How prepared are you for winter this year? We’re here to help you navigate all the challenges of the season with the first of a four-part special edition of our blog, outlining the basics of cold weather preparedness. Today, we’re talking snow removal.
From clearing walkways to freeing your car of snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice, keep your family and guests safe by stocking up on a few products that help you remove cold weather precipitation with ease. In addition to checking the anti-freeze in your cars, make sure to have extra on hand in the garage. Keep at least one window scraper in each of your cars and one in the garage, for hard-to-lift ice that can blur your line of sight while driving. If the locks on your car, or on your front door, get frozen shut, a spray can of deicer can help tremendously. It can also help free windows from ice, allowing them to open as usual.
Heavy Snow Removal
Large amounts of snow can be removed using a snow blower. The deicer can also help clear the machine’s moving parts of ice and compacted snow, along with a wire brush and a spray can of lubricant. Make sure to test the snow blower before a storm and keep the necessary spare parts ready in case they’re needed.
Whether you use a snow blower or not, there is almost always a need to shovel snow. An ordinary snow shovel can be a homeowner’s best friend this winter, as predictions for Arctic blasts in eastern United States remain pretty high. Maintain a shovel like any other piece of equipment, hammering out areas of the metal that get crumpled with use, tightening loose handles or removing burrs from plastic.
Take care of yourself, too. Here are four tips for safe snow shoveling:
- Prepare physically for the task. As with any physical exercise, stretch legs, back and shoulders before you start. Dress warmly in loose-fitting layers that come off easily as you exert yourself, but can be added quickly during a rest. Pace yourself and rest frequently, keeping hydrated. And when you’re done, stretch tired muscles once more, to avoid tight, inflamed body parts.
- Have a snow removal plan. Decide where you will dump the snow. Start by brushing off the cars then clearing around them, moving the first shovelfuls to the farthest edge of the driveway, so the last shovelfuls are moved the shortest distance. This way, you won’t have to move the snow twice, if it’s piled in the way of more snow that needs to be removed. Work in thin layers and several passes, which is easier and safer than hefting one over-heavy shovelful.
- Use a healthy technique. Shoveling snow is hard work. Use your large leg muscles to lift shovelfuls and push snow out of way as much as possible. Use your knees to squat, holding the shovel as close to your upper body as possible, protecting your back. Hold the shovel with two hands (one close to the blade) for better leverage. Get your shoulder muscles into the throwing action, avoiding a twist in your upper body as much as possible.
- Let Mother Nature help the melting process. After removing heavy snow from driveways, sidewalks and other walkways around your house, keep them clear with ice melt. Check if the ice melt you buy can be used on concrete (especially new concrete) as certain formulas can cause new concrete to fail. Then, let the strong winter sun do the rest.
Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with the cold weather basics of snow removal. From snow blowers to rent or buy, to shovels and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.