal.

Landscape Removal Companies

These same companies also provide landscaping services in the summer time. In fact I spoke to one owner just recently and this is exactly what he does. During the winter he is clearing snow and in the summer he is working on landscape projects, sometimes for the same customers that he removes snow for in the winter time. It is a good business for him since it provides time off for him and his crew during the fall and spring and also provides work for just about the entire year.  There is also a lot of equipment and he keeps it running all of the time to make money.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

General Snow Blower Information

July 7th, 2012 ernie Posted in General 1 Comment »

General Snow Blower InformationGeneral snow Blower information you need to know. We used to include this material with every post. Now we link to it to allow us to provide more information about specific snow blowers and snow throwers that are being reviewed. Please read this information for your own safety and information.


Most customers will have to arrange for the delivery of their new snow blowers. They are far too big to take home in your car, so you will need a trailer, rent a van or arrange for delivery by the store that you are purchasing the snow blower from. There will be a charge for this service, but it will be the easiest way to arrange for your new snow blower to be delivered to your home. Some stores will rent their vans/trucks to you for a very low price for 2 hours for you to take your purchases home.


Most snow blowers can be purchased with tire chains to provide extra traction in icy situations. In addition, snow shields are also a good idea if you want to protect yourself from windy conditions and snow being blown back at your face by the wind.

Safety & Operation

A snow blower is a powerful machine and should be treated with safety in mind. Carefully read all of the safety guidelines in the manual prior to operating the machine for the first time and follow these guidelines to ensure that both you and the machine do not have an accident.

Prior to starting your snowblower the first time each day, perform a quick walk around check of the machine to ensure there are no loose parts and no leaking fluids. Check the engine oil to ensure that it is at the correct level as specified by the manual. Top up if necessary. Fill the fuel tank while the engine is cold and prior to using the machine. If you do spill fuel, wait until it has fully evaporated prior to starting the engine. Never spill fuel on a hot engine to avoid fires. Always fill the fuel tank outdoors to avoid any possibility of vapors going into your house.

Finally never point the chute in the direction of people, buildings, or cars to avoid any possible damage and accidents. Sometimes chunks of ice can be thrown at high speed from the chute. If they hit something, it can cause a lot of damage.

General Snow Blower Information

Never work on your snow blower with the engine running

This seems like an obvious thing but people still do it and are hurt, sometimes badly, every year. Always turn it off before you do any maintenance, add fuel, check the oil, fix the chains on the tires, or clear the augers of snow.

Clearing Snow from the Augers – this is where lots of people are hurt every year. Before you try to clear snow that is plugging the augers, shut the engine off. This could avoid the sudden turning of the augers or the impeller. This could cause lots of damage to fingers, hands, and arms.

Use Snow Clearing Tool – This is the really important part. You have plugged the augers with snow, you have shut the machine off and now you are trying to clear the snow away. Never place your hands inside the augers to get at the snow. Use a broom handle if you have an old machine. Or the snow clearing tool that came with your newer machine to clear the snow. You can also purchase these tools from most stores as an extra. Or if you break yours or if you have an older machine which does not have one. This is the safe way to clear snow from around the augers and the impeller.

Sometimes the snow is so compacted, that as you clear it away, it allows the augers to turn. This is due to built-up tension in the pulley mechanism. Better to have a broom handle stuck in there than your hands!

Most new snow blowers come with a snow clearing tool which you can use for this purpose. Always use this tool and never use your hands. If you have an older machine, an old broom handle will do the trick as well.


Like all snow blowers or snow throwers, maintenance is important for your machine to operate at a peak level for many years. Change the engine oil regularly, check the belts for tightness, change the spark plug as required, and grease any spots outlined in the manual. If you need to leave the snow blower outside all year round, cover the machine with a proper cover to keep it looking new and avoid deterioration of the tires and metal components.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

CARB Compliant Explained

December 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in General 1 Comment »

CARB Compliant ExplainedWe have been trying to find out exactly what CARB compliance means for snow blowers for the past hour and have only found the following definition, which is not complete, however it is the best we could find. Most engines in California, must be CARB compliant. The objective is to manage the level of pollution in all gasoline and diesel burning engines. California has some of the most restrictive controls in the country to help them deal with SMOG issues they have in major metro areas.  This is good for all of the country, not just California. It comes from Amazon.

“CARB is an acronym for California Air Resource Board, whose stringent air-quality standards have been adopted by many states. A Non-CARB Compliant Engine fails to meet these standards. While CARB-compliant engines run cleaner than non-compliant models, they still emit pollutants.”

