Risks of Improper Snow Removal
Winter is coming, and with it a driveway covered in snow. When you need to get out and get to work you may not be thinking about the best ways to clear your driveway, but if you don’t do a little planning you could end up with larger issues than snow on the driveway. As you prepare for colder weather, make sure you understand the risks of improper snow removal.
Safety Tips for Snow Removal
Shoveling snow, especially when done incorrectly, can cause back pain. And if you’re older, the exertion of shoveling heavy wet snow may not be good for your health. Purchasing a snow blower may help ensure safer snow removal, but if you do use a shovel to remove ice or snow on walkways and porches, be sure to lift with your knees rather than your back and take frequent rests. You should also drink plenty of water afterwards as your body needs to rehydrate after that level of exertion.
If you choose to use a snow blower, follow these tips for safe snow removal:
- Plow each day you have new snow to avoid ice forming*
- Let the machine do the work for you
- Never use your hands to clear the chute or clear it while the machine is running
- Stay warm and keep your clothing tucked away from the machine (a snow thrower cab may help protect you from the elements)
- Wear waterproof, insulated boots with good traction
- Make sure you have flood lights mounted to your garage and a snow thrower with headlights for clearing in the evening and before sunrise
- Use salt or an eco-friendly ice-melt on your driveway after you finish clearing the snow to prevent any melt or new snow from freezing over throughout the day*
*Didn’t have time to run the snow thrower and salt the drive before work? You could come home to icy tire treads, more snow than you can drive back over, or, if the snow melts and then re-accumulates, your entire driveway could be a sheet of ice under the new snow.
Perform Proper Snow Blower Maintenance Before Each Use
An important element of proper snow removal is making sure you maintain your snow blower throughout the season, especially before each use. At the start of the season, check the belt, spark plug, and gear shaft. Order any replacement parts you need before the cold weather sets in so you’ll be ready. Follow these snow blower maintenance tips to make sure your machine runs well each time you take it out.
- Fill up the tank: If you don’t fully fuel your snow thrower, you run the risk of running out of fuel before you finish the drive. You cannot refuel a hot snow blower so you will need to wait for the machine to cool before you can add fuel and keep working, which may not be possible if you need to get to work or run errands.
- Check the oil: You should also check the oil before and after each use, making sure you have the right kind and the right amount to avoid damaging your machine. You will probably need to change the oil after the first five hours of use and then every season, or 50 hours.
- Start the snow blower on a level space with the door open: This is for your own safety. Starting your machine in an enclosed or poorly ventilated space can increase your chance of carbon monoxide exposure. Starting on a level space helps you maintain better control of your snow thrower.
Tips for Proper Snow Removal
Improper snow removal can cause damage to your driveway, health problems and hazardous winter conditions. Follow these tips to make sure you’re safe this winter.
- Use a snow blower to clear compact snow that is heavy and can cause back pain when shoveled.
- Choose the right machine. Electric snow throwers are good if you have a small driveway or walkway to clear, but gas snow throwers may be a better option if you have a long drive or get a lot of heavy snow
- Blow snow with the wind not against it. Blowing against it will simply pile it up on a different part of the driveway.
- Plan where to pile the snow, and don’t pile it against the house or you could have water damage to your foundation when it melts. You also don’t want to dump too much on plants
- Don’t blow snow at cars or buildings. Snow blowers can sometimes pick up rocks or stones that could cause damage when they exit the chute.
- Don’t pile up snow so that you and your neighbors can’t see the street when pulling out of the driveway.
- Create a pattern for snow removal so you don’t have to go over the same area multiple times.
Following these tips can help your avoid the dangerous repercussions of improper snow removal. For more tips on snow blower maintenance and safety consult your owner’s manual and the manufacturer’s website.
[This post is sponsored by MTD][Photo Via: HD]