Snow throwers typically use a horizontally mounted auger to cut through snow and push the snow towards a center vertical chute in which the snow is ejected. Although referred to by the misnomer snow blower, snow throwers don’t actually use air to blow the snow, but rather the mechanical force of the auger ejects the snow.
Push behind manually propelled snow throwers are typically powered by electric or gasoline. Self-propelled, vehicle mounted, or equipment mounted snow throwers are typically powered by gasoline or diesel or via a PTO (power take-off) shaft from an engine. Jet engine or small gas turbine engine air powered snow blowers (these are actual blowers) may be powered by all manners of fuel including jet fuel.
Although typically equipped with safety features, warnings, and instructions for use, some guidelines for snow thrower safety (CPSC and other sources) may include:
- Never clear a jam by hand. Always use a tool, or other long object.
- Never clear a jam while the thrower is energized or on.
- If it is possible, wait to clear the jam once the ice or snow causing the jam has had a chance to melt. The auger although jammed may still contain a lot of spring energy. This may require moving the thrower to a warmer space or area.
- Keep hands and feet, bystanders, pets, and children away from moving parts. For electric throwers, also keep cord away from moving parts.
- Children should not be operating or at or about a snow thrower.
- Aim the discharge chute away from windows, glass, vehicles, or etc. Rocks or small objects may be ejected along with snow.
- Never leave the thrower on and unattended. For electric throwers, never leave it plugged in and unattended.
- Use the right fuel as specified by the thrower’s manufacturer. Follow safe fuel handling procedures with regards to capping and storage.
- Don’t refuel indoors, or run a fuel powered thrower indoors. Be mindful of fuel vapors and carbon monoxide.
- Follow manufacturer’s refueling procedures which may include waiting for the engine to cool down before refueling.
- Don’t direct snow or pile up snow on any building vents, electrical service, fuel service, or entrances/exits.
- Don’t use throwers on roofs or other surfaces or structures that would typically be damaged an auger or structures that may not be able to support the weight of the thrower, operator, and snow accumulation.
ARCCA has the multi-discipline background to assist with snow thrower related issues.