As you trudge outside in January and survey the snow and ice covering your property, you’re probably wondering if there’s any magic formula that can de-ice your driveway and reduce your workload. Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, there are a few facts that can help you be smarter about your choices. Here are some things to keep in mind as you weigh your residential snow removal options:
- Salting Can Harm Soil and Plants
Just throw down a bunch of rock salt, and ice isn’t a problem anymore, right? Actually, you may pay the price for oversalting in the springtime, when you’ll see your plants struggling. This is because salt can cause toxic soil conditions and prevent plants from absorbing vital nutrients. It’s a good idea to keep salt on hand for extreme situations, but it shouldn’t be your go-to strategy.
- Sand Can Add Traction Without Damage
If you have slippery steps and are looking for an alternative to salting or chipping away at ice with a shovel, keep a pail of coarse sand nearby. This can provide extra traction without any lasting effect on your property.
- Shoveling Should Be Approached With Caution
At the very least, improper shoveling technique can hurt your back. But if you are over 50 or have a heart condition, the consequences might be much more severe; because of how the body responds to exertion in cold weather, shoveling snow can cause cardiac incidents, some fatal. It’s important to use snow shovels to push, rather than lift, snow. Even healthy people should gently warm up before heading outside to work up a sweat shoveling. And if you’re worried about your heart health, find or hire someone else to do the clearing.
- Snow Blowers Are a Helpful but Limited Tool
Snow blowers can relieve some of the frustrations that come along with shoveling snow. But they come with their own hazards (especially when used on a sloping driveway) and should be considered carefully. And because high-quality blowers can be quite expensive, they’re only a good investment in cities that get quite a bit of snow.
- Residential Snow Removal Services Can Be Worth the Money
The easiest option is simply to hire a snow removal company. Many local landscapers in snowy areas offer residential snow removal during the winter months, so you might even be able to work with the same company year-round. If you are considering a new snow plowing company, do some careful research and stay away from contractors offering too-good-to-be-true prices; every year, snow plow scams rake in money and leave homeowners like you out in the cold (literally, since you’ll probably be back out front with a snow shovel in hand).
How do you deal with snow and ice on your property? Do you think these tips can help you? Leave your feedback in the comments.