Managing snow and ice for businesses and commercial properties requires a little bit more than just a couple of snow shovels and a bag of road salts. Clearing snow and ice quickly is essential to avoiding accidents or injuries, as well as keeping your doors open for business when the weather gets rough. Professional snow removal contractors have a wide range of equipment at their disposal to take care of snow and ice – proper planning will make sure they use the best equipment for your property.
Types of Snow Removal Equipment
Snow Removal Machines
Removing snow starts with choosing the right machine for the job. Depending on the areas they need to be used, there are a few basic machines a snow contractor may use to clear your property.
- Trucks, be it a pickup truck, dumptruck, etc. are the most common snow removal machines and usually have a plow mounted to the front. They work well for general snow removal services, plowing streets, parking lots, and other open areas that the truck can maneuver in.
- Skid Steers (aka Bobcats or skid steer loaders) are small, versatile machines that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. They can mount plows, blowers, brooms, and buckets. While not as effective at clearing larger areas than trucks or tractors, they’re still a very popular choice for snow removal because of their size and maneuverability.
- Compact Tractors are another popular choice for snow removal because they can also be used where larger trucks or tractors typically can’t. They work great for clearing and laying down ice melt products on sidewalks.
- Wheel Loaders and Track Loaders – which use tracks/treads instead of wheels – are two types of tractors and are incredibly versatile. They are generally larger than skid steers and compact tractors, making them better suited for heavy-duty use. They have front-mounted arms that can accept a wide variety of attachments including snow plows, blowers, and brooms.
Snow Plows (aka Snow Pushers)
Snow plows are mounted on the front of trucks, skid steers, or tractors to push snow off surfaces. They consist of two main parts: the moldboard, and the cutting edge (aka blade). Moldboards are made from either steel or polyethylene, while cutting edges are usually made from steel, carbide, rubber, or polyurethane. Plows are held off the ground when not in use and lowered to engage with the ground. They can also be angled side to side to help direct snow while pushing.
There are three main types of snow plow available – straight plows, V-plows, and box/push plows.
- Straight plows are the simplest type and are ideal for clearing large open spaces including parking lots, private drives, and streets.
- V-plows are incredibly versatile because they can be changed to a V, straight, or scoop. They are useful for a variety of situations, but can be pricey.
- Box/Push plows have closed ends (sidewalls) that are used to keep the snow contained as it’s pushed forward. They’re most commonly used on skid steers or compact tractors.
Snow Brooms (aka Snow Brushes)
Powered snow brooms operate just like street sweepers – a rotating broom is pushed forward and sweeps up snow, leaves, dirt and even light gravel. They are available as push-operated units or units that can be mounted to a truck, skid steer, or tractor. Their open-ended design lets them sweep along corners and curbs without causing damage, and some models can be angled to help direct snow off of surfaces.
Snow blowers are used to break up snow and toss it aside. They are available in a range of sizes, from small push-operated blowers, man-operated but self-propelling blowers, all the way up to large mounted blowers for skid steers, tractors, or trucks. There are three main types of blowers – single-stage, two-stage, and three-stage.
- Single-stage blowers are the simplest and feature an auger that breaks up snow and tosses it aside. They directly contact the ground, so it’s incredibly important not to use them on gravel – single-stage blowers will pick up gravel and fling it out at high speeds. Single-stage blowers work best for light to moderate snowfall, and their size generally relegates them to smaller properties or walkways.
- Two-stage blowers have corkscrew-shaped augers and an impeller that blows snow away. They are generally larger than single-stage blowers, and can be used on gravel surfaces because the auger doesn’t touch the ground. Many two-stage blowers are self-propelled, and can easily clear more snow than single-stage blowers.
- Three-stage blowers are meant for heavy-duty use. They can easily collect snow and ice, chopping it up before blowing it away. They are built to handle wet and heavy snow, and can make quick work of high snowdrifts and large properties.
De-Icer / Salt Spreaders
Whether you’re using traditional road salts or liquid de-icers, keeping ice at bay requires spreaders to apply them to surfaces. Liquid de-icers require specific spreaders to apply them, but there are a few generic styles of spreaders available:
- Push Spreaders (aka pedestrian spreaders) are the simplest and are pushed by hand. They work well on sidewalks, entrances, and other uses, but take more time and effort to cover larger areas like parking lots.
- Tailgate Spreaders are usually mounted on the rear of a vehicle and spread salt or liquid de-icer as you drive along. Some models can be mounted to the hood or front of vehicles as well (skid steers tend to use spreaders mounted to the front).
- V-Box Spreaders (aka In-Bed Spreaders) sit in a truck bed and have a large carrying capacity, making them geared more towards professional / heavy-duty use.
- Tow-Behind Spreaders have a tow hitch and are pulled behind a vehicle – usually a truck or tractor. These are well-suited for covering large areas quickly, but generally aren’t used for sidewalks or other smaller areas.
Make Sure You Have The Right Tools for the Job with Snow Management Services
Our team of snow removal professionals at Snow Management Services have the equipment and experience to handle your Denver-area business or commercial property. We have been managing Denver’s rough winter conditions for over 25 years, and have everything needed to keep your property snow- and risk-free. We offer the full range of snow removal and de-icing services – starting with in-depth winter planning & risk management – including sidewalk management and off-site snow hauling. To see how SMS can keep your Denver commercial property prepared for whatever winters throw at you, give us a call today at (303) 750-8867 or get in touch with us online to get started.