Get snowblowers, shovels and de-icers ready now in advance of Thursday’s big snow say small engine shops and hardware stores

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 12:40 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Put the choke on full, press the primer three or so times and pull with a rapid motion. That should be all it takes to breath life into your snowblower after a big snow. That and preventive maintenance while giving the rig a healthy dose of respect.

Stop the engine first when cleaning clogged snowblowers
Stop the engine first when cleaning clogged snowblowers(kbjr)

“They are powerful machines that can move a lot of snow and hurt you if you don’t do it right.” said Scott Cyr of Denny’s Lawn and Garden.

Preventative maintenance tips include keeping up on the engine oil, keeping the spark plug clean and keeping ethanol gas away from older engines. New ones can use E10 but none should use E15. Too much alcohol can dissolve carburetor parts. If your blower won’t start despite your best efforts, Cyr reports wait times to get into a shop are down at the moment.

Shoveling should be done with lift from legs and arms rather than backs.
Shoveling should be done with lift from legs and arms rather than backs.(kbjr)

Some folks prefer silent snow removal techniques and that’s where a shovel fits the bill. Look for one that is ergonomically designed and use it like you would lift a package: with legs and arms rather than back.

“I drop it down and lift it and toss to the side and use arms more than the back.” said Michael Moran of Denny’s Ace Hardware while demonstrating a shovel.

This is a sign of the times - out of de-icer for the time being. Keep in mind that rubbing alcohol, epsom salt and salt substitutes are safer for the environment than rock salt.

“Rock salt is going to pit your concrete and the wood of your deck, I’d use things that specifically say surface safe.” said Moran.

If the snow coming our way turns out to be too much for snowblowers, shovels and de-icers, there’s always snowplows. But, those have their own safety and maintenance tips and we’ll save that for another snow storm.

Scott Cyr states that many snowblowers have come into his shop with broken belts this year. That is from leaving snow and ice in the auger area rather than cleaning it out after use. He says to make sure the packed snow and ice from the last storm are cleaned away every time.

Click above for the video version of the story and to learn more about non-salt de-icers.