Soon it will be time to clear snow off driveways and walkways. Before starting up the snow thrower this year, it’s important to follow proper safety procedures to prevent injury and review maintenance tips to keep your snow thrower in tip-top shape all winter.
“One of the most important things to do when getting ready to use a snow thrower is to read and understand all instructions before operating it,” says Jack Drobny, product marketing manager for MTD Products Inc. “When you’re ready to start up your snow thrower, always wear protective eyewear, like safety goggles, and make certain you wear proper winter gear.”
When operating a snow thrower, MTD Products recommends the following safety tips.
* Remember to inspect the area that is going to be cleared before using the machine, and remove any objects from the area that may cause harm; such as doormats, newspapers, sleds, wires, pet leashes and other objects that can be tripped on or pulled into the auger and/or impeller.
* Always use an approved chute clearing device to clear a clogged chute; never use your hands.
* Remember that children age 14 and under should not operate a snow thrower.
If you are looking to buy a snow thrower, it’s important to know which is right for you. If you receive light snowfall, about 0 to 6 inches at a time, and have a smaller area to clear; try the Yard Machines Snow Fox Electric Single-Stage snow thrower, which has a 12.5 inch clearing width and a 6 inch intake height. For a slightly larger driveway, about 20 to 40 feet long, that receives light snowfalls, a gas powered single-stage snow thrower may be best for you.
If you live in an area that receives more than 6 inches of snow at a time, try a two-stage snow thrower, like the Yard Machines Summit Series with an electric start and a 30 inch clearing width. Two-stage snow throwers break up snow with an auger (stage one), churn it up and send it to the impeller; a high-speed fan that throws it out of the chute (stage two). These snow throwers are larger and are ideal for long driveways, compacted snow and heavy snowfalls.
If you already own a snow thrower, maintaining it is an important step for smooth winter operation. Here are a few tips to help keep your snow thrower running properly.
* Add fresh fuel before you use your snow thrower for the first time and prime the unit as specified by the engine manufacturer to make starting easier.
* Change your oil and spark plug at the beginning of each season, and check the oil before each use.
* Run the unit regularly, at least once a month, to circulate the fuel – even if there’s no snow.
* Always use a manual pump or portable electric tire inflator to inflate your snow thrower’s tires because the tires are low-volume, low-pressure tires. Do not use an air compressor, because it is generally a high-volume, high-pressure unit that is capable of overinflating a tire quickly, possibly rupturing the tire assembly and causing harm.
* Always turn off the engine and wait for it to come to a complete stop before performing any repairs.
* Run your snow thrower out of fuel before putting it away for the season.
* Look for signs of wear and tear, and take the unit to a dealership for a tune-up or have it serviced if it has been a while since the last visit.
* Check and make sure there are no recalls associated with your snow thrower by visiting snowthrowersafety.com or the CPSC’s website.
For more information on winter health and safety, visit www.snowthrowersafety.com.