Home Tip Tuesday: Tips on Snow and Ice Removal

Safety and proper tools will make snow removal easier this winter.

It looks fluffy and harmless when it’s coming down, but snow is wet and heavy and can cause serious damage. Left unchecked, snow and ice create unsafe conditions around the house, sometimes making it difficult, or even impossible, to leave or enter the home safely. Take care of your property--and yourself--the right way this winter.

Tools of the Trade
As always, the right tools make any job easier.  Use our checklist to make sure you have what it takes for safe and efficient snow removal.

  • Snow shovel – A good snow shovel should have a nonstick finish for easy unloading. Avoid oversized blades. Overloading can lead to injury. Select a lightweight, ergonomic design with an S-shaped shaft that requires less bending.
  •  Snow Pusher – The difference between a shovel and a pusher is that a pusher has a C-shaped blade. Pushers aren't meant to lift or cut into heavy snow. Use them to clear light snow from flat surfaces.
  • Deicer – A deicer keeps walkways and steps safer, but the wrong kind can damage landscape plants and even concrete. A non-salt deicer called urea is the best choice for the environment, though it can be difficult to find. Rock salt is inexpensive, but the most corrosive option. Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are the best choices if urea isn’t available or is too expensive. Remember to store deicers off the floor and keep them dry in sealed containers. Wear gloves and any other protective gear the manufacturer recommends.
  •  Snow blower – If you have large flat areas to clear, nothing does the job faster or easier than a snow blower. Keep yours in good condition by reserving it for times when there is at least 1 ½ inches of snow on the ground. Perform regular maintenance, including letting the machine run for a few minutes after use so it can dry out properly.

Stay Safe Out There
Each winter thousands of adults and children are injured while performing snow and ice removal. Falls, muscle tears, sprains, broken bones and even heart attacks occur. You can reduce the likelihood of injury by following these simple tips:

  • Use a moderately sized shovel, and do not overload it
  • Stretch and warm your muscles before beginning
  • Wear boots or shoes with good traction
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Clear surfaces by pushing the snow instead of lifting wherever possible
  • When lifting snow is necessary, avoid any twisting motions and never throw snow over your shoulder

Keep your tools in good condition, and try to remove snow and ice as soon as possible after a flurry. With a bit of planning and consistent effort, you can be back indoors enjoying the beautiful blanket of white from your coziest chair.

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