We do it every winter, and it comes as no surprise. Our sidewalks, driveways, and decks fill up with layer after layer of snow, and we put on layer after layer to brave the cold and head outside to move it out of the way.
Until heated pavement becomes the standard, our only option is to move it ourselves. Whether it’s by shovel, snowblower, or a snowplow, someone has to put their energy into scooping it up and tossing it out of the way.
But, like every job we tackle around the home, there’s a smart way and there’s hard way. We’re here to give you a few of the best tricks, tips, and ideas to make sure your driveway stays clear without your back getting out of sorts.
Now, let’s get to it!
Use cooking oil on your shovel
Anything you can do to ease the friction of shoveling snow is a good thing, and this simple trick does just that. Grab a can of cooking spray and mist a layer of the stuff onto your blade before you head out into the white. The non-stickiness will make sure that clumps of snow, ice, and slush don’t latch onto your shovel as you push through your covered sidewalk. It will also help to make sure the blade stays free and clear of any frustrating clumps, helping you maintain a sharp cutting edge that will carve through crusty snow and sleet with ease.
Just make sure that you have a rag on hand once the shoveling is done. You’re going to want to give your shovel a good wipe down before storing it. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll get your hands all oily the next time you pick up your shovel.
Contract it out
You’re a hardworking homeowner, why do something yourself when you can have some more free time and pay someone else to do the hard work for youi?
Besides, there’s usually a kid on every street who’s at least a little entrepreneurial. An industrious youth who, for one reason or another, is taken by the idea of trading labour for cash. The challenge in these situations is typically reliability.
But, you can always up the fee and contract a local landscaping company to perform a specified number of snow removals per year. They’ll bring their industrial strength equipment and have your sidewalk, driveway, and front steps cleared before you have time to thrown on your boots and coat to thank them.
Even with this solution, you still have to be careful in the event of a big snowstorm. When a large dump hits the city, snow removal companies often garner more work than they can get to. If this happens, you might find the contract you had for residential snow removal is deprioritized compared to larger commercial jobs.
Throw that snow! Don’t chance a landslide.
Whoever is doing your snow removal, you can save yourself some hassle by making sure the snow you do remove is thrown sufficiently far away from edge of your concrete.
We’re only human, and we typically try and minimize the amount of work we have to do in any situation. But, when that comes to snow removal, that often means piling up huge cliffs of snow immediately adjacent to our driveways and sidewalks.
The problem is that once more snow falls, there’s a good chance that snow starts drifting down onto your walk and drive ways.
Try and do it right the first time and heave that snow as far as you can away from the areas you need cleared. Sure, it might seem like extra work at the time, but it’s going to save you in the long run.
Get an electric snow shovel
Are you determined to take care of your snow problem yourself as well as avoid breaking your back (or the bank) in the process? Then an electric snow shovel might be just what you need.
These “in-between” shovels are more than a basic handle with a scoop, but less that a full on snow blower. Attached to a power cord, the electric shovel is no bigger than your typical shovel, but includes augers that will blast snow up and out of the way while you strut through your chores like you’re walking down the catwalk.
It’s an ideal solution for anyone looking for a little more help with the snow removal process without wanting to dive into the cost, maintenance, and storage associated with purchasing larger and more dedicated snow removal equipment.
Talk to your neighbours and start a plow-share
If you live on a block filled with homes that have front-attached garages, then you and all of your neighbours share the not-so-unique problem of having to shovel more snow than you’d like to every time a blizzard hits.
Some neighbourhly individuals have turned that problem into an opportunity to bring their block closer together by instituting a “plow-share”.
The concept is simple: instead of shouldering all of the cost, storage, and maintenance pains of owning your own snow blower, have your neighbours join in the fun. Split the cost, cycle the storage, and contribute to the maintenance while everyone gets to benefit from the simplicity that comes with blowing the snow 50 feet off of your driveway in one swift pass.
You probably want to have a preexisting relationship with your neighbours before jointly buying landscaping equipment with them, but if that relationship exists this is almost certainly the easiest way to take care of your collective snow removal woes.
These days there are great options for both gas and electric snow blowers, providing you with a myriad of options when coming up with a solution that works for both you and your neighbours.
In the end, just get it done!
No matter which tools you use or who you get to do the work, just make sure the job gets done! Unlike a lot of responsibilities that come with home ownership, snow removal has a big effect on the people in, or passing through, your neighbourhood.
Slips and falls cause a host of injuries each year, but by staying on top of your snow removal and ensuring you provide an ice-free sidewalk, you’ll be doing a favour to everyone who walks past your house.