CARB Compliant Explained

We wanted to add this definition to our blog, because many snow blowers indicate that they are CARB compliant and we really did not know what it meant. If you live in California, just about any engine you purchase must be CARB compliant, while other states are in various stages of adopting this standard. California has some of the toughest anti pollution laws in North America. If you have ever been in LA during the summer time, they you will understand why. The haze over the city can be really bad, so much so that sometimes you cannot even see downtown from some of the distant suburbs.

While all engines emit pollutants, CARB compliant engines will emit far less pollution so it is important to do your part to contribute to cleaner air for all of us. We already have far too much pollution in our air.

That is about all we can say so far about CARB Compliance as it relates to snow blowers, however we did find that it also applies to lawn mowers and most small engines in California. Also they have extended this compliance requirement to diesel engines as well which covers tractor trailers. Truckers you must pay attention to this requirement across the country, but especially in California.

Maintain Your Engine

A CARB compliant engine only really meets this condition as long as it is maintained well. This means changing the oil regularly and using the right gasoline for your engine.

Consumers can reduce the pollution caused by lawn mowers by making sure that the spark plug is always clean and gaped properly. They should use fresh gasoline. They should use a 4 cycle engine and not a 2 cycle engine which burns oil in the gasoline. The oil should be changed on a regular basis. Clean oil protects your engine as well. It will ensure that it lasts a lot longer than it would other wise. Even after 6 months of use, your oil will be black. It will not doing a very good job of lubricating your engine.

Many people do not bother with this kind of basic maintenance and a CARB compliant engine can quickly become non CARB compliant simply due to lack of good maintenance.  Take the time now to evaluate your oil right now in your snow blowers engine or your lawn mowers, consider  the last time it was changed and make arrangements to change your oil before you use your lawn mower again. Follow the standard safety procedures that are outlined and covered in your lawn mower’s manual.

If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, arrange for a handy man to do the work. Or take it into a small engine mechanic to have the oil changed. Keep your snow blowers engine running in an optimum manner to minimize pollution.





AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Snowblower Maintenance

April 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in General 1 Comment »

Snow Blower Maintenance KitWinter is Over for Most of Us, especially in the northern US, however for some people in Canada and those at higher elevations you may still have snow and get a lot of snow until even mid-June which is a really scary thought. You even might get a freak snowstorm in May, but it is getting pretty close to late spring and that means lots of sunshine and no snow. The good news is you do get snow is that it will not stay around very long. The warm sun is going to melt the snow quickly even if you have to clean it off the driveway and the front steps.  Once the snow is gone it is time to consider snowblower maintenance before you put your snowblower away for the summer.

Time for Snowblower Maintenance

This is probably the last thing I really want to think about at this time of year, but it is a good time to do some maintenance on your snowblower. It is too early to rake the lawn, it is too wet and it is too early to plant the garden or start thinking about planting flowers and shrubs. The ground is just not warm enough, in fact in some areas it could still be frozen.

So why not do some basic maintenance before you put your machine away for the summer and forget about all f the things you were going to do with your snowblower.

Make a List

If you are really not in the mood that is ok too. But at least make a list of things that you want to do with the snowblower. The list probably will include all of the standard things, and we will provide a partial list later on. But it should also include any maintenance items which you noticed while using the blower during the winter. No one wants to work when it was either too cold or not bad enough to worry about or both.

Add those items to your list now and tape them to your snowblower. If you leave it anywhere else you are going to forget where you put the list in the summer or next fall when you finally get around to completing the list.

Here is a Shortlist of Items to Check and Perform Maintenance

  • Change the oil
  • Empty the gas tank of all gasoline so it does not get old
  • Check the tire pressure
  • Check the belts
  • Grease all oil fittings
  • Spray rust inhibitor on any parts that are or might rust
  • Check all connections and linkages
  • Check and clean the spark plug
  • Special items that you have identified
  • Special items identified in your maintenance book

That is about it for this post. Just a short one to remind you that you can save yourself a lot of money through proper care and maintenance of your snowblower.  Mine is over 25 years old and still running well. I have changed the spark plug once and clean it every year. The oil is also changed every year. Moving parts are oiled or greased to ensure that they are all running smoothly. I also spray used engine oil on the frame to avoid and delay any rust due to the salt. It sometimes picks up salt from the snow that the plow pushes off the road.

Comments appreciated. For more information about repairs and maintenance information, click here.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Potholes – Winter is Almost Over

March 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in General 1 Comment »

Pot Holes - Winter is Almost OverWinter is almost over and most people cannot wait for it to be finished. Yet old man winter just keeps bringing one more storm to bother us after another and dumps all kinds of snow on us. Fortunately, most of this snow now is a combination of snow, wet snow, and rain and even if it does accumulate, we know that it is not going to last long. Winter also brings thaws and freezing cycles which is what causes these huge potholes all over the place.

