For most of the United States, the winter months mean you are going to get snow. While snow may be beautiful, it can also be pretty harmful if not cleared off of walkways. Snow that has been packed down or melted and then refrozen creates slippery ice. It's best to get up and clear away the snow quickly, before it has a chance to become icy. So while leaving the warm comforts of your home to work on snow removal in your driveway may not seem ideal, it is very important. If you don’t have much experience with snow removal this article will go over some of the basics. Even if you are a snow removal pro, there are many helpful tips and tricks you may not have considered. With these helpful snow removal tips, you won’t have to dread snow removal this winter.
Dress for Success
An important tip of snow removal is to make sure you are dressing appropriately. Not only will the proper winter apparel keep you warm, it will also keep you safe. Try and wear multiple layers when you head outside for snow removal. This keeps your muscles warm and will decrease exposure of your skin to the harsh winter air. Make sure you are wearing a hat, gloves, winter coat and boots. Boots are especially important. Not only will they keep your toes nice and toasty, but proper winter boots will give you good traction on the ice and snow. You can wear thick wool socks for added insulation and protection from blisters. If it is sunny outside, you should bring sunglasses to avoid harmful sun glares off of the snow. As long as you are dressed warmly, snow removal won’t seem so bad.
Snow Removal Tools
There are two basic types of snow removal tools you can use: snow shovel or a snow blower. There are pros and cons to either snow removal tool. Deciding which tool is best suited for you and your yard can make the world of a difference in your snow removal.
A tool commonly used for removing snow is the snow blower. A snow blower is a high powered machine that can quickly scoop up snow off of the walkway or driveway and shoot it safely over to the side. While it can drastically cut back on time and effort of snow removal, there are a few things to consider before purchasing a snow blower. If you only see snow storms a few times a season, you may not have enough snow to get your money’s worth. A snow blower is also not a good idea for people with limited space. Remember, a snow blower will need ample storage room all year long. Finally, a snow blower requires annual maintenance on the engine and blades to keep the snow blower running smoothly.
While there may be nothing fancy about a snow shovel, it has been a tried and true method of snow removal. There are a few tips you could follow when removing snow with a snow shovel to make things a little bit easier for you. The first tip is the most important. Always use an ergonomically designed snow shovel. This means that the handle either curves or telescopes out. An ergonomically designed snow shovel will really save your back while removing snow. Next, there are many different shapes and sizes of snow shovels. Pick a shovel that you are comfortable holding and that is well suited for your needs. It is important to remember that while heavy metal snow shovels may last longer, the added weight can make them difficult to push. It is important to find a snow shovel that you are comfortable working with for the best results.
Proper Snow Removal Techniques
Following safe snow removal techniques will help the job go by quickly and without injury. In order to protect your back you should remember to lift heavy loads of snow with your legs instead of putting the strain on your back. To do this, bend your knees instead of your waist when scooping the snow. When you lift the snow up, keep the shovel close to your core to reduce unnecessary strain. You should also avoid “tossing” the snow. Instead walk it over to the side to dump it. To keep other muscles from getting overly tired or strained, take short frequent breaks. Don’t push yourself too hard. Every 5-10 minutes you should try and take a 2-3 minute break. Stop and stretch your muscles. Changing up the grip on the snow shovel so that you lead with a different hand can also help tired muscles.
Make a Plan
Making a plan before you begin, can remove much of the headache of snow removal. It also helps you think a little smarter so you don’t have to work harder than necessary. If it is windy outside, work with the wind instead of against it. You don’t want to have the wind blow all the snow you just removed back onto your clean walkways. Next, look at what kind of snow you are trying to clear away. If it is wet snow it will be heavier. A snow blower will remove wet heavy snow easier than a snow shovel. When the snow is dry and lightweight a shovel can easily push the snow aside. Lastly, think about how to prevent the snow from turning to ice in the future. Try to avoid compacting the snow by driving over it in your car.
Where to Pile the Snow
Removing the snow from the driveway is just half of the battle. Now you need to decide where to store the built up snow. You should try to avoid creating a big “super pile” on one side of the driveway. These big piles can not only quickly turn to ice, but they are also prone to topple and put large chunks of snow back onto your driveway. To avoid cleaning up the snow off the driveway twice, you should evenly distribute the snow on both sides of the driveway. If the snow is from a sidewalk near the street, try to avoid tossing the snow near your home and garden. This is because the snow may be full of rock salt. The high concentration of salt could harm the plants you have planted in your garden come springtime.
While snow removal may not be your favorite part of winter, it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, the quicker you remove fresh snow, the easier it is to remove. Follow these helpful snow removal tips for a safe and warm winter of snow removal.
Related Article: Finding the Best Snow Shovel: (Top 10 Reviewed)