Posts Tagged With: Snow removal

How to Choose a Snow Blower that’s Right for You

To keep this winter’s snow tamed and out of the way of your home, your car and your family, a snow blower is an essential tool. Used in conjunction with a snow shovel and ice melt, snow blowers can clear even the most monumental accumulation with a little forethought and elbow grease – from removing that snow plow ridge at the foot of the driveway to keeping the front stoop free of falling precipitation.

It’s All About the White Stuff

Knowing what type of snow your area typically gets (and how much of it) helps to determine which snow blower is right for your snow removal job.

Single Stage v. Two Stage Snow Blower Comparison

Snow blowers are available in all sizes, depending on the typical conditions you face on a snow removal job. For short driveways and moderate amounts of snow, look for a smaller, easier-handling model. To tackle the occasional heavy storm, choose a mid-sized model. Long, hilly driveways probably require a larger snow blower with power-driven wheels.

However, engine size is not the only consideration. Maneuverability is just as important, especially if you have smaller areas that need clearing. Snow blowers can be powered by gas or electricity. Gas-powered models may be loud and require ear plugs. For electric models, use an outdoor extension cord. Also, consider the kind of storage space you can devote to a snow blower when not in use.

Types of Snow Blowers

A good snow blower is one that performs the easiest clean-up for the type of snow you’re removing.

1. Single-stage electric models: small units that pull in snow and throw it out the chute in one step.

  • Best in 4 inches or less of snow
  • Best for short, level driveways, decks and walks
  • Lightest, smallest, quietest and easiest to handle
  • No need to fuel
  • Less engine maintenance
  • Requires multiple passes for complete removal
  • Not effective on steep slopes
  • Power cord limits range

2. Single-stage gas models: small-to-midsize units that pick up and throw snow using a rubber-tipped auger to help propel the machine.

  • Best in 8 inches or less of snow
  • Best for level, midsized paved driveways and walks
  • More powerful than electric units; still light and easy to handle
  • Clear more snow in one pass
  • Four-cycle gas engines are fueled with straight gasoline with electric starts
  • Poor choice for gravel driveways and steep slopes
  • Require regular engine maintenance

3. Two-stage gas models: pick up using an impeller behind the auger to help throw snow out the chute.

  • Best in 8 inches or higher snow
  • Best for long, wide driveways
  • Larger, more powerful, propelled by engine-driven wheels
  • Can handle steeper inclines
  • Best on gravel
  • Relatively heavy
  • Requires regular engine maintenance

More Tips on Renting or Buying

  • Be comfortable with handle height and chute adjustment
  • Look for a “dead-man control,” a safety feature that stops the spinning auger and impeller when the handlebar grip is released
  • Check for a handle or joystick that controls the height and direction of snow throwing with ease
  • Ask about plug-in electric starting for gas-powered models, which is easier that using a pull cord
  • Consider a model with a headlight, if you need to work in the dark
  • Typically included with a snow blower is a clearing tool – a plastic stick used for safely clearing clogs
  • Ask about the choice of speeds, which can help prevent clogs through heavy snow

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with any snow removal project. Runyon Rental is a proud dealer of Honda snow blowers. Find all of our snow blowers for rent here or buy one here. For more information on snow blowers and snow removal, read our two blogs, “Be Sure You Have a Snow Blower this Winter – a True Must-Have Item” and “4 Cold Weather Basics: Your Guide to Snow Removal (Part 1)”.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

4 Cold Weather Basics: Your Guide to Snow Removal (Part 1)

Cold Weather Basics Part 1 - Snow RemovalHow prepared are you for winter this year? We’re here to help you navigate all the challenges of the season with the first of a four-part special edition of our blog, outlining the basics of cold weather preparedness. Today, we’re talking snow removal.

From clearing walkways to freeing your car of snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice, keep your family and guests safe by stocking up on a few products that help you remove cold weather precipitation with ease. In addition to checking the anti-freeze in your cars, make sure to have extra on hand in the garage. Keep at least one window scraper in each of your cars and one in the garage, for hard-to-lift ice that can blur your line of sight while driving. If the locks on your car, or on your front door, get frozen shut, a spray can of deicer can help tremendously. It can also help free windows from ice, allowing them to open as usual.

Heavy Snow Removal

Large amounts of snow can be removed using a snow blower. The deicer can also help clear the machine’s moving parts of ice and compacted snow, along with a wire brush and a spray can of lubricant. Make sure to test the snow blower before a storm and keep the necessary spare parts ready in case they’re needed.

