In the middle of the winter when snowfall is at its worst, it’s standard to wake up to towering sheets of fresh snow several inches high.
The first item on your to-do list on such mornings is to clear it from your driveway and get to drive to work.
Hence, Is It Rude to Use a Snow Blower Early in The Morning?
Generally, yes, but can depend on where you are and the prevailing factors. Many towns and cities want your walkway cleared within a day of a storm or snow emergency. Start too early and you could pay a fine. Overnight storms and heavy snow means you must get up as early as allowed and get rid of all that stuff.
When’s The Earliest That You Should Use The Snow Blower?
Any moment around 5:30 am and 6:00 am sounds about right for most people in most neighborhoods.
And that’s only because people normally leave for work quite early.
I think we are all guilty of it – I’ve woken up at around 6:00 am to clear my driveway multiple times.
No person wants to live near a neighbor that doesn’t clear their driveways on time during the winter.
Check Your State’s Noise Ordinances
But how soon is too soon? The first thing you should do when you are unsure is to check your state’s noise ordinance rules.
Many noise ordinances outlaw the use of noise-generating equipment between 9:00 pm – 7:00 am.
However, different towns and cities can impose their anti-noise ordinances according to prevailing factors in their areas.
In Chicopee, MA, for example, noise over 50 decibels any time between 11:00 pm – 7:00 am is prohibited.
Springfield (in the same state) lets you run noisy equipment a little earlier. Here, you are allowed to fire up the snowblower at 5:00 am – you can go on as long as want until midnight during storms and severe snow emergencies.
Start your engine before 5:00 am and a $100 fine will be put on your name.
Check Your Local Area Noise Ordinances
Secondly, check what your local ordinance rules say about plows – they are just as noisy as snow blowers.
Some areas have certain laws for plows and another entirely different set of codes for snowblowers.
Many plow companies are compelled to operate the entire night to keep up with the storm or snowfall and keeps the roads clear for morning commuters.
What if your town has no specific noise ordinance rules in place? Well, in that case, you’ll have to switch to the state’s stipulated quiet hours if any. Most states’ quiet hours fall between 7:00 am – 9:00 pm.
Note that weekday’s quiet hours are almost always different from weekend’s quiet hours, so check both.
Talk it out
In absence of any clear rules regarding noise, it is easier to reach out and hear your neighbor’s opinion about your morning plans.
Things like yard lights, snow blowers, bug zappers, and yappy dogs bother some neighbors, but others may view them as necessities of normal city living.
The courage of asking the neighbor alone is enough to show them you are considerate about their welfare.
How Loud Is Your Snow Blower?
One of the many factors you need to consider regarding removing snow at odd hours is the level of noise generated by your snow blower.
The older the equipment, the least technologically advanced it is, and the louder the noise you’ll generate.
So, if you are still using some legacy blowers you need to rethink because the unbearable noise will certainly wake up your neighbors, fuming.
It is time to go for newer and less noisy equipment that are far quieter, barely detectable.
If you are hard-pressed, do it!
If it has been snowing way too heavy and you don’t have many choices (you didn’t even get the opportunity to talk to your neighbors) go ahead and blow the snow off your driveway at those odd hours!
After all, you must clean your walkway to fit your life/work schedule, so must everyone else. Most people will understand.
You can assume your neighbors have insulators in place, plus double-pane thermos windows.
Chances are very high they have all these add-ons installed on their windows (honestly, who would survive the winter without insulation?).
Better yet, most people prefer to shut their windows most of the time at the peak of the winter so no one will hear your snow blower. Nonetheless, I believe the fine snow deadens the noise very much the same way as insulation.
Bribe them with kindness
So you didn’t have many choices and went on to clear the snow at odd hours – in absence of clear rules, at least.
Try to make your neighbors understand by cleaning their driveways as well.
I like to clean my four immediate neighbors’ walkways as a friendly gesture even within the recommended clearing hours and some of them tend to return the favor with cases of beer and packets of roasted beef at my gate.
And if they were to complain about this act of kindness plus the noise from my snow blower, I would just eliminate them from the list of the people I treat nice.
Clearing The Lawn Vs. Clearing The Driveway – Which Is Which?
Whether you should even think of waking up early in the morning to clear the snow can depend on the kind of cleaning work at hand.
See, there is a slight difference between clearing the snow from your lawn (something unsightly, yes, but one that can wait) and clearing the snow off your driveway (something you must do for your car to take you to work).
The latter seems more compelling, so you’d be justified to stir your neighborhood a bit and clear the driveway.
If someone else in the neighborhood wakes up too early and fires up their snow blower at 5:00 am so they can free their car and leave for work, that should be fine with you a well.
Leaf blowers, however, are a whole different topic. Very much like lawnmowers, they should never be operated outside the recommended hours unless they are quiet as a mouse.
If it is for purely aesthetic purposes, it doesn’t matter whether a snow blower or lawnmower is involved, everyone should wait until more reasonable hours.
But if it is about people’s safety or about avoiding trouble, say, by reporting to work late or missing a flight, go ahead and rip the snow off the driveway early in the morning.
Is it rude to use a snow blower early in the morning? Certainly yes, but can depend on where you live and certain prevailing factors.
Many towns and cities want your walkways cleared in 24 hours after the storm has abated but start too early and you could pay a fine.
Still, an overnight storm means you should get up very early and start clearing the snow.