Last Updated on November 6, 2023 by Kyle Whitley
So you have decided that you are done with shoveling the snow and want to invest in a good quality electric snow blower to make life easier for your snow clearing tasks. The only thing holding you back is that you are not sure how to use an electric snow blower to clear your driveway and pathway.
We have put together this small guide on using an electrical snow blower that will help make things easier for you. So let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Do Snow Blowers Work?
- 2 How Much Snow Can You Clear?
- 3 How do you use an Electric Snow Blower?
- 4 Preparation for Using a Snow Blower
- 5 Plan a Route
- 6 Using the Snow Blower
- 7 Do Not Rush and Keep it Slow and Steady
- 8 Do Not Run on Gravel Surfaces
- 9 Things to Avoid
- 10 Summing it up
How Do Snow Blowers Work?
A snow blower is a powerful machine that can heave snow away with minimal effort. Bigger models are capable of blowing snow up to 50 feet away, depending on the model. Previously, it was best to leave them to professionals. These days, snow blowers are easy to operate and anyone can learn to handle them in a few minutes.
A snow blower has a spinning auger or paddle at the bottom that feeds snow into the tube or chute attached at the top that blows snow away in a narrow spray. Some electric snow blowers operate at a standard speed while more expensive models allow you to adjust the augers speed power.
Types of Electric Snow Blowers
There two types of electric snowblowers a single stage snow blower and dual stage snow blower. Single stage snow blowers have a single auger or paddle that feeds snow into the discharge chute. Dual or two-stage blowers have an additional impeller in front of the discharge chute to help pull in and discharge more snow in a given period of time. There are quite a few manufactures that produce snow blowers:
Another thing to consider is corded vs cordless snow blowers. A corded snowblower aka a plug-in electric snow blower will require you to use extension cords, and be close to an electrical outlet. Cordless snow blowers work on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Read up the instructions manual that came with the snow blower so that you know where all the gears and buttons are. It will also include proper maintenance and cleaning instructions that will help you extend its life.
How Much Snow Can You Clear?
Electric snow blowers are lightweight and offer moderate power. They are a good option when you are looking to clear away snow that is no more than a couple of feet deep.
Single Stage Snow Blower- Most modern single stage electric snow blowers have an intake height of around 12″ and a width around 21″. They are intended for light snow and in reality while the intake is larger the single stage snow blower will work best where the snow is 6 inches deep or less. You should have no issue clearing paths or smaller driveways.
Dual Stage Snow Blower- Dual stage electric snow blowers have an intake height of around 20″ and a width of 24″. These two-stage snow blowers can clear heavy snow much easier. They have the power to clear heavy snowfall that is much deeper. They can also clear larger areas faster.
Electric snow blowers can be used to clean walkways as well as driveways. They can also be used to clear decks and patios where you can’t take gas-powered models due to their weight or bulky size. Regardless of the model you use, excessively wet snow can be an issue for either type of model.
For cordless snow blowers, the battery lasts 1 – 2 hours, depending on size. If you will be using the snow blower for longer than that, make sure to get multiple batteries and have them charged while you work.
How do you use an Electric Snow Blower?
When you get ready to use your snow blower there are a few things you need to think about prior to using the snow blower.
Preparation for Using a Snow Blower
Before you start using the snow blower, make sure to do a check for the following.
- Clear away all foreign or large objects from your driveway and sidewalks. Remove any dead branches, plants, paper, or other debris that can get stuck in the snow blower.
- Ensure that the batteries are fully charged. If you are using a corded snow blower, ensure that you have enough extension wire to get the machine as far as you will need.
- Wear appropriate clothes that won’t get stuck on any parts of the snow blower. We also recommend using safety glasses, gloves, and thick snow shoes.
Plan a Route
Pick a spot to throw away the snow. If you want to pile it up on the sides of your driveway, then it is best to cut a single path down the center, then work your way out towards the edges.
If you want to pile it up on one side only, then start on the opposite edge and slowly work your way towards the side where you want to pile up the snow.
One thing to keep in mind is the direction the wind is blowing. You don’t want to discharge the snow into or against the wind as it will just blow right back where you have just tried to clear.
Using the Snow Blower
Make sure that the auger and drive lever or switch are disengaged when you start. Pick your starting spot and turn the machine on. Engage the auger and then the drive lever or switch.
Keep both hands on the machine as much as you can while the snowblower is running. This will give you quick access to the controls to turn it off. It also gives you support in case you lose your balance and begin to slip.
Do Not Rush and Keep it Slow and Steady
Cleaning away snow isn’t a race to see how fast you can do it. If you move too quickly through deep snow, it can clog up the blower pipes. If the snow gets stuck in the blower, you will have to spend time cleaning it out or even have to replace a shear pin. Set a steady pace depending on how deep the snow is.
Make slow, easy turns. Keep an eye on how much snow is being sucked in and blown out to adjust your movement. Trying to run through it quickly can also cause you to slip and fall.
The good thing about an electric snow blower is that turning a single stage snow blower is easier than a two stage snow blower. It will feel almost like using a push lawn mower. One steady turn and you’re ready for the next pass on the driveway. Don’t forget to rotate the chute when required.
Do Not Run on Gravel Surfaces
Single stage snow blowers are best used with paved surfaces only. This is because the auger paddles come directly into contact with the ground to push snow into the chute. If you run it on gravel, there is a risk that you will pick up stones and pebbles and send them flying everywhere.
Things to Avoid
While operating your snow blower, do not forget about all these important safety issues.
- Do not leave your snow blower unattended while it is on. Turn it off even if you need to step away for just a second.
- Do not try to clean out the augers or chute with your hands or feet. Use a proper cleaning tool.
- Do not point the chute at people, buildings, or cars. It isn’t water spraying out and the snow can lead to an injury.
- Do not start the snow blower in an enclosed area. Always start in the open.
- Do not use the snow blower to clear anything other than snow. Clear away debris before you start.
Summing it up
The electric snow blower is one of the easiest types of snow removal machines to operate. It is lightweight, easy to control, and doesn’t require any heavy lifting. Electric snow blowers can make a difficult task of snow removal and make it so much easier. With modern electric powered models, it takes only about five minutes of instruction before you are out there removing the winter white stuff by yourself!