5 Tips for Efficient Snow Removal After Large Storms

Snowblowing

In most cases, the degree of difficulty in removing snow is directly related to the size of the storm that dumped it. If you are getting ready to take your snowblower out to remove a heavy accumulation, there are 5 steps that can increase your efficiency and shorten the time it takes to finish the job.

  • Fuel up first – Starting the job with a full tank can prevent the time-consuming process of letting the machine cool down, walking back for fuel, re-fueling, and then taking the empty tank back to the garage or storage area before re-starting the job.
  • Determine where you’ll be throwing your snow – The purpose of this step is create a clearing pattern that minimizes the necessity of making repeat passes for snow that is thrown but doesn’t clear the area. For example, if the snow will be thrown to only one place, you’ll want start the job on the far side of the area so that you can clear snow that has been thrown short as your passes get closer to the outer perimeter.
  • Start the job at the center of the area if you’ll be throwing snow in multiple directions – The removal of snow from middle of the area will shorten the distance to all areas where snow is being thrown, but in larger areas some of the thrown snow still may not clear the perimeter. By clearing snow around the perimeter with your last passes you can clear both the snow resulting from the storm as well as the snow that was thrown short at the beginning of the job in a single pass.
  • Make adjustments for the wind – High winds can shorten or lengthen throwing distances, so adjust your starting point to take advantage of longer throws as well as to compensate for shorter ones.
  • Take smaller cuts and more passes in deep snow – Muscling a snowblower through deep snow can take a toll on both the machine and the operator. Instead, by narrowing your cuts and taking more passes your machine will pick up and throw snow more efficiently while reducing the level of physical exertion. While this strategy sounds like it will be more time consuming, it can actually result in a faster finish with a steady pace and a drastic reduction of clogs in the machinery.

For the best results in heavy snow accumulations, take some time to plan the course of the snow removal job before getting started. Once the job is underway, a methodical approach with narrower than usual cuts and more passes can result in efficiencies that result in a faster finish while also preventing the burnout of the snowblower as well as the operator.

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Blackout: 3 Things you don’t Want to Do with your Portable Generator for the First Time

Buying a portable generator to provide backup electricity during power outages can keep the house functioning with the lights on and the refrigerator running until power returns. While the operation of these machines is relatively straightforward, if you have just purchased a new generator or are about to buy one, there are 3 things you don’t want to do with your portable generator the first time a blackout occurs. When reviewing this list, keep in mind that power outages aren’t limited to daylight hours and that doing any of these activities in the dark will make them exponentially more difficult.

1) Try to figure out the best location for the generator – Your portable generator will most likely be connected via extension cords to the appliances, lighting, electronics, etc. in your home. These connections will require a location that is close enough for the cords to reach but not so close that dangerous emissions can be vented into the home. Rather than trying to sort out the best location for the generator during crunch time, determine a place in advance that will allow for safe operation and easy connections to items that will be powered during the blackout.

2) Pull the generator out of storage and wheel it into position – Even on wheels, portable generators can be relatively heavy, with smaller units starting at just under 50 pounds and larger ones exceeding 200 pounds. Getting the generator into position can become even more challenging if the path has steps, obstacles or uneven surfaces. Once you have determined the best location, select the easiest route for the generator, remove any obstacles that are in the way, and do a test run to see if there are any other issues that should be addressed before the first use.

3) Fueling – Under normal conditions, putting gas in the tank is a relatively easy process, but it can become difficult if you’re trying to find the gas cap and fill the tank in the dark. Instead, familiarize yourself with the machine and have gas as well as a fuel stabilizer in the tank so that you’re ready to go.

Planning for the use of your portable generator in advance can eliminate many of the issues that can arise from trying to take the above-mentioned actions for the first time after the power goes out. By knowing where the generator is going to go, how it’s going to get there, and having fuel in the tank, you will have your home powered up quickly and efficiently when the next blackout occurs.