Whether you use a snow blower or not, there is almost always a need to shovel snow. An ordinary snow shovel can be a homeowner’s best friend this winter, as predictions for Arctic blasts in eastern United States remain pretty high. Maintain a shovel like any other piece of equipment, hammering out areas of the metal that get crumpled with use, tightening loose handles or removing burrs from plastic.

Take care of yourself, too. Here are four tips for safe snow shoveling:

  1. Prepare physically for the task. As with any physical exercise, stretch legs, back and shoulders before you start. Dress warmly in loose-fitting layers that come off easily as you exert yourself, but can be added quickly during a rest. Pace yourself and rest frequently, keeping hydrated. And when you’re done, stretch tired muscles once more, to avoid tight, inflamed body parts.
  1. Have a snow removal plan. Decide where you will dump the snow. Start by brushing off the cars then clearing around them, moving the first shovelfuls to the farthest edge of the driveway, so the last shovelfuls are moved the shortest distance. This way, you won’t have to move the snow twice, if it’s piled in the way of more snow that needs to be removed. Work in thin layers and several passes, which is easier and safer than hefting one over-heavy shovelful.
  1. Use a healthy technique. Shoveling snow is hard work. Use your large leg muscles to lift shovelfuls and push snow out of way as much as possible. Use your knees to squat, holding the shovel as close to your upper body as possible, protecting your back. Hold the shovel with two hands (one close to the blade) for better leverage. Get your shoulder muscles into the throwing action, avoiding a twist in your upper body as much as possible.
  2. Let Mother Nature help the melting process. After removing heavy snow from driveways, sidewalks and other walkways around your house, keep them clear with ice melt. Check if the ice melt you buy can be used on concrete (especially new concrete) as certain formulas can cause new concrete to fail. Then, let the strong winter sun do the rest.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with the cold weather basics of snow removal. From snow blowers to rent or buy, to shovels and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Be Sure You Have a Snow Blower this Winter – a True Must-Have Item

It’s been a strange winter thus far, with warm weather and exceedingly cold weather. Have you adjusted well to the changes, especially the snow? Besides considering a portable generator, a snow blower is another essential piece of winter equipment to have handy. So find out everything you need to know about the second item on your winter must-have list:

  1. Portable Generator
  2. Snow Blower
  3. Outdoor and Indoor Heaters
  4. Ice Melt

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of the Snow Blower.

One of several DIY solutions for efficient snow removal, the snow blower, could be one of the most loved power tools in your garage! Why? If shoveling is physically impossible or you’re not going to hire someone else to shovel, using a snow blower can save you a lot of time and sweat equity.Use a snow blower

Choose the right snow blower for the job. First, you’ve got to identify your “snow removal profile” – how much snow you need to clear from how large an area. Then, take into consideration what the terrain is like and what kind of snow is falling, most of the time. Will you be pushing the snow blower up a slope, or running it right down the driveway in a straight, level line? Is the snow wet, icy, powder or in-between? All of these factors come into play while you’re pondering in the snow blower isle at the store.

Snow blowers come in three types: single-stage electric,  single-stage gas and two-stage gas. More than one of these types may be able to handle your typical snow-clearing job.

Single-Stage Snow Blowers

  • Lighter
  • Easier to handle
  • Best in light snowfalls of eight inches or less
  • Great for clearing small to medium-sized areas
  • Best for paved surfaces

Electric single-stage models tend to be lighter and more compact that gas units. They start with the push of a button and require an outdoor extension cord to operate. Larger gas-powered single-stage snow blowers on the other hand, are not tethered to a power cord, and typically can clear wider, higher areas.

Two-Stage Snow Blowers

  • A larger engine and intake area clears more snow faster
  • Best in medium to heavy snowfalls in excess of eight inches
  • Great for driveways over 60 feet
  • Two-stage operation prevents clogging in heavy, wet snow
  • Cut through hard-packed snow or ice

Some two-stage snow blowers have engine-driven wheels that can handle uneven or sloped terrain. The push-propelled models are best for level surfaces. You can also use tire chains with some models for more traction in all conditions. Chances are, you’ll still need to shovel around parked cars and for finishing work.

Don’t forget a gas can! Easy-to-use, spill-proof gas cans are ideal to keep on hand for fueling gas-powered tools like snow blowers.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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