How To Manage This Year’s Snowfall Like a Pro
This year Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio have been lucky enough to avoid most of the winter’s snowfall. But it’s still early in the season, and it’s better to plan ahead than be stuck knee-deep in snow if the winter weather does decide to show.
So, we’d like to share some tips on how you can manage a massive snowfall if it hits your home this year.
How to Safely Shovel Your Driveway
The most basic tactic to ditch the snow is to shovel it out of your way. But shoveling isn’t as simple as taking a shovel to the snow and throwing it from one spot to another.
Depending on your methods, shoveling can be done right or very wrong.
Correct methods and tools make the job easier. But incorrect methods and tools tack on extra, unnecessary stress and even health risks. Shoveling snow in cold weather is strenuous, can lead to physical strain, and can even increase the risk of a heart attack.
You must use the correct methods when you get out there to deal with anything from a light powder to a thick, packed snow. So, use these tips from the American Heart Association and Landscaping.about.com to get the job done while keeping yourself safe.
- Stretch before you start. This is physical activity so stretch the same way you would before a run or a trip to the gym.
- Don’t drink alcohol before you begin. Alcohol makes you underestimate both how cold it is and how difficult the work is which may cause you to strain yourself while shoveling.
- Dress in layers. Staying warm is important. Layers will help you regulate your body temperature as you work.
- Use a mid-size QUALITY snow shovel. With snow shovels, you get what you pay for. Avoid flimsy, low-quality shovels and get something sturdy and reliable that will work with you, not against you. Even if you have to pay an extra $20-30, it will be worth it. Also, go for a shovel with a mid-size blade rather than a large blade. It’s better on your body to make more trips with less snow, than make fewer trips with more snow. It’s easier too.
- Put cooking spray on your shovel. This may sound odd, but Pam or another type of cooking spray will make your blade slippery allowing it to easily slice into the snow and prevent snow from sticking to the shovel.
- Make a plan of action. Start with the areas that need to be cleared, such as a path to your car, first. Clear the rest in stages of importance, and hold off shoveling near the road. Snow plows will just push snow back in.
- Be mindful of where you dump the snow. Don’t dump snow too close to drive or path ways. When the next snow storm hits, it may tumble back down the pile, and you don’t want to clear the same snow twice.
- Scoop six inches. If the snow is deeper than that, clear it in six-inch scoops.
- Bend your knees and lift with your legs. This will make it easier on your back.
- Keep show-filled shovel blades close to your body. This makes snow easier to carry and also reduces back strain.
- Remember to take breaks. Don’t be a hero. Take breaks throughout the process.
- Regularly change your hands and grip. By periodically switching the way you hold the shovel you will reduce strain on your hands.
- Listen to your body.Don’t push yourself too far. And if you experience any chest pain or sudden shortness of breath, stop right away and call your doctor.
By using correct and safe methods, shoveling your drive will be a little easier this year.
It also helps to have a good shovel.
We recommend “The Snowplow” shovel. It has a tough, impact-resistant, cold weather adaptable UHMW Polyethelene Blade that scoops snow and flips over to powerfully scrape ice and packed snow from the ground.
We carry an inventory of “Snowplow” shovels so stop by the store if you want to try one out for yourself.
And if getting your hand colds and shoveling the show yourself just sounds like too much work, this next section is for you.
How to Pick Out a Snow Blower
One way to avoid the struggles and safety concerns of clearing your drive with a shovel is getting snow blower or snow thrower.
If you are thinking about lightening the load of winter maintenance and getting a machine this year, here are a few tips to help you shop.
First off, you need to learn about the different types of snow blowers and what they each can do. This list includes the types of snow blowers available to you.
- Single-Stage Electric: The lightest snow blower style starts with the push of a button and is useful for clearing small areas such as decks and sidewalks. Most electric snow blowers operate from a power cord and do not require the maintenance of a gas snow blower. They are good for light/fluffy snow up to 12 inches on paved and smooth surfaces.
- Single-Stage Gas: Another single-stage snow blower, these gas-powered machines are also best used on a paved surface. Single-stage blowers are still a light machine but they offer better power than electric blowers. They work well on light to fluffy snow that is 18-22 inches.
- Two-Stage Gas: With a two-stage snowblower, the snow is thrown twice — 1) an auger picks up the snow then 2) an impeller discharges it from a chute. (One-stage blowers only throw the snow once, directly through the chute.) The two-stage system makes it possible to use the blower on paved surfaces as well as gravel. They are capable of picking up wet and heavy snow that is 20-42 inches.
- Three-Stage Gas: The largest snow thrower manages the snow in three stages. The snow is 1) scooped up by a metal auger, 2) chopped up, then 3) launched through the chute. It can be used on gravel or pavement, and its power can cut through icy, wet, and heavy snow up that is 24-28 inches.
- Snow Blower Attachment: The previous snow blower types in this list are stand-alone machines. But there are also different types of snow blowers and plows that can be attached to other pieces of equipment such as riding mowers, tractors, and ATVs.
This list is just a basic look at how each type of snow blower works and what it can do. Each machine will have specifications that are unique to that unit.
Before you start shopping for a blower, ask yourself questions that will help you narrow down your search and select the style that works best for you.
- How much area (square footage) do I need to clear?
- What type of terrain (gravel, pavement, etc.) is in that area?
- How much snow (depth) do I normally clear?
- What kind of snow (fluffy, wet, icy) do I normally clear?
- Do I have another piece of equipment that can support a snow blower or plow attachment?
By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to narrow down your search and get a good idea of what you need to clear the snow in your drive and path ways.
But don’t spend your money until you are certain that you have the type of snow blower that best matches your needs.
An industry expert or trained sales person will always be the best resource when shopping for this equipment.
So, call us or stop in to talk to our trained sale staff if you need advice. Our helpful team will take in all of your unique considerations and help you find the machine that fits your budget, property, ability, and needs.