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February 7th, 2014

Tips and tools for easier snow removal



Below is a post by Sean T. Johnston, first appearing on our partner site the Zing blog at Quicken Loans:

All it takes is one snowfall of more than a few inches to turn the beautiful grandeur of a winter landscape into a back-breaking workout. Preventing Mother Nature from making your driveway and sidewalks impassable is an age-old battle.

If you find yourself clearing snow the old-fashioned way without the benefit of a machine, it doesn’t have to be struggle. With some better tools and a little bit of ingenuity, you might be able to save yourself some time and hassle.

Can You Hack It?

Not everyone has the luxury or the means to let a machine do the work for them. So let’s explore some ways you can battle the ever-piling snow with “brains” instead of mechanical “brawn.”

Light job? Use a brush! – Small accumulations of a couple of inches or less can easily be removed using a shop broom. The lighter and more powdery the snow is, the easier you can move it. Consider breaking out the leaf blower too, if you have one.

Brine time – You could drastically reduce, or even eliminate, the need to shovel by treating your driveway and sidewalks with salt brine. Just like using salt to clear ice, brine can prevent snow from sticking and accumulating on treated areas. Check out this eHow article that includes a recipe you can use to create your own snow prevention brine.

Cooking spray – Non-stick cooking spray does more than keep food from burning onto your pans. Coat your shovel or pusher in a thin layer and watch the snow slide right off of it. Less snow stick means less effort.

The Right Tools

It’s no secret that the easiest way to remove snow from around your home is with a snow blower. If you want to invest in one, here’s a guide detailing what to look for. If you don’t, you have some more efficient options that make snow removal easier than your typical snow shovel.

Snow pushers – Why scoop and throw when you can just push and clear? Snow movers act like manually-powered snow plows that you push down your driveway and sidewalks, clearing a swath safe for pedestrians. At $30–$40, they’re a little more expensive than a quality snow shovel, but think of the time and effort you could save.

Wheeled snow plows – Taking the snow pusher concept to the next level, wheeled snow plows make it even easier to move snow away from important areas. Cheaper than a blower, but more expensive than a pusher, this might be worth the investment if you’d like to make manual snow removal as easy as possible.

Electric snow thrower – Somewhere between a full-blown snow blower and your run-of-the-mill snow shovel is this corded alternative. Smaller and less capable than their full-sized cousins, electric snow throwers are a good alternative if you have a small amount to clear and want a machine to help, but don’t have hundreds to invest in a gas-powered snow thrower.

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