Sure snowblowers are great, but when you picture a green planet does it include a belching, gas-guzzling machine that you use only a few days a year? Before you ditch your big red monster, or put off buying a snowblower and suffer with the shovel for another year, take a moment to find out whether there is the possibility of a green blower.
Luckily, with the majority of consumers now turning to more environmental options when it comes to their machinery, manufacturers are coming out with greener models. Additionally, there are choices that you can make as a consumer to ensure that you have chosen the greenest snowblower possible.
Go Four-Stroke Over Two
A two-stroke engine uses a mix of gas and oil, and does not work as efficiently or as powerfully as a four-stroke engine. For the most part, you will find four-stroke engines in dual-stage snowblowers which also work more efficiently as they have an impeller behind the auger to propel snow out the chute.
Ensuring that your snowblower is always in good working order is key to keeping it running smoothly, which mean it gets the most out of the fuel you put in it. Check your owner’s manual for maintenance instructions. If you have a two-stroke engine you need to make sure that you have the right mix of fuel. Regular oil changes, spark plug cleaning and tune-ups also help.
Electric – Good or No?
While you may think that an electric snowblower is cleaner, in truth they usually aren’t. For one, a large amount of power in the United States is generate by burning coal, so plugging in only changes the location where hydrocarbons are being produced. Secondly, electric snowblowers are less powerful than their gas counterparts, so you’ll spend more time and energy with an electric snowblower.
A lot of guys probably feel like they need to get the most monstrous, powerful machine they can possibly buy. Who cares if the neighbors have to cover their ears every time you start up your machine, and leap out of the way while you fire snow twenty feet into the atmosphere? Well, mother nature cares, and so do you if you are reading this article – so tone down the muscle. Only get the horsepower you need, and the neighbors (and nature) will appreciate it.
Technology is always changing, and here are a few green snowblower options that may be coming:
• Battery Power: Many manufacturers are testing battery power on their riding mowers and snowblowers, but as of yet there aren’t any battery-operated models.
• Hybrid Blowers: Since making such an impact in vehicles, hybrid snowblowers have been built by Honda since 2001. They work by using the gas motor to turn the auger, which also charges the battery. The electric motor is used to power the wheels. Unfortunately, so far these models are only available in Japan as the technology is still pretty expensive.
Like driving a car, using a snowblower is never going to be completely “green”, but we can do our part to minimize our footprint – while still having an easier option for getting through those mounds of white stuff that inevitably fall every winter.