How to Make Snow and Ice Removal Easier This Year

Gutter heat
Is this your driveway in the winter? If so, you’ll probably want to make ice removal easier this year.

If staring down your driveway in the winter months is like staring at a skating rink — or worse, a luge run — you probably want to invest in some better ways to clean the snow and ice off of your garden, pathways, and driveways this year. Making it easier to move from place to place in the winter not only makes your home more functional — it also makes it far safer for your family. How can you make it easier to keep the snow and ice from accumulating in all of the wrong places around your home? 

1. Clean Off Your Shovel

If you’re shovelling snow on a consistent basis, you know that shovelling wet snow is the worst. It clumps and sticks to your shovel, and it is heavy, making shovelling harder and harder as you go along. If you’re struggling with the shovelling, add some cooking spray or oil to your snow shovel. This will help you avoid the dreaded clumps that tend to stick to your shovel. Make sure you wipe down your shovel before you store it again.

2. Alternatives to Shovels and Snow Blowers

If your shovel is broken or shovelling is not your thing, consider placing a tarp over areas where you know you’ll need to walk when snow is expected. Lift the tarp away to reveal the stairs or sidewalk underneath. Note that this only works when you don’t receive a lot of snow and when the snow is not overly heavy. The Family Handyman also recommends that you use a leaf blower for a thin layer of lightweight snow — this snow can be hard to shovel, but it’s easy to blow away.

3. Adjust Your Shovel 

If you find that your back gets really sore from all of that snow shovelling, invest in an ergonomic shovel this year. If you want to use your old trusty shovel, add an adjustable handle that allows you to convert your old shovel into one that is better suited to your back. 

Gutter heat
How can you retire your snow shovel — or at least sign it up for lighter duty? 

4. Choose Your Ice Melter Wisely

Preparing your pathways and driveway by using an ice melter helps make sure that the layer at the bottom of the snow does not turn to ice. However, if you want to save your paths and your garden, make sure that you choose your ice melter wisely. Angie’s List makes the following observations about some common ice melting products: 

Salt — This is inexpensive, but it does not work when the temperature drops below 25. It also makes your soil very salty, potentially damaging plants. 

Calcium chloride — It works well at low temperatures and has a smaller impact on the soil, but it leaves a residue behind that can hurt your flooring and pets’ feet, so wash these off if you use calcium chloride. 

Calcium magnesium acetate — This is expensive, but it doesn’t hurt your plants or concrete.

5. Add a Gutter Heating System

While icicles in your gutter might seem like the least of your concerns on some winter mornings, over time they can cause serious damage to your roof. The water that thaws and then freezes under your roofing can lead to rot and to leaks under your shingles. Heavy icicles that sit in your gutter also lead to gutter damage, and this causes overflowing, backed-up gutters during the rest of the year. Luckily, there is a simple solution. Knocking your icicles off is dangerous for you and for your gutters, but a gutter heat system will prevent them from forming in the first place. Add this system before the winter begins, and you’ll never need to worry about icicles forming in your gutters during the season of ice and snow.

At Harry Helmet, we want to make home maintenance easier. With our gutter heat and gutter cover systems, you’ll never need to clean out your gutters again. Are you curious about how we can make your home maintenance simple? Schedule a free estimate today.


Written by Del Thebaud

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