When snow drifts cover the driveway, it’s reassuring to have a snowblower nearby. For many people, “nearby” means in the garage. Other people may choose to store their snowblower outdoors.
Is it a good idea to store a snowblower outside? Why might you consider keeping it there?
Why Might You Consider Storing a Snowblower Outdoors?
The most common reason for not keeping a snowblower indoors is lack of storage space. Garages and sheds are always crowded places, full of all kinds of tools, toys, boxes, and even vehicles!
For some people, the problem is that their property doesn’t even have a garage or shed. This situation is common in many urban and suburban communities.
Maybe you do have an indoor spot where you could keep your snowblower. But you don’t want all that snow and slush that comes along in with the snowblower after use. Clumps of snow melt off of the tires and auger housing, leaving puddles all over the garage floor.
Some areas receive frequent snowfall during the winter months. It may seem easiest to leave the snowblower outside rather than bringing it in after each use.
But is it a good idea to store a snowblower outside? Your snowblower is a valuable piece of equipment. You want to store it where it will be as safe as possible.
What Are the Risks Associated With Keeping a Snowblower Outside?
Parking a snowblower out in the weather exposes it to high levels of humidity. Even if you use a snowblower cover or tarp, a lot of moisture can creep in underneath.
The problem of moisture is especially severe if the snowblower is sitting on bare ground. High moisture levels increases the risk that the impeller, auger housing, and other steel components will begin to rust. Most snowblower manufacturers do not cover problems related to rust, so it is best to do all you can to avoid it.
Even the sunshine can cause damage. The ultraviolet light of the sun can eventually deteriorate the plastic and rubber parts of a snowblower, and fade the paint and decals.
Temperature extremes pose another danger. Snowblowers generally tolerate cold weather very well. But if a snowblower remains out in the cold after use, the snow that accumulated on it while blowing snow never has a chance to melt off. This is especially a problem if the temperature warms up some, and then drops again. The snow begins to melt, but then freezes again and becomes hard and encrusted on the machine. If it’s bad enough, this ice buildup will affect the performance of the snowblower the next time you need to use it.
Another issue involved with storing a snowblower outside is that of security. You don’t want to keep your snowblower where someone could easily steal it.
With these potential problems in mind, it’s easy to see that outdoor storage isn’t an ideal option. But what if it is your only option? Here are some things you can do to protect your snowblower as much as possible, even if it’s stored outside.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Snowblower if You Must Keep it Outdoors?
If possible, park the snowblower on a porch, under a deck, or on the most protected side of your house. The goal is to keep it away from rain, snow, wind and sun as much as possible.
Park the snowblower on a concrete or asphalt surface. Any kind of pavement provides better protection from moisture than bare ground does. If your only option is to set the snowblower on an unpaved surface, find a way to keep the snowblower up off the ground. Place several boards over some concrete blocks, or lay down an old pallet to create a raised platform. This will allow airflow under the machine and lower its exposure to extreme humidity.
Keep the snowblower covered when not in use. Use a cover that’s made of heavy-duty waterproof and mildew-proof fabric. It should also provide protection from harmful UV light. The cover should fit snugly around the snowblower, but don’t seal it down against the ground. You want to allow air to circulate underneath.
Be sure you don’t use a non-breathable plastic cover. Plastic will trap moisture and mildew underneath, allowing rust to form quicly.
Consider building or purchasing a small storage shed for your snowblower. You can go with a tiny structure that’s just big enough for your snowblower. Or you can make it large enough to store other outdoor equipment and tools. Check local regulations, but in many communities you can set up a small storage shed without a building permit of any kind.
Finally, if your main reason for leaving your snowblower outside is to keep snow and slush out of the garage, here’s an idea. Try rearranging your garage or shed so that you can park the snowblower closer to a floor drain. As the snow melts off the machine, the water will go down the drain rather than all over the floor.
Protect Your Snowblower, and It Will Protect You!
You depend on your snowblower to keep your driveway open during the winter months. Return the favor by keeping your snowblower as safe and dry as possible. Also, remember to follow the regular maintenance schedules printed in your owner’s manual.
Here at Shank’s Lawn Equipment we have been selling, servicing, and operating snowblowers for years. We love helping people find answers to their questions so they can get the most from their equipment.
We sell several major brands of snowblowers including Honda, Cub Cadet, and Troy-Bilt. We also have snowblower attachments for Yanmar compact tractors, and BCS walk-behind tractors. We ship snowblower parts and accessories all across the United States and Canada.