Keeping up With the Weather

Are You Ready for the Snow?

Remember last year when 49 states all had snow on the same day? Winter officially starts this month, and although only a few areas have been hit hard by snow, the pundits say it is coming.

The Snow is Coming

While for some fresh snow is a beautiful occurrence, most of dread what comes next: shoveling, blowing, deicing, salting and scraping. Here are a few tips to get you ready for Old Man winter:

  • Stock up on ice melter and/or salt. Nothing is worse than knowing a storm is coming and rushing around from store to store looking for ice melters. Consider getting ice melters that contain magnesium chloride or calcium chloride. Both melt ice at extreme temperatures and are less harmful to the environment. Rock salt is less expensive, but does not work as well when the temperature dips below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and can be damaging to sidewalks, driveways and lawns. If you are concerned about pets or wildlife getting into your ice melt, make sure to purchase products that are labeled as “pet-friendly.” If you are in a bind, sand or kitty litter can add traction to your sidewalk and driveway, although these products do not melt ice.
  • Get the right snow shovel. If you have a snow blower or a professional that plows, you do not need the same shovel as someone who manually removes all the snow from their property. Now is the time to upgrade your shovel. Bent handle shovels are best for those with back issues or people who push the snow across their driveways. Wide “classic” shovels are great for those in good shape or who need to shovel quickly. Mini, square nose shovels may take longer to clear snow, but are the ones recommended for older adults or those not used to heavy exercise. These are great for icy or heavy snow, like that left at the end of the driveway by snow plows. Snow pushers are becoming increasingly popular. These are great for light snow, but useless for snow pile up.
  • Invest in a snow rake. With record breaking snow fall last year, many homeowners were plagued with ice dams, thick accumulations of ice that form over the eaves of a house. Snow melt can cause water to build up behind the dams, which can then find its way through roof shingles. Snow rakes are long, aluminum “hoes” that help homeowners to lighten the snow load on their roofs. Most come with extendable handles up to 22 feet. Just remember, a big clump of icy snow can be dangerous when falling off a tall roof.

Consider hiring a professional. Many lawn services use add plows to their vehicles during the winter. Have a reliable service on hand just in case you need it.