You don’t want to wait until snow has started piling up in your driveway to prepare yourself for the winter season. If you have a snow blower, you will want to make certain that it is ready to throw some snow, especially after last year’s mild winter.
“If it’s been sitting, you should definitely check the gas, make sure the gas is still able to run and that it doesn’t have a bad odor to it. The next thing they should do is check the spark plug, and make sure it doesn’t have any ash or black residue on it that is super thick,” said Matt McKay of McKay’s Hardware in Holly. It is also important to check the oil on your snow blower before starting it for the season.
If all else fails, McKay said, take it in to have it prepped professionally.
If you don’t already own a snow blower, perhaps now is the time to consider buying one. First, you will want to look at the snow blower that does what you need. “You really should buy what is going to suit your needs. There is no sense in buying a heavy duty snow blower if you only have a small driveway,” McKay said.
When looking to purchase one, you will have to select between a single-stage and a two-stage snow blower.
“If you have a paved driveway, you can get away with a one-stage, but they are not self-propelled,” said Jeremiah Sloan of Sloan’s Hardware in Linden. “Two stages are self-propelled, they do better on hills and if you have longer driveways. Also if you have a gravel drive, the two-stage snow blower works better because you can pick it up so it’s not actually dragging along the ground and sucking all the gravel into it and throwing it around your yard.”
Sloan said that single stages will do well with the light fluffy snow, though if you are dealing with the heavier and deeper snow, you will want a two-stage snow blower.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to snow blowers you can look into electric shovels. Brad Caruso of Taylor Hardware in Fenton said that they have been out for a few years, but have become a lot more popular in the last two years.
“They’re really nice for wood decks, because they are not going to hurt the wood as they are light,” said Caruso. “They are narrow, only 12 inches I believe – so you aren’t going to go out and do the driveway with it. They are for the deck or the sidewalk maybe. The downside is you are obviously going to draw the power cord along with you, and some people may not like it.”
If you are looking to pick up a normal, non-electric shovel, your options are somewhat limited. Jeff Stone of Sear’s Hometown Store in Fenton has an ergonomic shovel for people with back issues, and a Craftsman shovel that boasts a lifetime warranty.
“The best thing to know is to not shovel in heavy snow,” said Stone. In those cases, you may be better off for your health to have a snow blower. If that is the option you go with, Stone’s advice is still the same as everyone else’s.
“See a local dealer and tell them what you are trying to accomplish, and they can put you in the right snow blower,” Stone said. There is a size for every need.”