5 Safety Tips to Remove Snow and Ice this Winter

Written by Cristina Miguelez Posted On Wednesday, 27 December 2023 00:00

Winter is coming and with it comes the snow and ice that many homeowners need to clear from their properties. Both snow and ice can create a safety hazard leading up to your home. This is particularly problematic, not only for those living there, but also for anyone selling their home this season. Both heavy snow and ice can make it difficult to enter a building safely, and they can also cause damage to a home as well, potentially lowering its value. For this reason, it’s usually a good idea to tackle the snow and ice around your home in a timely way each snowfall.

There are a lot of ways you can go about doing this, from hiring a snow removal service to investing in special equipment. The following five tips for removing snow and ice this winter are designed to help you and your property deal with winter a little more safely.Start Early and Often

Snow becomes heavier as it builds up on walkways, steps, and your roof. And if it melts partially, then refreezes, it becomes ice, which is even more hazardous beneath your feet than packed snow. Removing fallen snow early and often makes it safer and easier to do. It also makes it less costly; by removing snow before it has a chance to build up, you can prevent issues such as having too much weight on your roof. 

Pay attention to what type of snow it is; wetter snow falling at higher temperatures is heavier than drier snow, and it will need to be removed more often.  

Use the Right Ice Melt

Ice melt and rock salt can help keep steps clear, helping to eliminate any leftover snow that melted and refroze, and in some cases helping to prevent refreezing from taking place. The wrong ice melt can be poisonous for pets and harmful to landscaping, however. When you coat your walkways or driveway with ice melt, the runoff will end up in your landscaping, and it could result in some dead or brown plants come spring. Pets and other animals crossing your driveway may pick up some of the ice melt on their feet. If they lick their feet clean later, this could poison them. Always use a pet safe ice melt to avoid these issues, and make sure that you apply it frequently to prevent any refreezing. 

Push Snow, Don’t Lift It

It can be tempting to try to lift up big shovelfuls of snow and toss them aside to clear your paths. But doing so can quickly lead to fatigue, as well as to potential injuries to your shoulders and back. The recommended method of shoveling snow by the National Safety Council is to push snow, not lift it. 

If you’re shoveling often, so the snow isn’t building up and getting heavy, then it’s usually easy to push the snow along the walk or driveway and out of the way. If you struggle with this technique, there are two-handled shovels that are designed for easier pushing; they can clear a lot of snow in very short periods of time, without potentially harming your back. 

Get a Long Handled Rake

Having a little snow on your roof isn’t going to hurt it. But if you live in an area that sees snow storm after snow storm with little to no melting in between, then the built-up snow could start to cause some issues. Once snow reaches the weight of 20 pounds per foot, it can begin to be too much for the structure of your roof. If left in place, it can cause leaks and roof damage at a minimum and a potential cave in at the worst. 

While you can hire someone to come and clear the snow off for you, it’s also easy to remove at least some of it yourself. Purchase a long-handled snow rake and use it to drag or pull the snow off of the roof. Even if you can’t reach all the snow, just getting the bulk of it off your roof can help prevent future problems. 

Make Wide Paths

It’s tempting when you start shoveling to clear a path just wide enough to pass through. The problem with this, however, is that as the snow melts and refreezes, as well as continues to fall, paths often start to narrow and become more difficult to travel. This can make it dangerous to walk through your property. By making your paths extra wide, you can eliminate this problem. Even if they shrink a little as the winter continues, they should still stay wide enough to allow safe passage to and from your front door.

Practice Snow Safety this Winter

Snow and ice can be a serious hazard for homeowners and for potential buyers, as well as for the home itself. Make sure that you practice snow safety and remove snow and ice in a timely manner this winter to avoid these issues yourself. 

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