Forecasters are calling for several snow storms to come through the area this week and beyond, and if your home is not in an HOA or your HOA does not include snow removal, that means you will have to tackle the task yourself. Here are a few tips and tricks to help make snow removal a little easier.

Prepare Ahead of Time

If you know snow is in the forecast, you can prepare for it by laying down a tarp or putting ice melt on hard surfaces. For the tarp method, you’ll want to lay the tarp over the area where you would like to later remove snow and weigh it down with firewood or something similar so the wind doesn’t blow it away. Finally, tie twine to the tarp and to a shovel that you stand upright in your yard. When it’s time to remove the snow, you’ll use the shovel to pull the tarp off your surface. One note on the tarp method: A cubic foot of snow can weigh between seven and 20 pounds. Instead of one larger tarp, you may want to put several smaller tarps down to make it easier to pull the tarp and snow.

If you prefer to use ice melt, apply to your hard surfaces before the snow starts falling. This will help keep black ice away and will assist with melting snow, making it easier to later do removal. One caution on ice melt, be sure to use the appropriate materials for your hard surfaces. For example, rock salt on concrete can lead to cracking and chipping or make existing cracks and chips worse. According to Bob Vila, calcium chloride is the only material that should be used on concrete. Read all instructions and warnings on any ice melt material you are considering using to prevent problems that could become costly to repair.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Remove Snow

It may be tempting to wait until the snow is done before starting to shovel or snow blow, but on prolonged storms, that could make it harder and increase the chances of you hurting yourself. During heavy snowfall, plan on doing snow removal at least once an hour to prevent big accumulations that will create challenges.

Use the Right Tools

If you are shoveling, metal shovels are great for concrete, but other surfaces may be damaged by them. For bricks, pavers, decks, and other such materials, use a plastic shovel. If you are in an area that consistently measures snow in the inches, consider investing in a snowblower. But snowblowers have limitations, too. To help avoid chipping concrete, it’s best to keep snowblower blades at least a half an inch off the ground. This Old House recommends using a snowblower only when there is two inches or more.

Use Your Leaf Blower

Got just a dusting that needs to be removed? Pull out the leaf blower and get to work. You can blow light layers of snow that weigh no more than dry leaves. Anything heavier will need a shovel or snowblower. A couple of words of caution:

  • Do not use electric leaf blowers. Remember water and electricity do not mix. Stick with battery or gas-powered blowers.
  • Leaf blowers can get damaged when exposed to temperatures below freezing, so use your leaf blower only when the temp is above freezing. Also, work as quickly as possible to avoid long exposure to cold weather.
  • A wet/dry vac can also serve as a blower. Flip on the exhaust mode to blow the snow.

Use Cooking Oil on Shovels

Non-stick cooking oil and sprays don’t just work well for keeping food from sticking to pans. Lightly coating your snow shovel with cooking oil will make the snow slide right off of it. You could also use a spray lubricant like WD-40, but keep in mind that these lubricants contain chemicals that may be toxic and not environmentally friendly.

Be Smart When Snow Blowing

Save time and energy by being smart about the path you take to snow blow your driveway. Start in the middle and throw the snow to one side. Then, make a U-turn and walk down the other side and continue to alternate sides until all snow is removed. Using this method means you won’t have to stop and adjust the chute’s direction, and you typically won’t need to make a second pass on the driveway.

While snow blowing, be aware of your speed and how it can impact the effectiveness of your work. If you go too slow, the snow will shoot out a shorter distance. If you go too fast, your machine may not be able to keep up with you, and snow will spill through the side of the machine.

Use a Homemade Ice Melter

If shoveling and snow blowing did not remove all ice and you’d prefer not to use store-bought product that could cause damage to surfaces, there is a homemade ice melt that is easy to make with products you may already have in your home. Combine 1 teaspoon of dish soap, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon of water in a bucket, then pour the mixture where you need it most.

Don’t Pile Snow Against Your Home

When removing snow, it is best to pile it at least 3 to 5 feet away from your home. This is to ensure that you don’t block any vents on your home, which could be a safety hazard. It can also prevent damage when snow melts and produces water runoff. Water that seeps into your foundation can cause damage to your home.

Looking for your dream home? Liberty Homes has been building new homes in Utah for nearly 30 years. We take pride in our trade, crafting each home as if it were our own. Our quality, affordable homes are energy smart and thoughtfully personalized for your active Utah lifestyle. We currently have townhomes available in Salt Lake County, single-family homes in Heber City, and 55-plus single-family homes in West JordanContact us today to find your dream home.

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