One of the most dreaded winter chores has to be shoveling snow. As a homeowner in the Midwest, this is a chore that has to be faced every winter. Today we want to give you some snow shoveling tips to make this easier and quicker for you.
The first of our snow shoveling tips is to make sure you are dressed for the job. If the temperature is 20 degrees or higher, you will want to dress in layers. As you get started shoveling the snow you will find that you warm up quite a bit and not need all the clothes that you started out with! If it is colder than 20 degrees, you will still want to dress in layers but it is less likely that you will be doing much shedding of clothes.
A snow shoveling tip that doesn’t actually involve snow or shovels is something that you need to do before the ground freezes and the snow falls. In preparation for the first snow of the year, you may want to line your driveway, walkway, and sidewalks with tall stakes. Once the snow falls this makes it easier to identify where you need to shovel snow. This is especially useful if you hire a company to handle your snow removal. While you are more familiar with the layout of your yard and driveway, this wouldn’t be true for a snow removal company. Placing of these stakes can help protect your yard from damage from shovels or snow removal equipment.
Now we are getting into the snow shoveling tips that actually help with the shoveling! Make sure you have the right shovel for the job. This really isn’t the place to buy a cheap shovel, even if you think you may only use it a couple times a year. After the first major snowfall, your back will thank you for investing in a good snow shovel. While a larger shovel may seem logical, you will soon realize that once you fill that shovel up it can be too heavy to move or lift! A medium sized shovel with a plastic or aluminum blade is your best bet. Some people prefer the bent handle ergonomic shovels while others stick with the traditional straight handle shovels. This is personal preference and is totally up to you. Try to do some dry runs in the store to make sure the shovel is the right height/angle for you to use it properly, lifting with your legs and not your back. Regardless of the material your shovel is made out of, you can make the surface non-stick by spraying it with cooking spray before you begin shoveling.
If you are going to be clearing off a patio or deck, you will want to make sure that you have a shovel that has a nylon wear strip in order to protect the wood from the damaging blade of the shovel.
While it seems like a pain, this snow shoveling tip will pay off in the end. Shoveling often, even throughout the storm before it has quit snowing, can actually make LESS work in the end. By waiting until the snow has stopped, you end up with more snow to move all at once which can be a real pain in your back! As the snow piles up on your paved surfaces, it also causes the temperature to drop causing a layer of ice to build up on those surfaces. At that point, you are not only dealing with snow removal but also the daunting task of removing ice.
No matter how quickly you get out to shovel your snow, ice will still happen. You can treat this with sand, salt, or kitty litter. Rock salt has the benefit of melting away, so there is no later clean up. However it is not effective in temperatures lower than 12 degrees and it can also eat away at your paved surfaces, which can leave you needing repairs in the spring. Sand and kitty litter do not have this side effect, but you may need to do some clean up in the spring after all the snow and ice has melted.
You may be temped to use an ice pick to chip away at ice, but this could cause severe damage to paved surfaces, decking, or landscaping plants.
This snow shoveling tip would seem easy enough, but so often people get done shoveling their driveway only to realize they have created a large berm of snow that needs to be removed in order to clean their walkway or sidewalk. You also want to take care not to pile snow near the foundation of your house. Melting and refreezing of this pile of snow on your foundation could cause cracks or damage to your foundation, which could result in expensive and extensive repairs.
When you are using these snow shoveling tips and moving snow off of your paved surfaces, you want to be careful not to pile that snow on top of your plants and shrubs. When you go out to shovel, you should do a quick walk around your house and use a broom to clear the snow off of the leaves, needles, and branches of your plants. You want to get to snow removed before the plants and bent over under the weight of the snow. However, if your plants do become loaded down with snow it can be safer to let the plants recover on their own, you could do more damage trying to remove the snow.
Following these snow shoveling tips should have your paved surfaces and landscaping free from snow and ice in the quickest and most efficient manner that you can do yourself. However, there is always the option of hiring a professional snow removal service. Contact your local landscaping and snow removal service for details on their pricing structure.