How To Clear Your Driveway Using A Snow Blower

Removing snow from a driveway can be a huge hassle in the winter months. However, with the right equipment, you can handle the task quickly and safely. A snow blower or snow thrower is a device that can be used to clear snow from areas where it is not wanted, such as driveways and sidewalks. Even though a snow blower will remove snow with ease, if you don’t handle it correctly, you may find yourself doing the same area more than once.

So how do you clear snow from a driveway using a snow blower? Read on; we will tell you everything you need to know about clearing snow using a snow blower.

After you've read this article, why not have a look at our reviews of the best corded electric snow blower, the best cordless snow blower, and the best gas snow blower

Check the wind

Before beginning a snow blowing session, it is important to know which direction the wind is blowing. To determine the direction of the wind, pick up a handful of snow then throw it up in the air. The direction the snow lands is the direction that the wind is blowing. You can also look at moving/waving objects like trees or flags. If the objects are turning towards a certain direction, it means that the wind is pushing them in that direction.

Adjust your snow blower's chute so that it throws the snow in the same direction as the wind. Otherwise, the wind will blow snow on the spots which you’ve already cleaned.

Where do you want the snow to build up?

The snow blower has to throw the snow somewhere, therefore, figure out where you want that ‘somewhere’ to be. Ideally, you’ll want to blow the snow into the furthest possible point of the yard to avoid massive snowbanks that spill back onto the driveway. Assess your equipment’s capability then adjust the chute as necessary to get the snow into the desired area.

Adjust your Skid Shoes

Skid shoes, also known as skid plates, are small adjustable metal pieces that drag along the surface when the machine is being used. They are attached to both sides of the auger housing and keep the auger from making an impact with the ground as you are clearing.

If you have a concrete driveway, you can adjust the skid shoes so that there is about ¼ inch clearance. A quarter inch clearance keeps the snow blower’s auger from directly hitting the driveway. For blacktop, asphalt or other smooth driveways, adjust the skid plates, so the scraper blade is 1/8 inch off the surface. A low setting allows the auger to blow as much snow as possible, leaving you with a clean surface.

Start in the Middle

If there is very little wind (or no wind), start snow blowing in the middle of the driveway. This way, you get to throw the snow to the furthest area of the driveway. Clear the snow in a circular pattern to minimize the need to change the direction of the chute.

Take smaller bites

When you want to clear up heavy snow, and you are in a hurry, you may be tempted to increase the speed of your snow blower and plow right through the snow. Doing this may clog your equipment or even break the drive belts. Additionally, you will have to constantly stop to unclog the chute making the snow blowing activity time-consuming.

Taking smaller bites may be a rule of thumb when working in a wet and clog-prone driveway. Manufacturers recommend taking smaller bites of the snowpack; about one-third to one-half the width of the snow blower. Taking smaller bites makes snow blowing faster than slogging through a path full of heavy snow.

Also, maintain a steady speed so that the snow does not get a chance to solidify into ice.

Shovel any remaining snow

Even though a snow blower can remove most of the snow (95 percent), there may be other areas that are inaccessible to the machine. Therefore, you will have to use a shovel to clear out the areas. Clear these areas last, as you may unintentionally blow some snow onto them while clearing snow from the driveway.

The video below summarizes everything we've discussed in this article:

​Check ​​​​out some frequently asked questions about snow blowers as you head out. You can also use a leaf blower if you don't happen to have a snow blower at hand.

We hope you've found this article useful. Otherwise, if you have any suggestions or recommendations, let us know in the comments section.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Laverne Rosello - December 9, 2017

Hi, I am a frequent reader of your blog. I find it very interesting & useful. You seem very knowledgeable about such things. I respect your opinion & would like to hear your feedback. I am looking for a reasonably priced snow blower and have been reading some snow blower reviews but I am still unsure about what option to purchase. I read another review; thinking to buy the Ryobi 20 in. 40-Volt Brushless Cordless Electric Battery Powered Snow Blower that he recommends but I am not really confident. maybe I can use one of the budget ones. What do you think? Is it really better to purchase a more costly option? Thank you so much for your opinion and thank you for the awesome articles that you share.

    Arnab - December 10, 2017

    Hi Laverne
    First of all, thank you for your kind comments.
    I’m not familiar with the Ryobi blower, however in answer to your question, you need to consider a few things:
    -How big is the area you need to clear?
    -How far from a power outlet will the blower need to go?
    -How deep does the snow usually get?
    -What type of snow falls in this area?
    Generally, smaller areas, lighter snowfall, and drier snow would be OK with a budget model. Large areas, heavy snowfall, and wet snow would point towards a more serious machine.


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