Tips for Winter Snow Removal

Photo by Kent Landerholm

Photo Credit: “Shoveling Snow” © 2012 by Kent Landerholm (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Minnesotans push a lot of snow and it never seems to get any easier. Of course, one way to make ease the burden is move to a warmer climate, but we’ve gathered some tips for those who keep pushing on.

Regularly maintain your snow blower to avoid downtime. Clear away ice jams and snow after use with a small shovel and keep spare parts (like spark plugs and belts) handy, so you won’t have to break your back moving loads snow with a shovel.

Spray your both sides of your shovel or auger with cooking spray to avoid ice build-up.

Consider calcium chloride as an alternative to melting agents and salts. It’s less harmful to plants, lawns and shrubs than other chemicals, and it outperforms sodium chloride (salt)! You can make a brine for easy snow removal, or to pretreat your driveway to prevent ice from forming. Other safe options are magnesium chloride, kitty litter and sand.

Avoid accidental lawn damage by marking the driveway with light-reflecting poles. Also watch out for plants, so they don’t suffocate under large snow piles.

Snow piles can also damage structure walls. Pressure built up from snow piles can cause damage and leaks when the wall surface bends or cracks. Be sure to pile snow in an open area.

Clear snow away often. While it’s tempting to wait out the storm, the longer you wait to clear snow, the more it bonds to your driveway. Clearing snow often makes it less difficult to remove.

Don’t be a snow hero. Clearing away snow can be hard work so don’t overdo it. Remember to stay hydrated and take breaks.

Happy snow removing!