Now is the time to get ready for ice and snow, and the sooner you prepare the less time, labor, and money it will cost. Here are some ways to protect your home as the temperatures plummet and snow begins to fall.
There are many products on the market that can help melt ice, but not all of them are the right choice for you. Traditional rock salt can cause irreparable damages to natural stone walkways like bluestone, limestone, or brick pavers. There are “pet-friendly” options for ice melt as well, for those who have pets that go outside. If you have new floors in your home, then some times its best to go with a straight salt or Calcium Chloride pellets, as to avoid dragging sand into the home, which can cause scratches and scuffs. It doesn’t matter what form ice melt you use, as long as you use something. Even a small patch of ice can cause a terrible accident. Even if it hasn’t snowed in a few days, black ice can form with the combinations of sunny days and cold nights. That’s why it’s important to always have a stash of ice-melt in the garage or by your front and back doorways.
Branches and limbs that are over your roof or drive way can wreak havoc once snow and ice piles up on it. This hazard is even greater if the limbs are dead or dying. They can not only fall on your house or car and do extreme damage, but they can also cause injury, death, and liability if they fall on someone on your property. This hazard can be easily avoided by trimming off those branches before the snow. In addition, most landscapers and tree companies tend to offer lower pricing in the winter.
Shoveling snow is hard work, and can cause dehydration sickness and back pane. Don’t forget to drink enough water before and during snow removal. It’s also very easy to suffer a back injury, so bend the knees and let your legs do the work, not your lower back. Another tip from experts is to use a lighter shovel. Snow, especially when wet, is extremely heavy. Most hardware stores sell heavy snow shovels with metal blades or metal tips along the edge of the blade, but those aren’t more efficient and do add unnecessary weight. They also can cause scratches on newly paved asphalt or natural stone walkways. So stick with a lighter shovel that isn’t made of metal and do your back and driveway a favor.
Snow Blower Safety
Make sure your snow blower has enough oil and always carry extra shear pins with you so that if one breaks you can quickly replace it and get back to clearing snow. Using stronger shear pins that don’t break easily may sound good, but is a bad idea. Shear pins are designed to break if the augers get clogged so there isn’t added stress on the motor. Better to change a shear pin rather than a motor. Don’t make the mistake of trying to clear a blower when the power is on, either. According to the CDC, snow blower accidents send more than 6,000 people to emergency rooms each year. The vast majority of injuries to snow blower operators occur because the user tries to clear the collector or discharge chute while the machine is still running.
Plan Ahead for Winter Storms
Most landscaping companies do not respond to requests for service during a snow storm, and if they do it usually costs an arm and a leg. So if you want to protect your home, sign up now, while the weather is still manageable. You’ll get preferential pricing and will have your name on a reserved list to get prompt, professional attention as soon as a storm hits. You also won’t risk price gouging from unscrupulous snow removal outfits and will enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you are taken care of no matter how much snow falls or when the storm happens.