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Snowblower Safety: Are they Safe? How and Why to Use a Snowblower

Snowblower Safety: Are they Safe? How and Why to Use  a Snowblower

Snowblower Safety: Are they Safe? How and Why to Use  a Snowblower

Come winter, a snowblower is a great tool when you need to clear fallen snow quickly. Snowblowers work by blowing fallen snow to the side, clearing a yard, driveway, or sidewalk in just a few minutes. We can all agree that they are much faster and more efficient than using a traditional snow shovel to clear away snow, but are they safe?

Each year, hundreds of people injure themselves while using snowblowers. It’s easier than you might think to suffer serious damage to your hands, fingers, or other parts of your body by using snowblowers in a way that isn’t safe. In this guide, we’ll discuss the safety of snowblowers as well as how to use one without worry. 

What Causes Snowblower Injuries?

First, let’s talk about why these machines can be so dangerous. While any snowblower can become a danger when used improperly, there are a few situations that make it more dangerous. Most injuries happen when snow is heavy and wet, causing the snow to clog the machine.

When a few inches of this kind of snow accumulates, the snowblower has a much harder time clearing it quickly. The machine can clog and many people get injured trying to dislodge the clog by hand. Even when the snowblower is switched off, the blades are still sharp and can be dangerous. 

Are Snowblowers Safe to Use?

To answer the original question, yes, they are safe, however, only when used properly. What does it mean to use one properly? There are several things to keep in mind. To begin with, you should work at a brisk pace. The faster the snow hits the blades, the less likely it will stick to the blades and create a clog.

If you’re experiencing exceptionally heavy snow, it’s better to work periodically during the snowfall to prevent a large buildup. Another tip is to spray the blades and chute with cooking-oil spray to keep the snow from sticking to them. However, the most important safety tip to remember is to never put your hand near the blades. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, this is the most common cause of snowblower-related injuries. 

Snowblower Safety Tips

Aside from keeping your hands away from the sharp blades, there are other things you can do to keep yourself safe while using a snowblower. Keep these simple tips in mind:

  • High-traction footwear - Wear footwear that prevent slips and falls, such as boot grippers or ice cleats
  • Start the machine outside - Never start your machine inside where you will introduce carbon monoxide into an enclosed space 
  • Wear tight clothing - Don’t wear loose clothing when using a snowblower since they can easily become tangled in the machine’s moving parts
  • Wear ear protection - Snowblowers can be loud, so wear ear plugs or hearing protection if needed 
  • Switch off the machine if there’s a clog - Finally, always switch off the snowblower if you experience a clog. Always use a clearing tool or stick to remove the clog, never your hand 

  • If you follow these tips above, you should feel confident in using your snowblower safely. 

    Using Your Snowblower Safely

    Snowblowers are a great winter tool, and they can greatly reduce the time you spend clearing snow from your property, but that doesn’t mean we needn’t be careful around them. When it comes to winter safety, take the above tips seriously. And, make sure you treat your snowblower with the respect it deserves. This is a big pieces of heavy machinery, so it should be treated as such. Safety always comes first.

    Stopping Cold-Air Drafts Around Your Doors

    Stopping Cold-Air Drafts Around Your Doors

    Stopping Cold-Air Drafts Around Your Doors

    When you’re trying to keep your home warm in winter, sometimes nothing can seem more annoying than to feel a draft of cold air coming in from under the door. When your doors aren’t fully sealed, cold air can enter your home or, conversely, warm air can escape it. With 45% of your energy bill going to heat, that’s money out the window. 

    What causes drafts in the first place? Gaps in the construction of your home or an opening that has been left unsealed. That’s why you’ll commonly experience drafts around windows, doors, pipes, and ceiling-to-wall joints. And, not only does cold air enter through these spaces, but pests and moisture can, too. In this guide, we’ll explain how to stop cold-air drafts around your doors. 

    1. Weather stripping

    The first option we suggest you try is weather stripping. These strips of material are the most cost-effective way to go, and it doesn’t require you to be a DIY expert. Your home likely already has weather stripping, but it can get damaged over time. When this happens, you’ll need to replace it by first pulling up the old stripping and then putting down new cushion-vinyl or spring-metal stripping. 

