Buying a Snow Blower

August 30th, 2011 admin Posted in Seasonal No Comments »

While it is still late summer or early fall depending on when you are reading this it is that time to start thinking about snow clearing in the winter time if you live in the northern US or just about anywhere in Canada. Although it may seem early, this is also the time when you can negotiate the best deals with companies who will come and clear your driveway in the winter time or when you can purchase a snow blower from one of the hardware stores that carry this equipment. Also if you already have a snow blower then it is time to do a tune up and get it ready for the winter while it is still warm and easy to work on.

Snow Clearing Services vs. Do It Yourself

More and more people seem to be opting for using local snow clearing services in our neighborhood. You see the distinctive marking posts at the end of the driveway that let the operator know where the driveway ends and also enables the company to advertise their service. One company has even placed his phone number on his marking signs which I thought was really smart advertising!

The question is should you use one of these services or should you clear the driveway yourself? Most people simply cannot be bothered going out on a cold day to clear snow so they get the service. It seems to work well for everyone and most companies will work all night in order to have driveways cleared before you go to work. They will follow along behind the snow plows and only clear a driveway after the snow plow has gone down the street. This seems to save them time and money by not having to go back an hour later to clear the snow from the end of the driveway that the snow plow left there.

They also will not clear your driveway unless there is typically more than an inch of snow, however this may vary by contract. You can also arrange for them to clean steps and walk ways for an additional fee.

Consumers like this service, especially if they are not comfortable with using a snow blower or perhaps are too old or out of shape to be shoveling snow.

Using a Snow Blower

Even if you have to purchase a snow blower brand new and get one of the average 30 inch models, which seems to be the standard size for urban snow blowers, it will be cheaper in the long run for you. Snow clearing services for a single  car driveway will be in the neighborhood of $300 a year, plus or minus while you can purchase a snow blower for approximately $1000 plus or minus depending on features. A new feature I wish that I had is one that keeps the handles warm. My fingers always freeze when I am clearing snow. If you have a larger driveway, your snow clearing charges from a service company will be even higher.

So within 4 years taking into account servicing, you will have paid for your snow blower with the money you saved by not hiring a snow clearing service.  Payback will be even faster if you have a larger driveway! Many men enjoy getting out and using their snow blower and even chatting with other neighbors who are doing the same thing.

Some neighbors have tried using a snow blower and just could not deal with it. They are not mechanically minded and found it just easier to hire someone. They also did not have a place to store a snow blower so for them buying a snow blower really was a non starter. In addition if you are over weight , you really should not be shoveling snow since this could induce a heart attack.

My own snow blower is now 22 years old and it has paid for it self almost 8 times compared to hiring a service. This includes maintenance which I am able to do as well.

Snow Blower Maintenance

As with any machine that has an engine and moving parts they will need maintenance from time to time. At the very least the oil should be changed every year, the tire pressure checked and moving parts should be lubricated. Check the user manual to confirm the annual maintenance activities that should be completed.

Most of the maintenance is pretty straightforward and can be completed by many consumers. However if you are uncomfortable in doing even this basic level of maintenance, then you will want to take this into account before you purchase a snow blower.

Since my machine is older, I have had to change tires, change belts and even replacing several bushings.  The work was not difficult, however I did have to order and pick up the parts and then spend a few hours doing the maintenance work. If I had had to take it into a mechanic for service, I probably would have been better off to just purchase a new machine instead of paying for parts and labor. This is an individual decision and there is no right answer.

Safety

If you plan to do the maintenance yourself follow the directions in the manual to be sure that you will not hurt yourself or someone with you while working on the snow blower. They are powerful machines and can cut off a finger or hand in the blink of an eye. Always disconnect the spark plug before doing any work on your snow blower and never work on a snow blower when it is still running.

If you plug your snow blower with snow and have to clear it, make sure it is turned off before you try to clear the snow from the augers and impeller. Many companies now provide a tool for this purpose so that consumers will not get their hands cut off while unplugging a snow blower.

If you do not  have one of these tools use an old broom handle or something similar to avoid endangering your hands or arms. Never and we are repeating this because it is so important, never put your hands in were the auger of the impeller can grab hold of them or part of your clothing.

Comments are welcome regarding your thoughts on purchasing a snow blower or hiring a snow clearing service.

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Merry Christmas from Zazbot Discount Shopping

December 17th, 2007 admin Posted in Seasonal 1 Comment »

A big Merry Christmas to all Zazbot shoppers. We’ll keep on researching products in the new year, as we have taken on some extra staff to research even MORE items of interest. Read the rest of this entry »

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