Winter is coming and that means snow. If you dread the idea of having to shovel out your driveway, then now is the time to plan for proper snow removal with a machine. There are three methods. The first involves purchasing a single stage snow blower. The second is to get a dual stage snow blower. Finally, you can hire someone to come and plow your driveway.
Here are the three options and a brief discussion of each.
Single Stage Snow Blowers
These are the smallest snow blowers on the market. They are called single stage because they remove snow in one step. The auger churns up the snow and expels it through a chute in a single movement. They can either run on gas, or via an electrical cord.
The auger acts like a paddle and tosses snow out. If the snow is very deep, it can cause the auger to get stuck because it cannot expel the snow fast enough. Also, the auger blade on a single stage snow blower resembles a horizontal paddle, whereas a dual stage auger blades resembles vertical teeth. These paddles will have a difficult time with icy, hard packed snow.
Single stage blowers are not designed for very large properties. If you get the type that runs on an electrical cord, you will have a limited range of motion. Couple this with the fact that single stage snow blowers are not designed to move deep or hard packed snow, and you will end up using a shovel after all.
Lastly, single stage snow blowers don't work on gravel driveways. The gravel gets sucked up into the machine and will damage it. The auger blade touches the ground and will churn up rocks and gravel.
What they are good for are small, paved driveways. If you have a small driveway, and don't get much snow, then a single stage snow blower is great.
Dual Stage Snow Blowers
These snow blowers have two stages. The first stage involves the auger. The second stage involves the impeller.
The auger blades are serrated, which helps to break up ice and hard packed snow. The auger churns up the snow and feeds it to an impeller.
The impeller looks like a fan. It is located behind the front auger. The impeller expels the snow out through the side chute.
These snow blowers all run on gas. This is because they are very heavy and need a motor to move. A single stage snow blower can be manually pushed around, but a dual stage snow blower needs an engine to help it move.
They are designed to handle heavy snowfall. The vertical blades on the auger easily break up icy snow as well. Plus, they can be used on gravel driveways because the auger blades never make contact with the ground. They are slightly raised.
The dual stage snow blowers also have a feature called a "scraper blade", which is a wedge of steel that is attached to the very bottom of the snow blower, behind the augers. This blade scrapes the ground clean of the remaining snow but doesn't propel anything up into the machine. This helps prevent gravel and rocks from damaging the auger blades and impeller.
The downside is that these machines are large and heavy. You will need to service them (change oil and spark-plugs, clean air filters.) This is not something that you have to worry about with small electrical models.
If you have a large driveway, or a gravel one, then you should think about a dual stage snow blower. Also, if you live somewhere that receives heavy snow falls, then you will need a dual stage snow blower.
A Hired Plow
If you're driveway is large, and you don't feel like getting out there with blower, then you should hire a snow removal expert (like those at landscape supplies from Peel Landscape Depot). You can arrange a deal with them before the snow season starts. You should opt for the plowman to show up only after a certain amount of snow has fallen. Otherwise, you will be paying them to show up every time there is a flurry.
Remember that even if you get a powerful snow blower, you will still have to get out there and use it. So, if you don't feel like heading outside in the bitter cold every time it snows heavy, arrange for a plowman to take care of your driveway.