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Winter Snow & Ice Maintenance Product Guide

Winter weather in the Midwest is anything but predictable. Mother Nature has a wide variety of weapons to throw at us, and as any winter warrior will tell you using the right tool for the job at hand is vital to handle whatever comes your way. At Buckeye Power Sales, we carry the solution to your winter tasks, no matter how big or small. But before you begin, it's critical to know what the best tools are to get the job done. Our Winter Maintenance Product Guide will help you get started.

What to Look for in a Snowblower

For most jobs around the neighborhood, a quality snowblower is what you'll need. But snowblowers come in different shapes and sizes, so knowing their capabilities is the first step to sizing up your task. Snowblowers typically come in single-stage and two-stage models. While there is some overlap, the amount of snowfall and the area you have to cover will determine what model will best work for you.

Single-Stage Snowblowers

Single-stage snowblowers, like the Honda HS720ASA, are your lightest and most maneuverable models, suited for light, dry snowfall of about eight inches or less. A rubber-coated auger does double-duty, providing some forward drive while directing snow up through the snowblower's discharge chute. Electric start or pull start gas-powered, single-stage snowblowers are ideal for the average driveway but should be limited to use on smooth, paved surfaces.

Two-Stage Snowblowers

Two-stage snowblowers take your game up a notch when you're dealing with wet or heavy snow, up to around 24 inches deep. A two-stage blower like this Toro Power Max 724 first scoops up snow with its auger. An impeller fan then throws the snow out its chute. Two-stage snow blowers are gas-powered electric start or pull start with engine-driven wheels, allowing you to tackle uneven and unpaved surfaces. Some come with a number of bells and whistles (this Toro comes with Anti-Clogging System, hardened gears, quick lever chute control, locking zip deflector, one-piece unibody construction and squared off deep lug tires for the best possible traction).

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Choosing a Snow Plow

For the big jobs and street cleaning, you will need to upgrade to a full-size snow plow. A snow plow is different than a snow pusher in that it is fully open and can push snow to the front or to the side rather than transport. Finding a quality snow plow for your need makes the difference between a decade of use and the cost of buying replacement parts and downtime. Identifying what kind of plowing you will be doing is a key first step. For smaller jobs, you can most likely get away with a smaller 6-7' blade but for larger jobs a larger 8'-10' blade is required. The type of blade used will depend on your job need as well.

V-plow vs Straight Blade

Straight plows can provide straightforward plowing and work for most simple jobs. Straight blades are typically the lower cost option but aren't right for every job. V-Plow creates a V-shape that has the ability to provide multiple positions from the blade. V-Plows are typically better for icy jobs and provide more flexibility. Straight blades are the most common but upgrading to a V-blade could provide a better return in the long run for commercial jobs.

Vehicle Use

Some snowplows are designed for SUV's, light pick-ups or utility vehicles with the ability to easily mount and unmount quickly while others are built for commercial use on larger vehicles and trucks. Always be sure to identify how much weight your vehicle can handle when choosing a snow plow. For most commercial use you will need a larger pickup truck or commercial vehicle to handle the plow weight. Never buy a plow that your vehicle can't handle or easily mount. For commercial use consider if the plow must be transferred between vehicles.

Making the Decision

Finding a quality dealer is just as important as the right plow to ensure you get the best deal and the best upkeep on your investment. Once you narrow down the type and need find a dealer you trust to make the final decision.

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How a Snow Pusher Works

For medium-to-large commercial projects, it's time to graduate to a snow pusher. Rather than hurling snow and ice through the air, a snow pusher mounts to your wheel loader, or skid steer to quickly clear the way. And we mean quick - models like the Snowex 53000 are available from 8 to 12 feet wide to allow for tighter or wider spaces. A standard universal mounting plate system means your snow pusher will sync with whatever piece of equipment you own. Snow pushers are a good option for simple jobs with the end goal of moving snow in a larger contained space. Typically, these cost less than a snow plow and require less maintenance since there are fewer moving parts.

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How to Choose the Right Salt Spreader

Whether it's for a ten-foot front walk or multiple commercial clients, choosing the right salt spreader for the job will save you time, energy, and money. Salt spreaders come in three varieties: small walk-behinds, bulk spreaders, and tailgate spreaders. Each of these is better suited for different tasks.

Bulk Spreaders and Sprayers

Large-capacity bulk spreaders and brine sprayers are ideal for the biggest jobs and save you time on having to return to pick up more de-icing material. Models like the Snowex VSS-3000 can carry an impressive 300 gallons of de-icing solution, with up to 25-foot wide coverage with each pass. It's important, however, that you select the right spreader for your truck - make sure the spreader when fully loaded doesn't exceed your truck's rear axle rating.

Tailgate Spreaders

Most medium-sized jobs, like smaller parking lots or long driveways, can be handled with a tailgate spreader. With a variety of sizes and models, talking to our specialists is the best way to select what you need - it all depends on the size of your contracts, distance from your salt supply, the frequency of stops, etc.

Walk-Behind Spreaders

Walk-behind spreaders are ideal for smaller de-icing needs, such as smaller sidewalks or residential driveways. But they're also very handy to have in the back of your work truck as well, for hard-to-reach areas or to quickly cover a bare spot. Walk-behinds typically come in drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders. Drop spreaders work well for narrow, long walkways; broadcast spreaders are perfect for larger coverage areas.

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Ice Melt Products

When it comes to selecting a de-icing solution, there are a multitude of options at your fingertips, and Buckeye Power Sales carries a full line of salt and brine products.

Choosing the right product comes down to how big your job is, and how cold the outside temperatures are. Most rock salts are only effective down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. For lower temperatures, calcium chloride or other blends are needed, which can continue to melt ice and snow down to -25 degrees F.

Here are a few tips to know about ice melting products that will help you develop a plan:

  • Do not treat concrete surfaces such as steps and walks unless they are at least six months old – otherwise, the melting product can pit and damage the masonry material
  • Most melting products can harm vegetation, so be careful when spreading near lawns or yard plants
  • Apply as little product as necessary in areas with the most foot traffic
  • Wash the treated area thoroughly in the spring to help remove any lingering product
  • If in doubt about what you need we can help you determine the best formula and volume to tackle your job

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If in doubt about what you need we can help you determine the best formula and volume to tackle your job No matter the season, Buckeye Power Sales has the right equipment for the task at hand. Take a look at winter product lines and contact us to get started.