They damage our cars and cost us thousands every year. City expenses are going up at an astronomical rate due to pensions and management costs, so they are cutting in other areas. Our roads are getting worse every year as repairs are not being made as fast as they should and this means that there are going to be more and more potholes to contend with.


We really have to be careful of the potholes that form in the streets. Potholes occur when there is a lot of fast freezing and thawing. When the water gets under the pavement, it freezes and pushes up a small section of asphalt and then the asphalt disintegrates as cars and trucks drive over it, leaving a hole in the road. There can be thousands of these potholes and they can really damage your car if you are not careful.

Damage to Your Car

In Toronto the other day, a man was knocked out when his car hit a pothole. Which was violent enough to trigger the airbag to be deployed. The airbag knocked him out as it deployed. He must have hit that pothole pretty hard at a fast rate of speed. How about that and it is a real story.

If you hit a large hole too hard, you can trigger this kind of reaction in your car. You can do even worse damage. Your tire could be punctured giving you a flat tire. You can also cause your alignment to be pushed out of whack. This will not show up for months until one day you notice that your tires are wearing unevenly. Then it is the cost of a new tire and an alignment. Which can go into five or 6 hundred dollars if you are not careful.

Potholes All Year Long

Although potholes seem to be the worst during the spring until the road crews are able to make repairs, there can be large potholes from at other times of the year as well. These are sections of pavement that are weak to start with and the continuous pounding of traffic will dislodge some of the asphalt leaving a hole. Drivers need to be watching the road at all times and trying to avoid these large potholes no matter what time of the year.

A monster pothole opened up one day after a rainstorm. Actually, it was a sinkhole that formed in the middle of the road. The road was undermined by a culvert that collapsed and the driver drove his car right into it. He was lucky to get out alive. His car was a write-off.

Slow Down Around Potholes

If you must go through a pothole, slow down and take your time. No damage to your car and you will not get knocked out or worse. My neighbor hit one. It cost him close to one thousand dollars to pay for the damages to his car. So what if it takes a little longer to get to the office. You will save yourself a lot of money, not to mention the frustration of having to get your car fixed!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Best Time to Buy a Snow Blower

August 22nd, 2010 ernie Posted in General 4 Comments »

Best Time to Buy a Snow BlowerIt is still summer time and who wants to buy a snow blower now or even think about the cold winter months that are just around the corner? However, for some people, it might be the best time, if you can take advantage of an early sale of last year’s models or machines that are this year and the vendor wants to move some of their product early in the year!

With today’s economy, the stores such as Home Depot, Walmart, and many others are motivated to improve their sales figures and move products. This could be the time to take advantage of sales they have or even strike a bargain with them and get ten or fifteen percent off. The best time of course is in the spring at the end of the season, however, if you missed that opportunity,  then the next best time is probably right now to take advantage of an early sale.

Snow Blower – Look for the Best Deal

Even though you may be able to take advantage of a sale for a snow blower, it is still important to figure out exactly what you need and want in a snow blower. There are lots of features,  sizes, and engine power to select from and since you will have it for some time, you want to make sure you purchase the best machine that will meet your needs.

We have talked about how to choose a snow blower in other posts, however, we will do a quick re-cap here to save you time in looking for the other post. The following is a list of criteria, in no particular order of priority since each person will attach different importance to each one depending on their own situation. Here goes:

  • Electric start vs pulling a starter chord
  • Width of snow chute for clearing snow
  • Engine power
  • One hand steering
  • Tire size and grip, with chains or not
  • Fuel tank size, important for large areas of snow clearing
  • Steel chute
  • Toolboxes
  • Clear out brush
  • Low noise muffler

Snow Blower – What is Important

For most people, the most important items will be the size of the clearance width and the engine power. You want a large enough machine so that you can clear snow quickly. However, if you have a small driveway, then there is no sense in spending a lot of money on a large snow blower. Remember that you have to store it somewhere in your garage or shed. You do not want to leave it outside all year long if you can help it.

Features such as lights, one-hand operation, electric start, and chains are all considerations, which add to the price and may be needed if you have the conditions that warrant these features. Figure out what you need and then look for a snow machine that meets your needs in the price zone that you are comfortable with.

We were just at one of the big box stores the other day and they have all of their snow blowers out on display. Costco also has snow blowers available. Check out the prices before the season starts and you may be able to find deals that save you a lot of money.