    1. Foam Tape

    Weather stripping is effective only if your door has a true and snug fit. If the door is warped or damaged, you’ll need something to help fill in the gaps. Foam tape is an effective way to secure these gaps.

    You can pick up a pack of foam tape from any hardware store for just a few dollars. Simply stick strips of it in the holes between the door and the wall and you’ll create a much snugger fit. 

    1. Window Film

    If there are windows in your door, you can apply window film to insulate them. Windows are prone to letting in air, so don’t leave them untreated.

    To apply window film, place it over the window and heat the plastic-like material with a hair dryer. The film will shrink and seal the windows, thus helping to prevent drafts. 

    1. Door Snake

    While you might not need to use a door snake all the time, it’s a great help if you know you’ll be experiencing a strong storm in your area. A door snake is a weighted fabric tube that blocks unwanted cold air. You simply press it into the underside of a door to stop air currents from entering through the space there.   

    You can DIY your own door snake with materials around your home, or you can use a rolled-up towel. Door snakes are an effective way to protect your home’s warm air during periods of harsh weather. 

    1. Caulk

    Last but not least, you might need to check the caulking on your doors. After a lot of exposure to the elements, caulk can degrade or even peel away. Replacing this caulk every year will go a long way toward helping to keep out drafts.

    Although this project is a big undertaking, you can definitely remove your old caulk and re-caulk your home on your own in one day. It’s the perfect fall project to prepare for winter

    Winterize Your Doors

    Preparing your doors for winter takes some time, but it’s well-worth the effort in order to keep comfortable and save energy during the cold months. With the above tips, it’s easier than you might think to get the job done.

    What to Do if a Frozen Pipe Bursts in Your Home

    What to Do if a Frozen Pipe Bursts in Your Home

    What to Do if a Frozen Pipe Bursts in Your Home

    Unless you live in a place of perpetual sunshine, winter is a huge bummer and no amount of Bing Crosby songs are going to change our minds. One of the most common hazards of winter is frozen pipes, and they can cause major problems in your household. But a burst frozen pipe can happen to even the most attentive homeowner.

    As they used to say on Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.” Also, “You know nothing [about burst pipes], Jon Snow.” We’re paraphrasing. Before you start cursing the winter winds, you might want to step back and take action.

    If you notice a burst frozen pipe, turn off your water supply. It may seem like an obvious thing to do but, trust us, sometimes we need to remind ourselves about the basics in times of crisis. Most importantly, turn off the valve to your hot water heater (if you have one), because the last thing you want to damage is your hot water supply in the middle of winter. We all take our hot showers for granted until we can’t have them.

    Next, place a clamp over the damaged pipe, using a piece of wood or a rubber cover to absorb any extra water or expanding metal. The clamp helps keep your pipe stabilized until it’s fixed. If you haven’t already, call the plumber. Do not try to DIY this.

    Next, turn off the electrical supply to your house. What do water and electricity have to do with one another? Pretty much everything when a burst pipe is flooding your home. Simply put, you have enough problems today, and water damage near electrical equipment can lead to fire or electrocution. No thank you. It could be prudent to invest in some battery-operated heaters to keep your home (or just the pipe in question) warm, so you don’t risk freezing other pipes (or yourself). It’s a good day to get out those extra blankets.

    Now, it’s time to drain the taps so your plumber can get to work. Start with the cold ones first, including flushing the toilet a couple of times, to relieve pressure and prevent more freezing. Even if it annoys everyone else in the house. It’s for their own good. Then, drain the hot taps to clear all of the water from the system.

    While you’re still waiting for the plumber (let’s face it, he’s not here yet), you can start mopping and making sure there’s no damage or mold on your walls. Keep an eye on your ceilings especially, since water can seep into the crevasses and sit there for long periods of time. Pro tip: weird bubbles forming in your ceiling is not a good sign, and never, ever poke at them. Some of us have learned this the hard way.

    Of course, the best way to deal with a burst frozen pipe is to prevent it from happening at all. If you insulate your home properly with pipe sleeves and heat tape, address small leaks when they’re actually still small, let water drip from your faucet occasionally, and allow warm air to get to your pipes when it's very cold out, you’ll be able to get back to baking cookies and sipping hot cocoa in no time.