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How to Choose and Use a Snowblower

This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shares tips for safely clearing snow from driveways and walkways.

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shares tips for safely clearing snow from driveways and walkways with Kevin O'Connor.

How to Turn on and Use a Snowblower:

There are two basic types of snowblowers: single-stage and two-stage.

Starting a single-stage snowblower

  1. A single-stage model has a rubber auger that scoops and throws the snow.
  2. To start a single-stage snowblower, use the pull cord or electric start.
  3. Wear hearing protection when using any snowblower.
  4. Single-stage snowblowers are efficient when blowing snow up to about 8 inches deep. To clear away deeper snow, get a two-stage machine.

Starting a two-stage snowblower

A two-stage snow blower has a steel auger that feeds snow into a high-speed impeller, which then throws the snow through the chute.

  1. Two-stage machines have two handle levers: one drives the self-propelled wheels; the other lever engages the auger and impeller.
  2. Pull open the choke, slide up the motor-speed lever, then push the primer bulb three times to prime the engine.
  3. Yank hard on the pull cord to start the engine. Press in the choke.
  4. Before it snows, clear the driveway of all downed branches, toys, newspapers, and other debris.
  5. Be sure to know the location of all landscape light fixtures positioned along the edge of the driveway. You don't want to run over them with the snowblower.
  6. Have a few extra shear pins on hand, in case one breaks.
  7. Never clear a clogged impeller or auger with your hand. Turn off the engine and use a wooden stick to dislodge the clog.