For me, it's an issue of time savings as much as the work involved.
For example, last Sunday my wife and I spent four hours shoveling out our
driveway so she could get out for work on Monday. We don't always have that
luxury. Sometimes it'll be completely clear the night before, and we'll
wake up to 6-9" on the ground.
It's not a big deal if I have all day to clear the snow away. But if we
wake up and discover it has snowed, the faster we can get the driveway
cleared the better, or else someone is going to be late for work.
Even with a snowblower, there will be plenty of hand shoveling involved
around the cars, on the walk between the house/garage, etc.
Actually, our snow is usually limited to our elevation. Go down the road
just a mile or two and there's usually nothing. People at work give you
this "yeah right" response when you tell them you're late because of snow.
Not the single stage blowers. The up side is that they clean right
to the pavement. On your gravel drive you'll get the hang of tilting
it a bit on the first snowfall until all the gravel is frozen in.
The rotor and scraper on the 1800 is plastic. If memory serves the
rotor is about $25 & the scraper about $10. You'll need a big allen
wrench, a Philips head screwdriver, and 20 minutes to change them.
Buy a spare when you buy the machine - or at least be sure the locals
carry them. nobody in NY does.
When half my driveway [probably 75' x 20 and a 20x20 turnaround] was
gravel I used to change mine nearly every year- but I get 100 inches
of snow a year.
From what you say about your snowfall I think you'll be real happy
with the electric.
no way-- 100 inches is just a heavy frost for
Tug hill.<g> They're over 112 so far this year. Just southwest of
them, near Oswego they got 60" in one 2 day storm this year.
I'm near Schenectady, NY- the 100" number is Albany, our nearest
weather station. We're usually within a few inches of them.
This year we've only gotten about 30 inches so far- I'm not
A friend was out near Oswego last year, and took pictures of roads with 10
foot high walls of snow on either side after plowing. Amazing.
I'm in Rochester. So far, the two worst things have been the drunken plow
driver taking out 4 feet of my lawn, and over the weekend, I ended up with a
4" thick glacier on my driveway. Pure ice, no snow. Pulling into the
driveway was really interesting, even with 4WD. I finally destroyed it
today, using a pitch fork to open channels for the melted water to drain
away. Tomorrow, it starts all over again.
I was in a military trainign program at Syracuse U 1967/68 winter.
Hit with a lake effect snowstorm that closed the city for an entire
week. Parking lot was a smooth, unbroken layer with drifts on top.
Not even car antennas were poking out. We fell out and hand shoveled
out to the city road - almost a 1/4 mile. Shovel until you heard a
clunk, clear a bay, clear around the vehicle, push it into the bay and
Was fun then but I wouldn't want to repeat it.
Now that I think back, it may have been my earlier tour which would
have been 65/66.
You can buy a single stage model for $400 at Wal Mart. About 10 years ago,
when my MIL moved in with us she bought me one and it still works great.
Every time I use it, I'm still grateful for it and wich I could thank her.
Single stage is good for snowfall up to about 10". If it is very heavy and
wet you have to take smaller ites, but the light anf fluffy stuff goes very
According to this firm, budget roughly 50-watts per square foot for an
electric snow melting system, so just that 20 x 30 ft. area in front
of your garage would require some 30,000-watts of electric heat (130
amps @ 230-volts). In addition to the cost of those pavers, you might
want to price out a new 400-amp service .... (or two).
Source: http://www.allwarm.com /
At $0.10 per kWh, a 30 kW system operated an average of three hours
per day would cost you about $275.00 a month. And if you plan to snow
melt your entire driveway, your costs would be in the range of a
$1,000.00 a month.
The option i find best is to just drive over the shit and not be so anal
about getting it off. Unless you're driving a go-cart, you should be able
to keep it under control just driving on it twice a day.
Actually, a snow blower will work just fine on a gravel driveway if you
know what you're doing. You have to get the first inch of snow packed
solid to cover the gravel and then start using the snow blower, ensuring
that the height adjusting skids are set properly.
I have been using a 'blower on a big gravel drive for 30 years. Only
problem I have is when it picks up a piece that gets caught between
the auger and housing and jams the machine. Skids set at about 1"
work just fine as long as the gravel drive is reasonably flat withouth
hilles, hummocks, ruts.
When I first moved in here I put in 30 yards of 'topping gravel' (1/2"
minus plus lots of fines). Bladed the drive a few years later and
added another 20. It is now as flat as a paved drive, packed hard and
very ittle difference between a paved one. I do pick up a bit of
gravel from the state highway plowing me in. Other than the 'jamming'
problem (rare) the only bad thing is the noise going through the
Get a gas powered snow blower with electric start. Get a good one, like
Aryens, from a power equipment shop that does service, even though you won't
need much with an Aryens. Be happy. You can find space for it somehow.
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