Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day! Tips for Digging Out

As I sit watching rapidly accumulating snow, I realize I am already breaking maybe the most important rule of snow removal. I definitely should have made a pass...or three...over the walk out front to stay ahead of this thing. This storm is going to be a tough workout for our shoveling muscles.

There are a few other things to think about to protect your property. Avoid leaving snow piled up around foundation walls. The melt and refreeze cycle can create cracks, and once they start they will gradually get worse. Also clear piles away from wood siding so that it doesn't eventually create water damage as it melts. Use a plastic shovel on wood or composite decking. A metal shovel (or shovel that has a metal blade) can dig into these surfaces and make damaging grooves. Finally, pulling a metal rake over your shingles along the edges of your roof can help prevent ice dams from forming. Just be sure you are in a safe position when you do this!

Plants and landscaping can also be damaged.  It may sound odd, but shrubbery that has become loaded with snow is more likely to be damaged by attempts to remove it than by leaving it there. The deicing agents you use can be hard on grass and landscaping. Certain plants are more sensitive to these, you may want to choose an alternative for traction in the area, or apply salt products sparingly near the plants that require special consideration.

I always dread shoveling the snow, and invariably once I get started I feel invigorated by the activity and the cold air. Hopefully I can talk myself past the dreading stage and out to the endorphins sooner rather than later! Best of luck and stay safe out there.

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