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Snowblower Spotlight: 4 Features You Didn’t Know You Needed

January 12, 2023

Freshly fallen snow is beautiful. Children get excited about sledding, snowmen, snowball fights, and snow angels. And how about enjoying a warm drink in front of a blazing fireplace while gazing outside at the winter wonderland that used to be your driveway? Sounds lovely, right? 

It sounds lovely until you realize that someone needs to clear all that snow away so you can get the car out of the garage, and that someone is you. 

Unless your idea of fun is removing waist-high snow from your driveway with a shovel, give that shovel and your back a well-deserved rest, and get a snow blower. A snow blower can help you clear your driveway after a snow storm in record time, and it could be a lifesaver if you need to leave your home during an emergency. If you already own a snowblower, don’t forget to get it serviced so it will be ready to go when you need it. 

Here’s a quick guide to snowblower features so you’ll know which snowblower is the best fit for you. 

  • Power Turn Steering: You’ve heard of power steering but what about power turn steering? What happens when you get to the end of your snowy driveway and need to turn around and head back up your driveway to keep clearing snow? You can either put your back and shoulder into it and push or rely on power turn steering technology. Your snow blower senses the direction you’re trying to turn and automatically engages the drive system to help you. Whether you’re making a U-turn at the end of your driveway or path or attempting to maneuver around an obstacle, all it takes is a slight push to the left or right and your snow blower will make that turn a piece of cake.  
  • Headlights: Lights on a snowblower may sound a little extra until you’ve tried to clear your driveway on a dark, frigid morning. Not only are LED lights convenient when it’s dark outside, but they also ensure your safety. You’ll be able to make your presence known to passing vehicles, see when you get close to the curb, plus you’ll have ample time to stop and remove any obstacles ahead like that bike left on the driveway the night before. A snowblower equipped with LED lights frees you up to safely clear your driveway any time, whether or not the sun is shining. 
  • Heated Hand Grips: This may sound pretty luxurious at first, but when you’ve been outside in the cold and wet clearing snow for an hour, keeping your hands warm is essential. Ever heard anyone complain about their hands being too warm while they were blowing snow? Neither have we. When your hands are warm, you have more energy and focus to concentrate on getting the job done. 
  • Dash-Mounted Chute Control: When you use a snow blower, the snow is pushed into a high-speed impeller that propels it out of a chute. The chute control directs which way you blow the snow. At the end of every path, you have to change chute direction. When the wind changes direction, you need to adjust the chute again. No one wants to stop their snow blower just to turn a crank that controls the chute direction. Making small adjustments are important, though, because you don’t want to throw your snow into the street or back onto your cleared sidewalks or driveway. A snow blower equipped with a dash-mounted chute control means you stay in control of where you want all that snow to go. Having the chute controls within easy reach means you can decide where to safely send that snow without being slowed down every time you need to change direction. Small conveniences like this speed up the job so you can get on with your day. 

Choose a snow blower with features like these that make your life easier and you’ll be able to safely and quickly get your snow cleared away so you can get back to that blazing fireplace and warm drink. 

Winter Storm Prep 101

December 15, 2022

Winter Storm Prep 101

A winter power outage that only lasts an hour or two is inconvenient, but when the lights go out, no one knows when they’ll come back on. For peace of mind now as cold weather sets in, prepare for winter storms ahead of time to avoid the inconvenience of a short-term outage but especially to protect your family from the dangerous results of an extended outage.

No power means no heat, and if you’re surrounded by heavy snow, blizzard conditions, and icy roads, getting out of the house might not be an option for a few days. Here are five things you can do to prepare for severe winter weather.  

  1. Prepare an emergency kit

If you live in an area where ice storms frequently cause power outages, make sure you have a first aid kit, medications, a portable phone charger, batteries, flashlights, extra blankets, and a battery-powered radio, as well as a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food for your family and your pets. If someone in your family relies on prescription medications, keep them filled. It’s also smart to keep your gas tank full and have extra propane or gasoline on hand to fuel your portable generator. Don’t have a generator yet? Read on. 

  1. Purchase a generator

Nothing’s more important than the health and safety of your family. When the power goes out due to a winter storm, will your family be safe and warm? If you don’t already have one, purchasing a generator you can rely on should be a top priority.

There are two main types of generators for winter storm preparation: portable generators and home standby generators

A portable generator is great if you only want to back up a few essentials. Portable generators come in different sizes, they run on either gasoline or propane (duel fuel generators run on either), and they don’t need to be installed. 

If you’d like to power more than just the essentials, or even your whole home, you may want to have a standby generator installed. Standbys never need refueling since they’re connected to your propane or natural gas system. Your home standby generator starts automatically when the power goes out and returns to standby when power is restored, ensuring warmth and safety for your family during a winter storm power outage. If you want to learn more about the difference between home standby generators and portable generators, this resource will help.

  1. Prepare your home

To prevent expensive damage from burst water pipes, insulate pipes in exposed areas, and when the temperature drops, let water drip from faucets served by uninsulated outdoor pipes. Keep the warmth in and the cold out by installing storm windows or insulating your windows from the inside with plastic, or pick up an insulation kit at your local hardware store. Check around your doors for air leaks and add weatherstripping where needed. Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re backed up by fresh batteries so they’ll work during an outage. Trim any tree branches that could be a danger to your home if they fell, and make sure your roof and shingles are in top condition so they can withstand heavy snow and strong winds.

