The seasons are changing once again and the colder weather is descending across the nation. As a result, people are beginning to prepare for the upcoming winter season. With every winter season comes the inevitable need for snow removal. No matter how gentle or harsh the winter weather, it seems as if snow shoveling and/or removal is often unavoidable, especially in certain parts of the U.S. (e.g. Northeastern U.S., Great Lakes regions, etc.). To help make sure readers are better prepared for the upcoming winter season, here are some tips for tackling snow removal.
1. Using a Snow Blower vs. Snow Shovel–If someone has a long driveway and/or walkways, a snow blower might be a wise investment. However, if the property has several inclines or steps, a snow shovel will also be necessary and likely more useful. Snow blowers are significant labor-saving devices for large, flat areas, particularly in areas where the ground is level. However, those areas of a property where there are inclines and stairs, a snow blower is not useful at all.
If a snow blower is used for snow removal purposes, experts say speed matters. Trial and error will be a person’s best guide. If the blower is operated too slow, there will not be much distance in terms of projection or arc of blowing snow. However, if the blower is operated too fast, the snow could spill out the side of the machine and pile up. Therefore, it is important to test the machine out and find an effective speed for the snowblower that the operator is comfortable with.
On the other hand, if snow shoveling is someone’s preferred method of snow removal, please keep these guidelines in mind. With shoveling, people usually have two options. Either shovel after every few inches of snowfall or wait until the storm ends and remove the snow in sections or layers. It is important to remove only as much snow as a person is comfortable lifting. Moreover, it is very important to take frequent breaks and not overexert one’s self.
If a person finds they are in a pinch and need help with snow removal, recruiting a neighbor or young person from the neighborhood might be the ticket. There are also several on-demand service and/or professional snow removal agents that offer customers same-day assistance with tackling their snow removal needs. However, it should be noted that these options can be very expensive.
2. Safety Considerations–According to reports, more than 10,000 snow shoveling-related injuries were treated in the emergency room (ER) each year from 1990 to 2006. Moreover, one in three of those injured suffered lower back issues, followed by injuries to the hands, arms, and head. Furthermore, slips and falls accounted for one in five mishaps and 15 percent of the injuries were snow shovel-related. Meanwhile, in 2012, snow blower-related injuries (e.g. finger injuries such as lacerations, amputations, etc.) accounted for at least half of the 3,300 estimated ER visits. Additionally, neck, back, and shoulder strains, as well as other related injuries, were also very common.
3. Have the Right Tools for the Job–Whatever snow removal method someone opts to use, try to avoid walking or driving over the snow before it has been cleared away. This is because packed snow is much harder to clear and remove. If the snow sticks to the shovel or the snow blower’s shoot, try spraying it with either cooking spray or silicone. To find the best tools for the job, a person should do their research in advance and check consumer ratings, reviews, etc. Moreover, make sure the cleared surfaces stay that way via the use of good ice melters. These products also should be evaluated for safety standards, temperature guidelines, pet precautions, etc.
With the change of seasons and colder weather descending across the nation, people are beginning to prepare for the upcoming winter season. With every winter season comes the inevitable need for snow removal. To help make sure readers are better prepared for the upcoming winter season and snowfall, this article should provide some helpful tips for tackling snow removal so that the weather will not strand readers or catch them off-guard.
Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh
Consumer Reports–Snow Removal Shortcuts That Save Time and Energy
Angie’s List–Snow and Ice Removal Tips for the Home and Driveway
About.com–Home: Snow Shoveling Tips
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