9 Secrets for Removing Snow and Ice from Your Driveway
Winter is my favorite time of year. I love sipping hot cocoa and gazing at the trees blanketed with fresh snow. Peace and tranquility settle into the cold winter nights as every living creature snuggles deeper into a warmer spot.
But it’s not always pleasant and cozy when it snows continuously. The icy snow brings with it a number of chores. And the first thing on the list is usually clearing the driveway and walkway.
If you’re searching for tips on how to remove snow and ice from your property, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’ll share 9 ways you can get this task done in no time at all.
So that means you’ll have more time to build snowmen! ;)
But before we start, let’s discuss one essential matter.
Why is it important to remove ice and snow from the driveway?
When snow and ice accumulate, it can damage your property. So you need to do this chore as soon as possible.
But when it comes to your driveway, there are a couple more reasons why you need to do it sooner rather than later.
1. It prevents accidents
Unfortunately, snow does not mean you can hibernate inside your home. As people go in and out of the house, accumulated snow and ice can increase their chances of slipping on wet snow or icy surfaces.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, walking on snow or ice was the second most frequently cited activity associated with fall-related injury in people aged 65+ in 2009-10.
Moreover, the Canadian Institute for Health Information states that in 2016-2017 alone, there were nearly 9,000 hospitalizations due to falls on ice, making it the number-one cause of winter injuries in Canada.
So the most obvious reason for removing snow is to prevent injuries and unwanted accidents. In fact, it’s the best way to keep your family safe from harm.
Moreover, shoveling snow off your driveway can help prevent your car from skidding as you drive in and out of the driveway.
2. It helps avoid lawsuits
Clearing the snow from your walkway not only makes it easier for you to enter or leave the house but it also promotes goodwill amongst your neighbors. They will be able to walk on your sidewalk without slipping on the ice.
In fact, some communities enforce laws that hold homeowners accountable for a slip outside their homes. To avoid getting slapped with a legal notice, you need to remove snow and ice from your driveways and sidewalks.
Now let's get down to business.
Snow and ice removal hacks to try this winter
Here are several ways to remove snow and ice from your driveway.
1. Don’t wait till it's over
If heavy snowfall is forecasted over a long period of time, one of the worst things you can do is wait until it stops snowing. Since packed snow is harder to clear, you need to shovel snow after every few inches fall. Or depending upon how long the snowfall is supposed to last, you may need to shovel every one to two hours. Either way, create a schedule for snow removal according to weather conditions.
2. Devise a shoveling plan
Many homeowners simply start shoveling from the top of their driveway and work their way down. The only problem is that the shovel becomes heavy as you get to the end of the driveway. This increases the risk of injury.
You want to aim at staying safe all season. That will mean you need to shovel lighter loads. The trick is to shovel from the center of the driveway and work your way out.
3. Shovel early
The secret to easy snow removal lies in shoveling the snow early. If you can get it off your driveway and walkway before people walk on the snow, it’s easier to remove. Trampled snow becomes compacted and requires more effort.
Moreover, starting early means you can get more help from the sun. It may get warmer by noon. So the sun gets more time to work on the driveway, helping to prevent black ice formation.
4. Use a tarp
Using a plastic tarp can speed up snow removal. If you know it’s going to snow, consider covering your car, porch steps, and exposed walkways with a tarp.
Just drag the snow-filled tarp to the side once the snow stops. You don’t have to shovel or take out the snow blower.
5. Use salt
To prevent a hard frost from developing on your driveway, spread rock salt. The salt will help lower the freezing point of water, thereby allowing the ice that has already formed to melt. It’s an effective, inexpensive solution.
However, rock salt is very harsh on grass and shrubs. It can kill your perennials and deplete the soil of essential microorganisms.
You can opt for other de-icing solutions such as calcium chloride or magnesium chloride. You can blend rock salt with chloride salt brine to make a pre-wetted de-icer and improve the ice-melting speed of rock salt. Various companies like Chloride Solutions offer environmentally safe ice and snow removal and prevention materials.
6. Get your gear ready before winter
Snow and ice removal tools and supplies can end up at the back of your garage or your basement. So prepare for winter before it starts. Place essential equipment in an area where it’s easy to access.
Ensure all your equipment, like snow blowers, work properly and that your shovels are in good condition. Using a cracked shovel to clear ice and snow can damage your driveway and walkway. Make sure to restock up on other de-icing materials.
7. Bring out the snow blower
Snow blowing is an easy way to clear your driveway of light, fluffy snow. But just like shoveling, you need to do it properly.
Start from the middle of your driveway and throw the snow toward one edge. Make a U-turn and come back down the other side. By following this technique, you won't have to adjust the chute as often.
8. Pay attention to the approach
Rather than lifting the snow, push it to the side whenever possible. But when do you have to lift, make sure to keep the shovel load light.
The key is not to shovel aggressively. Pace yourself and take breaks often. Start by using a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Hold the shovel close to your body and bend with your knees, not your back.
9. Prepare homemade ice melt
Rock salt may not work all the time. Its ice-melting action slows as the temperature drops.
So if it’s really cold and you find ice underneath the snow, you may need to make your own de-icer.
Simply combine 1 teaspoon of dish soap and 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol in 1/2 gallon of water in a bucket. Pour this mixture on your driveway or walkway.
You may need to wait for 15-30 minutes for the rubbing alcohol to work. Go back outside and shovel the loose ice off to the side.
The secret behind this tip is that rubbing alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water (128°F below 0). Using the rubbing alcohol solution will therefore speed up the melting process. Moreover, it’ll prevent the surface from icing in the future.
Over to you
Homeowners in colder regions often face snowy, icy conditions. For many, protecting investments and keeping loved ones safe is a constant concern.
The ideal way to deal with this situation is to clear away snow and ice from the property regularly. This not only ensures that family members stay safe but also prevents you from getting sued.
A little prevention can go a long way. So the next time it snows, consider using the tips mentioned above to help clear your driveway of ice and snow.
If you have other ideas that work as well, please mention them in the comments section below.