If you see deals at one of the big box chains, please let our readers know on this blog so that we can all save some money. Also just to let you know that if there are spam comments, we will delete those comments. Place a link to our page on your website back to ours. We will be happy to do the same.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Snow Clearing Services

July 21st, 2010 ernie Posted in General 1 Comment »

Snow Clearing ServicesIt is the middle of summer and who wants to even think about clearing snow and the cold winter that is coming. Yet this is the best time to start making arrangements as well as deciding whether you are going to purchase a snowblower and clear snow yourself or hires Snow Clearing Services. Calling early might net you a discount for early contract signing or a sale price on a snowblower, but make sure you do your homework in both cases.

Snow Clearing Services – Hire or Buy

For some people, the decision is pretty easy. They have no desire to be out in the cold weather clearing snow and are very willing to have someone come in whenever there is a snowfall. Other people look at the economics and for them, it is a clear decision. They want to have a snowblower and they want to do it themselves because they figure it will cost them less money over the life of the snowblower.

I fall into the latter group and would never consider hiring someone to clear the snow. But what are the economics of the decision? Once you get past the emotional part of the decision and the discomfort part of the decision it just comes down to cold hard dollars and a set of assumptions. We will try to list a few of these in our blog to help people make a decision for themselves.

Snow Clearing Services – Economics of Purchasing a Snow Blower

In making this type of analysis you really need to make a few assumptions. They will be different for each person based on where you live and how large a driveway you have. Adjust the numbers to fit your situation and recalculate to see what the trade-off is between hiring someone to do snow clearing for you vs. purchasing a snowblower.

Snow Clearing Services – Assumptions of Purchasing a Snow Blower

  • The medium cost of a snowblower is around $1200
  • Annual maintenance is approximately $100
  • Assume that you do not do your own maintenance
  • Operating cost is several tanks of gas, assume $30
  • Assume $300 in repairs every five years

The cost of owning and operating a snowblower over five years based on the above would be: $1200 to purchase the snowblower, 5 times $100 for maintenance, 5 times $30 for gas, and one repair of $300 for a total of $2150 in cost spread equally over five years is $530 per year. This is probably the most unfair advantage since while your operating costs will occur every year, we have spread the capital cost of $1200 over five years when we know that your snowblower will last much longer.

So let’s break this down slightly differently. Your average annual operating cost will be 5 times $100 for maintenance, 5 times $30 for gas and one repair of $300 for a total of $950 in cost spread equally over five years is $250 per year.

Assumptions of Hiring someone to do Snow Clearing For You

  • 2 car width driveway
  • no clearing of snow from the steps
  • snow cleared after 2 inches has fallen
  • snow cleared whenever snow plow has past
  • Clearing snow for months of Dec, Jan, Feb, and March
  • Snow clearing contract would be in the range of $450 per season

The total cost of snow clearing over five years is $2250 or $450 per year with potential increases each year.

The cost that you may have to pay for someone to come and clear your driveway really depends on the amount of snow you get on an average year and how large a driveway you have. Also whether you want them to clear your steps as well. Ask for a written quote and ensure that it specifies how they will handle the assumptions listed above.

Deciding To Buy a Snow Blower or Hire a Snow Clearing Service

Obviously, the numbers we have chosen for this analysis show that the cost of purchase vs. the cost of snow clearing is pretty close. In your situation, the numbers may be close to what we have assumed or they may be quite different. Substitute your own numbers based on your situation and the location where you live to help you make a decision regarding what you should do from a purely economic perspective.

You can also take into account the cost of money i.e. the interest rate you could earn if you invested the money or the interest you would pay if you borrow the money. With interest rates today, these numbers are pretty small and do not play a significant role in the decision to buy vs hire.

Assuming our variables are close to your situation, you will quickly realize that the decision to buy vs hire snow clearing services really comes down to an emotional issue. Do you really want to get out there and blow snow when it is cold and windy? Imagine you are trying to get to work on time and you have to be concerned about clearing the driveway so you can get your car out.

Enjoy Using Your Machine

Personally, I enjoy getting out and playing with my snowblower. Sometimes I will also clear snow from the neighbor’s driveway to give him a break. He will often return the favor as well for us.

Finally one last comment on the buy vs. hire decision. My snowblower is over 22 years old and I might have spent $500 on repairs over the past 22 years. I do all of the work myself and purchase any parts I need from a local repair shop. In my situation the decision is obvious. Buy the snowblower and clear the snow myself even if I need to hire someone to maintain the snowblower.

