Snow and Ice Removal Tips for the Home and Driveway

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If winter weather leaves you puzzled on how to safely remove snow and ice from your driveway, sidewalk, or landscaping, follow these tips to prevent damage.

While a fresh blanket of white snow is a beautiful sight, the inevitable task of removing it can become a back-breaker if not done properly. In addition, some snow removal techniques can damage your driveway, sidewalk, and landscaping. To avoid making costly pavement repairs or replanting your flora this spring, scoop up these tips on removing ice and snow:

Get your gear ready

When a weather event or emergency hits, you expect the snowblower, chain saw, or generator equipment to start on command. Consumers should consult their operator’s manual, which explains what fuels can be used to maintain a properly functioning product. The use of non-approved fuel in outdoor power equipment may negatively affect engine performance and longevity, permanently damage the engine, and may void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Select the correct fuel for the product from your local gas station, including the correct ethanol content. Do not use fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol in outdoor power equipment, small engines, and utility task vehicles.

Drain the gasoline tank when the equipment will not be in use for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) left in the fuel system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.

4 Eco-friendly Snow Removal Tips

Want to help the environment? Grab a shovel.

For millions of Americans in cold weather climates, waking up to the sight of fresh snow on the ground is a part of life in the winter.

If the snow is deep enough, you’ll need to remove it. But how you clear the snow from your driveway, sidewalk and porch is entirely up to you.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly way to remove the snow, you’re in luck. Here are four environmentally friendly tips for removing snow.

1. Grab the shovel

There’s not an eco-friendlier way to do things than with human power. Shovels are inexpensive and a good way to remove snow without any harmful effects on the environment. Brooms can also come in handy when removing snow.

If you decide to shovel, make sure you’re healthy enough to handle the exertion it takes to lift and move the snow. Taking breaks while shoveling, staying hydrated, and using your legs to lift the snow are all good tips to staying safe.

Because shoveling can cause overexertion and possibly lead to heart attacks, health experts recommend shoveling the snow in increments and not waiting until after a storm to shovel all of the snow at once.

Each year thousands of people get injured or have a heart attack while shoveling snow. Take these precautions to lower your risk of needing emergency care.

2. Use battery or electric-powered snow blowers

Snowblowers are a good option for people who have larger driveways and live in areas with frequent snowfall.

But gasoline-powered snow blowers produce emissions that can be harmful to the air we breathe. One way to keep your snowblower but limit the emissions is by using an electric- or battery-powered snowblower.

Arrange for snow removal ahead of time to avoid getting stuck.

3. Be wary of deicing products

Deicing products, such as rock salt, will melt the ice away, but the chlorides in the rock salt can damage your landscaping, flowers, pets, and waterways, not to mention your driveway and sidewalks. When pets walk on the salt, their paws can dry out and crack.

Two common deicers that use salt include sodium chloride and calcium chloride. Sodium chloride is the least expensive product and works at temperatures typically 25 degrees or higher, while calcium chloride works at below-zero temperate, but can be three times more expensive.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management recommends that consumers use deicers sparingly to prevent excess chemicals from running into storm drains.

4. Alternatives to rock salt Fortunately, there are several eco-friendly products available.

Calcium magnesium acetate doesn’t contain salt and is biodegradable, but can cost up to 10 times more than typical rock salt.

There are also many home remedies that will either melt snow and ice or provide traction to prevent anyone from slipping and falling.

Some of those alternatives include kitty litter, which won’t melt the snow but will add some pretty good traction. Cat litter can be harmful to vegetation but it’s better than using rock salt.

People who become stranded while driving in the snow can also put cat litter around their wheels to help get out of a sticky situation. Sand and coffee grinds will also provide traction.

What’s the best way to clear snow?

The best practices for removing snow depends on where you live and how much snow you’re dealing with. However, if you consider shoveling snow to be your winter-weather workout, there are some methods to make the task easier. If high accumulations are expected, it’s much easier to remove smaller quantities of snow and then repeat the process rather than trying to remove large amounts all at once. If that’s not possible, then large amounts of snow should be removed in layers. Most importantly, snow should be removed before it’s packed down by vehicles and foot traffic.”

Remind homeowners to be respectful of their neighbors when shoveling snow, and don’t pile snow on their property. Don’t throw snow into the street — it creates a driving hazard and when the plows come through it will be pushed back in front of driveways and cars parked on the street.

Don’t kill your landscape with ice melt

Over the years, several effective deicing products have been developed to eliminate slippery surfaces. However, some of them may end up damaging plants in the landscape, flooring in your house, or harming pets. Here are the most common deicing options, and how they might affect you:

Sodium chloride — While generally the least expensive deicing product, rock salt doesn’t work well in temperatures below 25 degrees and can leach into the soil, changing the chemical balance to toxic levels.

Calcium chloride — works well at temperatures below zero and is considered less harmful to vegetation. But it can leave behind a slippery residue that can be harmful to carpet, tile, shoes, and your pet’s feet. This product can be up to three times more expensive than rock salt, but you don’t need to use as much.

Calcium magnesium acetate — Can cost 10 times more than rock salt, but it’s salt-free and biodegradable. It won’t harm the environment and is less corrosive to concrete than salt.

Urea — Primarily used as a fertilizer, urea has a lower potential to damage vegetation compared to potassium chloride, but it still has the potential to burn your lawn, shrubs, and other plants. It can also contaminate runoff water with nitrates in the spring.

Now on to our daily task… 

Write down everything that you need to accomplish this week. Then schedule those things (but make sure they’re the RIGHT things) on your calendar. That way you’ll know WHEN you will accomplish those things on your to-do list.

It will be 5-15 minutes well spent!

Your assignment for today:

• Work on Habit #1, tomorrow.

• Schedule your to-do list on your calendar and transform your day starting today.

• Consider tackling your problem area