It seems that a homeowner’s work is never done. In the fall, spring and summer you need to mow the lawn, fertilize at the right time and make certain that your patch of heaven gets just the right amount of water so that it displays a luscious green.
And although not much work needs be done on the lawn during the winter, you still have to rid your driveway and walkway of snow. Many people use shovels. Others use snow blowers.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons point out that several thousand people suffer injuries when ridding their driveway and walkway of snow. From muscle strains to heart attacks, the chore of clearing snow is not a fun.
Still, if you live in a snowy region of the country and you can’t or won’t hire a neighborhood kid to shovel the snow, you are going to have to do it yourself.
More and more people are turning to snow blowers rather than a shovel to clean snow off of their property. It’s quick, and for the most part, painless. Still, you need to know how to perform the job.
If you live in a region of the country that gets a lot of snow each year, then you’ve become an expert in handling the snow blower. If you live in an area of the country where it doesn’t snow as much and there isn’t much of it when it does fall, then you may be more of a novice at the job.
Those who know through experience suggest that you don’t charge right into the task, but rather plan out a strategy.
First, you want to know which way the wind is blowing. You want to blow the snow with the wind. Not against it. It sounds so simple and logical. However, it is essential if you don’t want to find yourself doing the job again because the wind blew the snow back on to your driveway or walkway. Keep checking the direction the wind is blowing because it could change as you perform the project.
Second, you need to determine where you will pile up the snow. You will probably want to collect the snow in the same area every time you have to blow during or after a storm. If you live in a region where there is a lot of snow each winter, then the pile could get pretty high over time. This could present safety issues. So when piling up the snow, keep a few things in mind.
· You want to be sure that you can see the street traffic when you are exiting your driveway. So piling the snow next to the end of the driveway may not be a wise choice. Spread the piles on to other areas of your property.
· Don’t pile snow against your house. It could lead to flooding problems when the mound melts.
· Consider the weight of the snow as you pile it up on structures or plants.
· Don’t blow snow directly at buildings or vehicles. The blower could pick up and blow out rocks and other debris.
· Keep kids in mind when piling the snow. The mounds you create can end up being traps for them to fall through or from. You also want to be sure that the height of the mound does not visually hide children when they walk on the sidewalk.
Third, you will want to determine a pattern or strategy to clearing the snow. This will assure that you go over an area only once. The pattern you select will depend on the speed and direction of the wind, the power of the snow blower you are using, and the moisture content of the snow.
Don’t throw snow over an area you will be passing over later. Instead, blow the snow on to its final resting place with each pass. This means you can start by going left to right or right to left or start in the middle and work each side alternately. Keep adjusting the snow blower’s chute direction and height to land the snow in its final location with one pass.
Fourth, prepare the snow blower and yourself.
· Fuel it.
· Check the oil. Snow blowers can burn oil without smoking. If more oil is needed, put it in and make certain that it is the right oil to use with the machine.
· Tuck your clothes in so that they can’t be caught in the blower. Wear gloves, safety glasses, earplugs, and cleats so that you don’t slip over ice.
· Due to the earplugs and the noise of the blower you will not hear traffic. So often look for traffic when snow blowing near a road or have a helper spot traffic for you and warn you when it is coming.
Fifth, know how to use the snow blower. For example, if you’ve never used one before, read the manual before starting the job. Adjust the chute so that the machine blows the snow where you want it to go. Clear a path keeping both hands on the blower at all times. Clear the ice and snow. However, don’t clear slush because it can clog the machine.
It’s possible that the snow blower will stop suddenly if it encounters cracks or uneven spots. Keep your arms extended so you have time to react.
Sixth, after passing over the entire sidewalk or driveway with the blower, finish up with a shovel. The snow blower will remove about 95 percent of the snow. The remaining 5 percent can be handled without difficulty with the shovel.
Finally, when you have finished with the snow blower, let it run for a few minutes so that snow build-up is removed.