When it comes to buying homesteading tools, snowblowers have always been in the mix. It is especially the case for people living in areas that experience major snowfall at least once a year. During those times in the winter a snowblower becomes an indispensable tool. But taking note that during summer, spring or autumn, your snow blower will be lying idle in the tool store, a question comes to mind.
Can you use a snowblower to blow leaves?
The answer is both ‘no’ and ‘yes.’ While a snowblower can blow leaves, there is a caveat. Snow blowers may worsen the mess in your yard given the power with which they expel the leaves through the chute. If you want to use them to blow leaves don’t do it on a windy day, and use a single stage snowblower.
You need a collecting location or maybe a big bag if you want to blow leaves using a snowblower. Moreover, if you are looking to use a snowblower to blow leaves, you should first of all, understand the different types of these gadgets. It is because understanding how a single-stage or multi-stage blower works will help you make the right decision going forward.
Types of Snow Blowers and How They Work
There are three types of snow blowers namely single-stage, two-stage blowers and three stage blowers. However, depending on how much you are willing to spend on these gadgets, you may want to consider a third option which is a three-stage snowblower. Also, your geographical location plays significance when it comes to making a purchase decision. Areas that get thick inches of snowfall need at least two-stage blowers. The purpose for which each is designed and performance are equally worth considering. Now, let’s narrow down to each of them.
● Single-Stage Snow Blowers
Single-stage snow blowers are especially ideal for homeowners looking to clear snow off their lawns quickly and conveniently. They are lightweight, something that further makes them easy to use. With two quick passes over snow on your driveway, single-stage snow blowers would double as leaf blowers because they are designed for superficial snow removal. You get the best results with these blowers when the depth of snowfall is less than 8 inches.
It is also noteworthy that single-stage blowers are designed to have direct contact with the driveway, lawn, yard, or any other surface from which you want to remove snow. An important emphasis is that with these variants, you should never risk cleaning snowfall on gravel. However, when deciding between electrical variants of single-stage snow blowers or gasoline-powered options, you should always narrow down to specific brands available in the market.
● Two-Stage Snow Blowers
If you have been asking questions about using snow blowers to blow leaves, you should also zero into the features of two-stage snow blowers. Most importantly, a review of how two-stage snow blowers function will help you determine their idealness for blowing leaves or if you may have to stick with your blower.
Two-stage snow blowers are designed to clean thick inches of snow, especially on gravel, slopes, and wider areas. However, contrary to single-stage variants that have blades at the front to direct snow into a discharge, the auger in two-stage variants does not make contact with the surface. Rather, it collects snow, after which a fan directs the process to a chute that expels everything to a designated collection point. The reason why two-stage snow blowers are suitable for use on rough surfaces such as gravel is that they have an auger that does not touch the ground.
● Three stage Snow Blowers
The last of the snow blower types is the three stage snow blower. Where the single-stage type has one auger, and the two-stage has an auger working together with an impeller, the three stage snow blower has a third high-speed auger. This auger is much faster and makes it possible to deal with a lot of snow in a short time. Both the 2 stage and 3 stage are normally self propelled.
● Are snow blowers suitable for blowing leaves?
Thus, a question arises regarding using the different types snow blowing machines. Are they suitable for blowing leaves? Well, while you can use these gadgets to blow leaves, but things may get a little messy, especially when expelling leaves from the chute. Unlike snow, leaves are generally lightweight. It means that you wouldn’t realize a much-anticipated tidy work with these gadgets. It is a bad idea to blow leaves during windy weather because they would fly to every direction leaving your compound messier.
Thus, if you must use a snowblower to blow leaves, use it during calm weather. Also, take note that you will realize a much cleaner environment with single-stage blowers than with the two-stage and three-stage variants.
Important Snow Blower Dos and Don’ts
A debate on whether or not to blow leaves using a snowblower further elicits another question. Which are the snow blower dos and don’ts? Well, let’s break it down into subsections as follows:
Snow Blower Dos
Before you test your single-stage or two-stage snow blower, the following dos are worth noting:
- Read the manual: You should always read the instruction manual to understand how to operate a snowblower. It will not only help you mitigate injury in the process of using these gadgets but also know how to work with controls such as steering levers, auger, and chute controls.
- Skidding: If you have a multi-stage snow blower, you should ensure it has a scraper blade, skid shoes, and shear pins. Removing snow comes with the risk of skidding, something that may very well happen to the cleaning gadget hence putting you at the risk of injury.
- Fuel: For homesteaders that have gasoline-powered snow blowers, ensure the gas tank is full and so is the oil tank. Most importantly, always use a stabilized fuel to curb against inhaling harmful gaseous fumes.
- Check for objects: Before you start blowing snow, we recommend clearing your driveways, lawns, yards, and sideways of any objects such as stone. It is especially necessary if you are using a single-stage snow blower whose auger always comes into contact with the ground. Even better is to take away such objects before the snow arrives, as they will be invisible later.
- Protective gear: You should wear protective gear such as safety glasses and gloves when using snow blowers. If you are going to work during snowfall, we recommend wearing brightly colored clothes. The latter keeps you visible during snowfall.
- Pattern: When you are finally set to start clearing snow, decide on the pattern of doing it. You do not want to clear snow on the driveway only to do it several times later before calling it a successful day.
- Use both hands: For safe use, use both hands to hold the machine. It is also a great way for reaching snow blower controls quickly as and when necessary. However, with the two-stage blowers, an interlock feature for one hand makes it possible to hold the machine with one hand with the other rotating the chute.
- Slow and steady: Last but not least, keep it slow and steady. For the best cleaning results, set the speed depending on the snowing conditions.
Snow Blower Don’ts
Apart from the above dos, there are things you should never do when handling a snowblower. We sampled some of them as follows:
- Disengage the clutch: Do not start the snowblower with the clutch and auger engaged. You should, first of all, disengage them first.
- Clearing a clogged chute: Do not risk injury by clearing a clogged chute or auger using your feet or hands.
- Use it for snow: You should strictly use a snowblower for clearing snow, something that further answers the main question in this post. While you may be tempted to use a snowblower to clean leaves, it is not designed for such tasks.
- Starting: We emphasize that you should always start a snow blower in an open garage. The catch with this is that you do not want to inhale exhaust fumes and get overwhelmed by it.
- Chute: Do not point the chute at people, buildings, and cars. It is because the speed at which snow blowers expel snow through the chute would likely result in damage or injury.
- Refueling: Never refuel the machine with the engine running. It comes with the danger of spark, something that may result in a fire hazard.
- Do not leave the blower running if you are not using it. Leaving the blower unattended while it is running compounds the risk of injury, especially to pets or children. It is also a bad idea if you are looking to conserve fuel.
Final Thoughts: Alternative Uses of Snow Blowers
With every homesteading machine, a question of whether it has alternative uses comes to mind. It is because most of the time, machines like chainsaws have a multiplicity of use such as pruning fruit tree branches, felling trees, and making firewood. With snowblowers, we would say a question of alternative uses boils down to trial and error.
A quick look at web-based homesteading tool discussion forums such tractorbynet.com will shed more light on possible alternative uses of snow blowers. For homesteaders who have used snow blowers to blow leaves, a general agreement is that these gadgets never do a better job than a leaf blower. Some homesteaders, however, have admitted to using these gadgets as fire extinguishers. Others say that connecting a water pump to these gadgets converts your snow blowing machine into a powerful DIY water pump. On our part, we would say, always take precautions if you intend to blow leaves using a snowblower.