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Old 02-10-2012, 09:42 AM
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Default Snow throwers advice

So I live in South central Denver, wash park specifically, but I have only been here three winters. The house I rented had a drive, but only a little bit of sidewalk, so it was no big deal to shovel, and was actually kind of fun.
I bought a house last year on a corner lot, so I've been feeling it a lot more since then. I've got some 175' of sidewalk down a North side and another 60' on an east side to clear, not to mention the walk to the house, the alley up to the garage, and eventually a drive in the back. This last big dumper put the hurting on me, literally. My back is not the greatest, and with each 18" of progression forward, being full shovel load, it whooped me.

So here's my question: Do we regularly get snow dumps large enough to warrant a snow thrower for the kind of footage I have to clear? My main thought about buying one, is the North sidewalk never gets sun on it in the winter and if I don't clear it before it gets walked on, it's nearly impossible to get it all up with a shovel. A thrower can chomp down on the ice and compacted portions and get it out of there.

A thrower is a major expense for something, and I have to justify that for how many times a year it's necessary. I just haven't lived in Denver long enough to be sure. I do know that one trip to the doc again and the snowthrower will seem cheap. That or one lawsuit over ice on the sidewalk and the thrower was a drop in the bucket. I still don't understand how I can be sued for property I don't own, but that's another story.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:49 AM
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I bought one, not because of frequency of snows, but the fact that every now and then onw happens where you are damn glad to have one. This snow last week for example

It doesnt snow a lot, and many times its a dusting that is easy work with a shovel

I would say that there are at least 3 snow storms a year you would use the snow blower. Some years, many more. I have used it 4 times already this winter

It just seemed to me to be a neccessary tool for when its needed. I have a lot of driveway and a circle drive in front.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:57 AM
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I'd get one if i were you.

I got one of these little snapper blowers at a garage sale the first summer I moved here. it was the best $40 I spent. I put a belt on it and haven't looked back. it's a little small for all the big dumps like this last one but I make it work. I went out 3x and snow blew so it wasn't so deep. best part is when it's 3-4" I'm done in like 10 min. I usually get magic cookie bars and fresh tortillas from the neighbors after a good snow. There have been a couple years i haven't pulled mine out but for when it does snow It's great. totally worth it.

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Old 02-10-2012, 10:03 AM
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We have a neighbor that has one and on the big dumps, he does the whole block. It is really nice to hear him humming down the side walk!

I am guessing unless you found one cheap, your best bet is to wait for summer when they are selling for less??

BTW, looks like we are in for another storm tomorrow and then potentially mid week.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:22 AM
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Definitely look for a good used one. For only a little more money I would suggest you go for a 2 stage unit that is self propelled. The small lightweight (typically 2 stroke) single stage units are good for very small snowfalls or very powdery snow. When you get deeper snows, especially the really wet stuff that we tend to get in March and April, the single stage unit will struggle. There is a guy, I think he goes by PatrolMan on the forum that posts up periodically with used snow blowers for sale. I think he buys them, fixes them up and re-sells them. Or look on Craigslist. There is always someone who ran out after the last big snow and bought a new snowblower that now they have buyers remose over.

Or, are there any reliable teenagers in the neighborhood that want to make extra money?
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caribou Sandstorm View Post
We have a neighbor that has one and on the big dumps, he does the whole block. It is really nice to hear him humming down the side walk!
We have neighbors with decent sized snow throwers. They do the whole block and get a porch filled with plates of brownies and sixers for it (and few bucks, gas and upkeep ain't free).
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:12 AM
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What ^they've^ said

In a couple months snow blowers will go on sale or look for one on CL etc. In a typical year I use mine 3-4 times. Last year though I think maybe I used it once. Murphy's law dictates that once you buy one, you won't need it fow awhile

My general rule of thumb is 6" or more I break out the snow blower. I do our stuff and usually a couple of the neighbors as well when it is deep.

The smaller ones are nice because they are easier to handle but as mentioned, larger snow falls will tax them. My small single stage Craftsman was good to about a foot of snow (less if it was a heavy wet snow). The big honker 2-stage unit I bought from Romer is more difficult to maneuver but nice because it is self propelled. It is overkill for small snow falls but on this latest big snow it was nice to have. We got 26" of snow and it taxed the snow blower.

Just a note...a typical snow blower won't really "chomp down on the ice and compacted portions and get it out of there." Most will just sort of beat on it but the augers aren't super sharp. If we drive on the driveway before removing the snow, the snow blower has a hard time removing that compacted snow...I usually have to scrape that off with the shovel.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:16 AM
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The old man the block behind me, does do my North side sometimes. I don't like counting on him though, and he only does the North sidewalk, and I have LOTS more to do. My section of the alley is sloped pretty good, so I actually have to use 4wd to get through my back gate or up to the garage. That first snow we had back in Oct. or whenever, took until mid December to melt out of the back yard (where the parking pad will be) and the north sidewalk had ice over 80% of it for months. I just couldn't get it up with the metal edged shovel.

Yeah, so I found one on Clist, but it's super spendy. Trick is, after researching, I think the design is exactly what I need. It's a Honda tracked unit. Because it's tracked, it balances itself and the auger/scraper can actually be elevated a bit instead of dragging on the ground. They can also be tilted down to directly bite into compacted ice. Since a large part of my snow clearing is on large stone pavers with 3" gaps between them, this makes a lot of sense to me. Well, and for the super compacted alley. It's just damn expensive. I talked the guy down, but I still think he is wicked high. I treat yard equipment like buying a Toyota though...don't buy cheap, or you will buy twice....but buy used and let the first guy take the depreciation.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:22 AM
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With the slope you talk of, you'd definitely want something powered and even better tracked like you have found...Even on the slight slope of my driveway, I ofter have to go down vs. up because the snow blower will just slip and spin...Forget about pushing it up the slope.
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  #10  
Old 02-10-2012, 11:23 AM
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It's this one...just significantly cheaper. http://powerequipment.honda.com/snow...models/hs928ta
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