A few tips and tricks to help you out!
Are you using your Snow blower and shovel efficiently?
It’s that time of year sooner or later we will all have snow removal to do. For some this mean your back will be aching after a long winter of shoveling or blowing snow, maybe you’re doing it wrong?
Here’s some advice that will make clearing snow a little easier and hopefully help you make it through Edmonton’s winter injury-free.
Using a snow blower
Speed does matter. Why?
If you are going too slow your blower won’t throw the snow far enough, going too fast and the snow spills out the sides.
You will need to experiment to find the optimal speed for your blower. Bigger and heavier snowblower doesn’t mean it will do a better job and may be harder to handle.
I personally like the Toro Power Clear (621 or 721), they are light easy to maneuver and the paddles are amazing for clearing down to the concrete without much effort. Additional bonus is they are also light and easy to transport if you need to.
When you are using your snowblower you would not use the same clearing method on two different properties. You don’t want to throw snow on top of pavement you’ve already cleared and you don’t want to create a larger pile that you need to clear over and over a little planning can save a lot of time and energy.
Example a driveways with room on both sides to pile snow a good method would be to start in the middle and throw the snow toward one edge of the driveway. Make a U-turn then come back down the other side. Keep alternating until all the snow is gone.
If your driveway is up against a building you will find it easier to start on the side closest to the building. That way you can avoid blowing snow onto the area you have already cleared. Or you may have to blow/throw the snow either to the front or back if there is no area to pile the snow on the sides.
Snow blower safety. Never clear snows away with your hands or other items while the snow blower is running always turn it off. Be aware of your surroundings don’t blow snow towards people or vehicles. Take frequent breaks to avoid overexertion. Dress properly to prevent frostbite and stay hydrated.
Shoveling is basically manually moving the snow. If possible you may want to clear the snow frequently when there is a larger snow fall by shoveling after every few inches. This is the easiest on your body but is not always practical if you wait until the storm ends try removing the snow in layers. Remember to take frequent breaks and don’t lift more than you are comfortable with.
You can clear your driveway in two stages. Stage 1 push the snow to the edges with a pusher shovel, Stage 2 using a garden variety shovel with sides for heavier snow falls. For smaller snow falls as you are pushing the snow you and lift is and pile on the edges. Find shovels that work best for you. Keep in mind as with using the Snow Blower shoveling the snow from the center to the sides when you have 2 sides is best and starting from the building when you have only one side to pile the snow.
Shoveling safety. Use the right size of shovel, take breaks, dress properly to avoid frostbite and stay hydrated.
Snow is cleared Now what do I do for Ice control?
Icemelt, Salt, Sand/Rockchips which is best.
Keep in mind there are many varieties of ice control products available with varying results for each.
Sand/Rockchips (In Edmonton you can typically find sandbox at your local community to aid in preventing slips)
Helps by providing a gritty surface to prevent slips but does nothing to control the buildup of ice. When you use sand/rockchips only you will have to scrap and chip ice to remove. Not an easy task adding a lot of time to snow/ice clearing.
Salt (rock salt)
Salt Is the cheapest version for melting ice. A huge downfall is it does not work well in really cold temperatures and it is not sidewalk friendly damages concrete and grass. Nor is it environmentally or pet friendly.
There are several different ice melt products on the market and the cost varies substantially. This type of product is typically tag as sidewalk friendly, pet friendly, and easy on vegetation. The product is meant to be spread evenly and does not need to be a heavy coat a little goes a long way don’t dump piles onto the sidewalk as it may damage your concrete in high concentration. The melting point varies depending on the brand use some work at extreme temperatures -30C while others (cheaper versions) work only to -5C.