What affects time to clear an area? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-21-2016, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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What affects time to clear an area?

I'm seeing other posts that deal with size vs power, but I feel like nobody really talks about speed... but maybe I'm missing someting obvious? I'm new to the idea of snow blowers [always had a plow growing up].

Basically I moved to a new house where I have about 4000 sq foot of concrete to clear [14x130' drive and 45x45' pad leading to the garage]

I'm debating between a cheap plow on the truck or a blower, but I wonder how long it would take to clear with a blower? Are there any guidelines or factors to consider? ...does the couple inches between a 26 and 30" blower really matter...

Typical annual snow fall is 30+/- 20 inches. Most snow accumulation is 2-3 inch with the occasional 8 to 12 inch storms.

Thanks for any advice
Dan
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-21-2016, 03:05 PM
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My $0.03

Dan, welcome aboard! Do you ever feel like you'd run out of places to put the snow if you had a bad winter and were plowing? Being able to throw snow up and over banks can be a concern for us during a bad winter. My neighbors have plow guys and the piles have grown so huge during some winters that they've lost access to their garage(s).

For me, the plow guys in past years have done way too much damage for my liking. Therefore, I have snow blowers.

Time wise? Hard to say. My drive is a bit longer than yours. However, I have to deal with 400' of sidewalks. So, I might be out there for a couple hours dealing with the clean up from a bigger snow fall. OTOH, if I need to get out the door, I might set myself a time limit of 30 minutes and deal with the balance when I get home from work.

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post #3 of 10 Old 09-21-2016, 03:43 PM
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Dan, 30" of snow a year is shovel or leaf blower territory, IMO. I find it hard to believe you can even find plows to put on trucks within your area, let alone needing them ANY Toro single stage is what I would pick.

Last edited by jtclays; 09-21-2016 at 03:47 PM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-21-2016, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtclays View Post
Dan, 30" of snow a year is shovel or leaf blower territory, IMO. I find it hard to believe you can even find plows to put on trucks within your area, let alone needing them ANY Toro single stage is what I would pick.
No offense intended Dan but coming from CNY (Syracuse), where we average 120" a year in the city and 150+ in the snowbelts I agree with jtclays on this one. I gave up plowing because I ran out of places to put it. With a snow blower I can blast it up above any 6' drift I need to.
A nice single stage Toro will clear your driveway as fast as you can walk and won't tear up your grass. The blower may be only 22' wide but it will be faster than shoveling and easier to maneuver than any 2 stage.
I've got an old Toro single stage Mrs. Stromr uses on the deck everyday, she loves it. No shovel for her!
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-21-2016, 06:54 PM
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i also have to vote for a nice ss machine. i was very skeptical of those little snow slappers, but picked up a used one last season for the deck. it would take me 30-45 mins to shovel, at a heart attack inducing pace, with my typical 6-10 " storm. i can now do it in under ten minutes and not break a sweat.....wish i would have bought a ss years ago !!

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post #6 of 10 Old 09-21-2016, 10:21 PM
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Especially for the long run of the driveway a smaller model usually only adds up to 1 additional lap. Maybe 2 if there is a big spread.

The long run is easy since anything you need to move will easily be gone in one pass. When you get to the 45" apron you may end up blowing some snow twice. This is especially true if sides are off limits due to structures, driveways or paths. The wind of the day may also make some directions unpleasant causing you to use a longer path to get it out of the way.

It may take a while to arrive at the best choreography. I am fond or routines that are non stop without reversing. This may mean loops or serpentine patterns.

I'm up to 15,000 square feet and it can run between just under 2 hours to nearly 4 in a big (16"+) storm. Your lighter snowfalls will be quicker. At some point it's just the shear amount of time it takes to navigate the area. How fussy you are about spillover is also a factor.

The payback is control of your property and the ability to be opened up at will. I don't need to drive out over the lawn to drive snow in deep hoping to have enough space for the winter. I work the needed area, no more no less. Come spring the worst my lawn knows is a little pitched gravel that I rake away.

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post #7 of 10 Old 09-21-2016, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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My big issue is the area i have to clear.
Interesting advice though. I have an older Airens 522 that I used at the last house i owned where i had a 2 stall drive [17 foot wide] and I found it a pain to use with anything over minimal snow fall. It didn't seem to have the power to throw more than 7 foot or so which in this case would be throwing the same snow 3 to 4 times before I get it off the drive. unless I had powder. I ended up shoveling most of the time anyway.

If the time to clear isn't going to be much quicker I may just go with a plow and trade the time in the cold for a little more grass work in the spring.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-22-2016, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitedj View Post
My big issue is the area i have to clear.
Interesting advice though. I have an older Airens 522 that I used at the last house i owned where i had a 2 stall drive [17 foot wide] and I found it a pain to use with anything over minimal snow fall. It didn't seem to have the power to throw more than 7 foot or so which in this case would be throwing the same snow 3 to 4 times before I get it off the drive. unless I had powder. I ended up shoveling most of the time anyway.

If the time to clear isn't going to be much quicker I may just go with a plow and trade the time in the cold for a little more grass work in the spring.
Having to put up with a plow on the front of your daily driver would be miserable, but would clear your large driveway quickly.

I would think there is something wrong with an Ariens 522 that only throws 7 ft. The current 2 stage machines will throw 40 to 60 ft depending on power and wind direction, and clear the snow at a fast walking pace or a jog for the 12 or so hp machines where you can use 6th gear. If you are blowing directly into the wind from your side then set the chute deflector to horizontal and slightly forward (from the side discharge) and you will easily blow 20 ft without getting snowed on, farther if you don't mind a bit of snow blowing in your face.

Good luck with your choice.

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post #9 of 10 Old 09-22-2016, 10:52 AM
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I've never done the math, but roughly speaking, I spend probably 30% of the time on activities not actively removing snow. This includes: changing chute direction, turning around, changing speeds, reversing, repositioning. Any blower that can reduce the time those activities take is worth it in my book.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-22-2016, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitedj View Post
My big issue is the area i have to clear.
Interesting advice though. I have an older Airens 522 that I used at the last house i owned where i had a 2 stall drive [17 foot wide] and I found it a pain to use with anything over minimal snow fall. It didn't seem to have the power to throw more than 7 foot or so which in this case would be throwing the same snow 3 to 4 times before I get it off the drive. unless I had powder. I ended up shoveling most of the time anyway.

If the time to clear isn't going to be much quicker I may just go with a plow and trade the time in the cold for a little more grass work in the spring.
My apron is about 70' square and on a slope. My usual pattern is actually a diagonal arc for most storms the reblow occurs as I move the snow that fell near the edges naturally to begin with. A machine with 7' range is not the answer for sure.I run 8-10 HP with an occasional 7 or 6 HP.

If you have the truck to push a blade, have the blade or care to invest and are good with the consequences of plowing then clearing 7' or so at a shot from a heated cab is tough to counter.
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