 

 

5 Portable Generator Safety Tips when the Lights Go Out

One of the most dangerous times for operating a generator occurs immediately after power from the grid goes down. It is during these moments that a variety of hazardous issues can arise, including:

* Getting a portable generator in place – There are a variety of ways that things can go wrong from the point of pulling the generator out of storage to rolling it into place to start delivering backup power. One common issue after an extended period in storage is that boxes and other items may be stacked on top of the generator. If this is the case, make sure you have a flashlight so that you can see what you’re off-loading and where it should go.
* Putting the generator indoors or near vents and windows – All generators emit carbon monoxide gas, which can aggregate to dangerous levels in the house. Prior to its first use, locate a well-ventilated place that is at least ten feet away from windows and vents to situate the generator.
* Allowing a generator to be exposed to water – Avoid the risk of electrocution by a wet generator by building a well-ventilated shelter with an elevated step to keep the generator dry. If this isn’t an option, never run the generator while it is directly exposed to water.
* Refueling – A generator will often be put away after use without consideration for the next time, resulting in a partially filled tank that runs empty after a short period. In this situation, allow the generator to cool off completely before refueling to avoid accidental ignition caused by spilling gas on hot engine parts.
* Connecting the generator directly to the home’s circuitryPlugging the generator into a wall outlet, as opposed to connecting to individual appliances, electronics, etc. directly, using extension cords can result in “backfeeding”. This occurs when electricity flows from the generator back toward the grid, a highly dangerous circumstance that can result in the electrocution of utility workers and/or residents in homes that share the same electrical feed.

Acting with haste to get backup power online when electricity from the main goes down can result in a variety of potential hazards. One of the best ways to avoid these dangers is to do some advanced planning to get your portable generator in a location that is ventilated and protected and then following up with best practices in terms of connecting and operating the generator until power returns.

Inverter Generators for Businesses: The Superior Choice for Backup Power

The development of inverter generators represents the most significant advance in backup power generation in years and provides business owners with a superior opportunity to protect against losses that could otherwise be the result of power outages. Hereís why:

  • Inverter generators provide clean power ñ In the context of generators, clean power refers to electricity that is delivered on a relatively constant wavelength, versus the potential for the wide fluctuations that are the signature of raw power produced by traditional generators. While raw power and the wavelength fluctuations that accompany it is suitable for running non-computerized tools, equipment and appliances, wide variances in wavelength can damage and/or hinder the performance of computers and any other electronic components that run on vulnerable semi-conductors.
  • Protection of sensitive medical devices ñ For any businesses or care facilities that run sensitive medical devices, wide wavelength variations are not acceptable for both the machines and the people who rely on them. The electricity delivered on a constant wavelength will enable steady device performance without stressing the circuitry inside the device.
  • Scalability ñ As businesses grow, so does their demand for powering additional computers, lighting, equipment, etc. To meet increased backup power requirements, an inverter generator can be sequenced with a second via a parallel operation kit. The parallel operation of two generators can double power output at a lower expense than replacing an existing unit with one that has greater output.
  • Quiet power output ñ Running traditional generators in close proximity to other businesses, such as in a strip mall or office complex, can become a nuisance due to noise emissions. Inverter generators offer a solution to noise issues with an advanced alternator that facilitates the adjustment of the engineís speed according to changing demand levels, which results in significantly lower decibel levels while in operation.

Increasing computerization and the use of sensitive electronic devices is increasing the importance of clean power from inverter generators. Additionally, inverter generators are more affordable than ever, making them a superior choice for the provision of backup power for businesses.

3 Tips on Preventing the Theft of Your Snowblower in the Offseason

As the owners of snowblowers may be getting ready to put their machines in storage and forget about them until the first snowfall of the next season, there are several measures that should be taken to prevent the theft of what is for many people a substantial investment. Additionally, these measures can also make it far more difficult for thieves to steal anything else that may be stored nearby.

These measures include:

Storing snowblowers in a space that is attached to the home – Thieves are far less likely to steal from a storage area, such as a garage, that is attached to the home than one that is a distance from it. As far as thieves are concerned, the lower the likelihood of running into the people that live in the home, the more interesting the target becomes.
If you’re storing a snowblower and other equipment in a separate shed, make sure it’s locked up – A storage space that is surrounded by a backyard fence is the best way to go, especially if you have dogs in the backyard as well. Secure the storage shed with a key access, a dead bolt, a padlock or a combination of the three.
Light your storage area – Regardless of the target, lighting it up will discourage thieves. You can use either a lighting system that operates on a timer or motion-activated lights. Either way, make sure that your lighting cannot be reached by someone standing on the ground as reachable lights provide the opportunity to disconnect them and work in the dark.

Follow these tips and thieves that might have been interested in your snowblower will seek other targets that provide a better environment for theft.