  1. Prepare your yard

Mulch your gardens to protect plants that you don’t want to freeze. Follow recommendations from a local nursery about the best way to preserve your plants. Store or cover outdoor items that could be damaged during a winter storm. No matter how bad the weather is outside, it’s never an option to run your portable generator or inverter inside. The best way to protect your investment is with a Champion Storm Shield generator cover. The cover withstands winds up to 70 mph, snow loads up to 18 inches, and rain up to 12 inches a day so you can run your generator with confidence in severe weather.

  1. Purchase a snow blower

Unless your idea of fun is removing waist-high snow from your driveway with a shovel, buy a snow blower. A snow blower can help you clear your driveway after a snowstorm in record time, and it could be a lifesaver if you need to leave your home during an emergency. If you already own one, get it serviced each fall so it will be ready to go when you need it. Be sure you check your local news to see if the roads are clear so you don’t put yourself or others at risk by venturing out when it’s not safe. 

Prepare your vehicle with things you might need in case you get stranded in a storm when you’re out. Here’s your car emergency kit checklist: blankets, water, chains, jumper cables, ice scrapers, maps, bottled water, coats, hats, gloves, boots, non-perishable snacks, and a first aid kit. The pros recommend keeping sand or cat litter on hand to give your tires better traction on snow or ice in case you get stuck.

Take care of your winter storm prep now and face the unknowns of winter weather with confidence. 

Prepare Now for Peace of Mind Later

November 22, 2022

Our lives depend on power. When a power outage occurs, we not only experience a huge interruption to the natural flow of life, we feel vulnerable and out of control.

Short power outages aren’t usually a big deal, but the longer an outage continues, the more at risk you begin to feel. Food in your freezer and fridge begins to thaw. Your home may become dangerously cold or unbearably hot. If you or your loved ones rely on devices powered by electricity or medication that requires refrigeration, a power outage can be life-threatening.

Peace of Mind 24/7

Now’s the time to get prepared so you can ensure the safety and security of your loved ones and your home during a power outage. Portable generators are perfect for tailgating, powering your RV, or backing up a few essential items in your home. However, your portable generator doesn’t turn on automatically for you when the power goes out. Guess what does? A home standby generator! 

If your home experiences a power outage, a home standby generator can step in immediately, usually within about 10 to 15 seconds. You and your family may not even notice that an outage has occurred. HSBs are fully automated to start as soon as power loss is detected. When power is restored, your home standby unit will turn off after about 30 seconds and will need 3 to 5 minutes to cool down. 

If you want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your family’s needs can be met during a power outage, a home standby generator keeps watch over your home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Talk about peace of mind, right?

Permanent Installation

Home standby generators, or HSBs, also known as permanent or stationary generators, are permanently installed in your yard. Your HSB connects directly to your home’s electrical system and runs on your home’s fuel supply, either natural gas or propane. 

Before you choose a home standby generator, you need to understand the needs of your home and calculate the overall cost and long-term savings. Get equipped now with all the information you need so you can protect your family and your home with a new HSB. 

Understand the needs of your home

A HSB is a long-term investment, so make sure you choose one that’s the right size to meet your needs. Don’t overspend on a larger generator if a smaller one can meet the power needs of your home. Think through what items in your house you’d like to power during an outage. Do you only want to keep the essentials going, or do you want whole-house power? 

A generator’s output tells you how much power it delivers to your home. Most manufacturers have user-friendly tools on their websites to help you choose the best HSB for your needs. Start here with our Home Standby Generator Calculator or ask a dealer or an electrician to make a size recommendation for you.  

You need to know: 

Calculate the overall cost and long-term savings

The first thing you need to understand is the difference between the cost of the unit and the cost of ownership. Consider the money you’ll save long-term by purchasing an HSB. Remember, unlike a portable generator, an HSB must be professionally installed, so your purchase includes the HSB unit plus the cost of installation. 

On natural gas, a home standby generator can run almost indefinitely, and when connected to an appropriately sized propane tank, it can provide power for up to a week. If your power is out for a week or more, an HSB may actually pay for itself during one power outage!

An article like this one by Consumer Reports provides HSB ratings by brand. 

  • Compare the generator output to the purchase cost.
  • Compare the sound levels when the HSB is actually in use.
  • Take note of the length of the manufacturer’s warranty and what is covered. Parts are usually the most expensive item on a repair bill, so learn what parts are covered and how long the coverage lasts.
  • Are there items you will need that are not included? For example, you may need a cold weather kit in your area to aid startup in the winter. 
  • Your HSB will need annual service appointments and periodic replacement of spark plugs, oil, filters, and starting batteries.

Now it’s time to find a local dealer. Make sure the dealer you choose can service your new HSB and perform warranty repairs. 

Installation Pro Tip: The total cost may be lower if your electric meter and gas meter are located on the same side of the house. Costs may be higher if they’re on opposite sides of the house. HSBs can’t be installed within 5 feet of a window, door, vent, or other openings to keep exhaust gas from entering your home.

An entire job quote can include: 

  • Delivery of your unit and preparation of the ground for installation
  • Landscape modifications if necessary
  • Connection to your home’s electrical system using an automatic transfer switch (ATS)
  • Connection to your home’s fuel system of natural gas or propane 
  • All connections completed to code with permitting as required
  • Battery installation and cold weather kit (if needed) installation
  • Start up and instruction on the operation and use of your home standby
  • Clean up of installation site and removal of all debris
  • Warranty registration of your HSB with the manufacturer
  • (Don’t forget to ask for all the related product and warranty documentation, plus the dealer contact information.)

Buying a home standby generator means if there’s a power outage, you and your family will be confident and in control. No more unexpected disruptions. No more inconvenience. No more worries about the health and safety of your family. 

Imagine the peace of mind your new home standby generator will provide.