How to Unclog Your Snow Blower Chute

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How to Unclog Your Snow Blower Chute

When you own a snow blower, your outdoor winter workout is likely a lot lighter than that of your snow-shovelling neighbours. But that doesn’t mean you won’t run into a couple of roadblocks occasionally.

One of the most common issues snowblower operators run into while clearing their driveways is a clogged chute assembly. It’s an inconvenient problem that can quickly turn into a dangerous one if you don’t follow best safety practices when clearing out a clog or if you don’t have the knowledge.

So what causes the snowblower chute to clog? How can you prevent it? How can you unclog your snow blower’s chute?

Below we’ll answer three of the most frequently asked questions about clogged snowblower chutes so you’re ready the next time it happens to you. For other snow blower maintenance and operation tips, check out Cub Cadet’s Ultimate Snow Blower Buying and Maintenance Guide.

Remember: Before using or performing maintenance on your snow blower, read the operator’s manual so you’re familiar with the best safety practices for the machine.

How do snow blower chutes become clogged?

There are three factors that usually contribute to your snowblower chute becoming clogged during use.

The first is wet, heavy snow and it’s something that’s hard to avoid if you live in an area where that type of snowfall is common. But don’t worry because below we’ve detailed all the best ways to steer clear of a clogged snowblower chute even if you’re consistently removing wet, heavy snow from your driveway.

The second reason snow blower chutes often become clogged is because the operator is snow blowing too slowly. While it’s important to take your time to ensure you’re clearing most of the snow on your driveway in just one pass, keeping up a steady pace will help stop your chute from getting clogged. It will also result in the snow being thrown a good distance from the area you’re clearing so you lower the chance of having to clear some areas of your driveway twice.

Finally, foreign objects that are in your driveway and aren’t removed prior to snow blowing can get caught in the chute or the auger of your machine and cause a significant clog or result in severe damage to your machine. Before you snow blow your driveway, or any other surface around your property, make sure to carefully scan the area and remove any objects that could cause clogging, like a newspaper or a dog’s leash. It could save you a major headache in the future.

Keep these three factors in mind while you’re using your snow blower and it could go a long way in preventing clogs in the machine’s chute assembly. However, it doesn’t guarantee that your snow blower won’t clog at all.

What can be done to prevent a clogged snow blower chute?

Due to the nature of using a snow blower, there’s relatively little you can do to prevent it from happening 100 per cent of the time. It’s likely that at one point or another the chute is going to become clogged when you’re snow blowing.

There are three things you can try as preventative measures, however. First, as we mentioned above, find a good steady pace at which to blow snow so that you’re clearing effectively and preventing snow from slowly clogging up the chute.

Second, you can apply a non-stick spray to your snow blower’s chute assembly, auger and impeller that will help the snow glide through the machine and prevent buildup when snow is wet, heavy and difficult to throw effectively.

Lastly, do your best to start snow blowing your driveway and the areas around your house as soon as you possibly can. While it might seem inefficient to begin clearing snow before the snow has stopped falling, doing so will not only save you time but help prevent your snow blower from clogging.

How do you ask? In two ways. First, you’re not clearing as much snow as you likely would be if you were to wait until all the snow has fallen so your machine doesn’t have to work as hard to throw snow. After a particularly big snowfall, there simply might be too much for your snow blower to handle if you try to do it all at once. If conditions are safe, try getting a head start on your snow blowing.

The other reason getting an early jump on your snow blowing could help prevent clogging is because the snow may be easier to move. The longer you wait, the wetter, heavier or icier the snow may become, and that could spell clogging trouble for your snow blower’s chute assembly. This is particularly true once snow becomes compacted from foot traffic or vehicles traversing the area.

What’s the best way to unclog a snowblower chute?

First off, and most importantly, always keep the safety of yourself and others in mind when unclogging your snowblower. That means always shutting off your snow blower before unclogging the chute assembly and never using your hands or feet to clean out a clogged snowblower chute.

It can’t be overstated how important it is to never use any limbs to clear out a clogged part of your snowblower. Ignoring this warning could result in serious injury. Use your snow blower’s chute cleanout tool, which comes with most models when purchased. If you don’t have a snow blower chute, you can buy one online or in-store.

Follow these five steps to safely unclog your snow blower chute:

  1. Release the auger and drive control, then stop the engine by removing the ignition key. Stay in the operator’s position behind the snow blower’s handles until all parts of the snowblower have completely stopped moving.
  2. Grab the chute cleanout tool. Most two-stage and three-stage snow blowers come with a chute cleanout tool attached to the back of the auger housing so it’s conveniently accessible. However, the placement of the tool could differ depending on the model of snow blower.
  3. Use the chute cleanout tool to remove snow from the chute assembly. The tool has an end that is shaped much like a shovel and is effective in removing ice and snow that has become stuck in the chute assembly.
  4. Put the chute cleanout tool back in its clip on the snow blower. This might seem obvious but if you put the tool on the ground next to your snowblower or set it down in your garage, you risk losing the tool, not having it at the ready the next time you need it or even running over it with your snowblower. You’ll feel pretty silly if you clog your snow blower with the cleanout tool you need to unclog your snowblower.
  5. Re-start the snow blower to finish clearing out snow. Take your place back behind the snow blower’s handles in the operator’s position, re-insert the ignition key, start the engine and hold down the auger control to get rid of any snow that might still be left in the chute.

If you follow these steps and your snow blower remains clogged, repeat the process while continuing to carefully follow best safety practices. Should you continue to experience a clog in your snow blower and are unable to safely identify the problem, consider getting in touch with a professional to investigate the issue further.

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