Electric Snowblower Safety

by Martin

in Accessories, Snow blower safety

When you choose an electric snowblower it is likely to be for reasons related to convenience, ease of use, environmental considerations or budget.

But once you make that choice you need to ensure that you know how to use your electric snowblower safely. After all, you will be working with electricity in wet conditions. So, It stands to reason that certain snowblower safety precautions need to be taken.

Electric snowblower extension cords

You will need a decent snowblower extension cord to give you the ability to maximize the areas around your home that you can clear.

First and foremost, you need and extension cord that is specifically made for outdoor use.

Such cords will be heavier duty than those used indoors. They will be properly sealed against moisture and more resistant to damage.

You should be able to find one that is approved by the likes of the CSA or OHSA. Look for one with a wire type SJTW, that is rated to handle lower temperatures (e.g. down to -40 degrees F (-40degrees C).

The gauge (or AWG rating) of the cord is also important. Always check the cord manufacturers’ ratings but, as a rule of thumb:

  • A cord of 150 feet in length should be a minimum 12 gauge cord
  • A cord of 100 feet in length should be a minimum 14 gauge cord
  • A cord of 50 feet in length should be a minimum 16 gauge cord

The better outdoor extension cords tend to have reinforced blades to protect against bending. They also have a light at the female end to indicate that a current is present and are of a high visibility color, so as to prevent accidental cutting. This Coleman cable, available from Amazon is a good example:


Coleman Cable 02469 14/3 SJTW Low-Temp Outdoor Extension Cord with Lighted End, 100-Foot

Other extension cord safety points to consider are:

  • Always check the cord before use to make sure it is undamaged
  • Periodically check that the there are no cuts or abrasions around the insulation of the cord and that the blades are firmly seated in position
  • Don’t pull on the cord to remove it from the receptacle socket
  • Don’t carry your snowblower by the cord
  • Keep the cord away from any corrosive materials, from heat, oil or sharp edges

Electricity supply

You should always make sure that the voltage of your electricity supply corresponds with the voltage for which you electric snowblower is rated.

Also make sure that the circuit and/or electrical outlet that you intend to use has Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection.

This means that the supply cuts out automatically in the event that a change in current flow is detected. Such a change will occur if a fault causes a grounding of the current through the snowblower operator (which is when a potential electric shock will occur) or if the cable is cut.

Other electric snowblower safety precautions

  • Make sure your snowblower’s switch is in the “Off’ position before plugging it in.
  • Don’t carry your snowblower with your hands near the start up switch while it is plugged in, in case of an accidental start up
  • Make sure all moving parts have stopped and that you disconnect the snowblower from the power before you attempting to clean, clear, repair or maintain you snowblower
  • Unplug and let your snowblower cool down, allowing excess water to drain off it, before you store it.

Of course, most of this stuff is common sense, but there’s no room for risk taking with electricity and power equipment. Follow these tips and stay safe with your electric snowblower.

Resources

Coleman Cable 02469 14/3 SJTW Low-Temp Outdoor Extension Cord with Lighted End, 100-Foot

Designers Edge E-103 Cord Storage Wheel


Yellow Jacket 2885 12/3 Heavy-Duty 15-Amp SJTW Contractor Extension Cord with Lighted Ends, 100-Feet


Tower Manufacturing 30334052 15 amp Auto Reset GFCI Protected Quad Outlet Box With Circuit Breaker

Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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