Feel free to make any comments on this post. We will be glad to add them as comments providing they are not spamming comments. For more general information about snow clearing, snow tire chains, and more, click here.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Snow Blowers

January 4th, 2010 ernie Posted in General 2 Comments »

Snow BlowersSnow blowers can be great time-saving devices as well as protecting and avoiding sore backs and keeping other sore muscles from developing. This site is aimed at helping consumers make decisions about whether they need a snow blower or not. What type they should purchase? What they need to know about maintaining their snow blowers as well as repairs.

If you would like to add comments about a particular snow blower, please feel free to add comments to our blog about snow blowers. There will always be someone who will find your comments useful

Snow Blowers – Why Buy One

Consumers purchase snow blowers for many reasons, however, the main health issue that consumers should be concerned about is triggering a heart attack while shoveling snow. A snow blower can prevent heart attacks, especially when the snow is heavy and wet. Many people every year suffer heart attacks while shoveling snow every year. If you do plan to shovel the snow from your driveway, take your time and if you do get short of breath, STOP and take a break! The snow can wait and you can always come back later to finish the job. If you are in a hurry, ask someone to help before you trigger a heart attack which can ruin your life.

Consumers also need to know that they should let the snowblower do its work. All you need to do is steer it and point the blowing snow in the proper direction. Many people make the mistake of trying to push or pull the snow blower when you can just engage the drive and steer it in the right direction. Let the tires or treads push the machine ahead and if you have chains on your tires, they will not slip and actually push the snow blower along at a steady clip. Trying to manhandle a 500-pound snow blower can be tough work and could trigger a heart attack as well. Let the machine do its work and you steer the machine!

Long Driveways

If you have a long driveway and the snowplow dumps a great deal of snow at the end of your driveway you may want to consider purchasing a snow blower. Double car driveways, lots of snow to shovel, walkways, and yards that need clearing are excellent reasons to purchase a snow blower. In later posts, we will talk about how you decide which snow blower is the right one for your needs.

Snow Blowers – Considerations

There are a number of things to keep in mind when you purchase a snow blower.

  • Size of your snow blower including engine size and width
  • Safety during operation of your snow blower
  • Maintenance of your snowblower on an annual and monthly basis
  • Adjustments and repairs to your snowblower
  • Storage of your snow blower during the off-season
  • Troubleshooting your snowblower if it does not operate properly
  • Can you find parts for your snow blower easily
  • Can you obtain repairs close to your home for your snow blower?

The items listed above are important and if you think about them, the answers will help you decide which snow blower provides the best solution for your application. Of course, the more features you have and the more powerful the snow blower is, the higher the price is going to be. Transportation can be an issue for delivery and also when you want to have your snow blower maintained or repaired.

Snow Blowers – Safety

Safety is paramount when operating your snow blower to ensure that you or anyone around you is not injured in any way. A few basic things to remember are:

  • Always have all guards in place, and never direct the discharge from your snow blower towards other people or windows.
  • Stop the engine and disconnect the spark plug if you need to remove debris from the auger.
  • Always keep the machine clean and free of oil and gasoline that may be spilled anywhere on your snow blower.
  • Never allow children to play or be around a running snowblower
  • Always tightly wrap scarves or other loose clothing so that there is no chance of these items getting caught in the snow blower.

Most people just look at the price and average sizes of snow blowers. They should also give some consideration to the warranty, the location, and the availability of a place to take your snow blower should it need maintenance or repairs. Parts availability is also an issue. Where do you get parts? Can you do some of the maintenance work yourself.

We will review all of these details and more in later posts about snow blowers.

Don’t Wait Until the Snow Comes

Most people will wait until that first major snowfall. Guess what so is everyone else and the chance of finding a snow blower on sale at this time is remote. In addition, consumers could find that there are no longer any snow blowers left for sale. This phenomenon almost every year just after a major snowfall. Consumers are fed up with shoveling snow and decide they are going to get a snow blower only to find that the store is sold out.

Features are also important to consider. Electric start, headlights, power chutes for angle and direction, dead man switch, ease of oil changes, snow guards and guides so you know where the edge of the snow blower is in deep snow, tire chains, battery electric start or plug-in electric start are all items that are convenient, but also drive up the price. So it helps to decide ahead of time regarding which features you consider must-haves and those that are considered nice to have vs. the price of these additional features.

Finally, if you do not see a subject that you are interested in please send us a comment and we will be happy to add a post on the issue you identify. Give us sufficient details so that we can adequately deal with your issue. We hope you enjoy our website and posts about snow blowers. We also have a website that reviews lawnmowers for consumers. Click here to proceed to our website about lawn mower reviews.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Web Content Development