Snow removal can be a tricky business. Did you know that snow weighs up to 20 pounds and more per cubic foot, depending on how wet it is? Add the effects of refreezing, and snow can turn into compacted ice that feels more like concrete when you try to break it up for removal. You can DIY but different weather conditions create different types of snow and ice and if you’re going it alone, you’ll need the right tools and equipment for each and every type. That adds up to a big investment for a seasonal problem as well take up precious storage space year-round. If you don’t have the right tools and equipment for this labour-intensive job, you could end up damaging your property as well as injuring yourself.
The Tools of The Snow Removal Trade
Snow Removal tools and equipment are specifically designed to deal with the depth, square footage, weight and consistency of the snow and ice that has fallen, blown and collected on your property.
- Shovels are designed in a variety of sizes and shapes to reduce strain while doing the job at hand most expediently. These include pointed shovels, used to break up ice and edge paths; scrapers to remove compacted frozen snow; shovels designed to push snow and ergonomically designed shovels to reduce back strain.
- Snow blowers or electric shovels are designed to blow or throw different weights of snow. Electric shovels are mainly for light snow; single stage gas or electric blowers are adequate for moderate conditions and large areas of heavy and or/steep snow may require a heavy-duty snow blower or even a plough.
- Snow Plows come equipped with straight or “V” shaped blades and are designed to attach to the front of an ATV or truck. The blades are usually constructed of steel but may also be designed out of poly plastic or stainless material.
Snow Removal Service
Finding a reliable snow removal contractor can vary wildly, depending on the company and location, as well as the size and relative complexity of the job. Generally, having an annual contract is a more economic and dependable choice than using a contractor on an emergency only basis. Here is a sampling of questions you should be asking when in the process of hiring a snow removal contractor:
- How do you plan to remove the snow from my property?
- Will you also remove all the snow banks caused by ploughing, snow blowing or shovelling?
- Can you come over before winter and estimate what the snow removal job will entail and how much you will charge?
- Can I get a discount if I agree to be last on your snow removal list, i.e., my property is a vacation home, and/or my snow removal needs are not time sensitive?
Snow Removal Tips:
- Use care when removing snow from delicate landscaping details.
- Make sure you are following local law and removing snow from in front of your home or business
- After initial snow removal, use salt or magnesium chloride to keep paths clear and slip-free
- Make sure external dryer vents are free from snow and ice. Blocked vents are a fire hazard and a carbon monoxide risk. Check all exhaust ports in your home and make sure you don’t inadvertently throw snow on them when clearing driveways and walkways.
- Consistent snow removal in 6” increments from on top of your rood will prevent damage and collapse from the weight of the snow and also help prevent the formation of ice dams.
- During storms of lengthy duration, space out snow removal attempts to every few hours to save your energy and lessen the possibility of body strain or overexertion.
- Wax all shovel blades to keep the snow from sticking.
Snow Removal Safety
Every year countless people or injured or killed while performing home snow removal. Death is often attributed to heart attacks and the most common injury is back strain. Slips and falls can cause broken bones, cuts, bruises and other more serious injuries including head trauma and even death. Take breaks every 15 minutes when you choose to remove snow by yourself, always use the right tool for the conditions and stay alert for icy areas as well as areas where large amounts of snow could suddenly fall on you.