Snow Removal Tips for the Northeastern Homeowner

By
Home Builder

Snow removal isn't likely on anyone’s list of fun winter activities. However, taking care of your home when snow hits is necessary in the Northeast. Heavy snowfall piled up on your driveway and walkways can be hard to remove if you are not prepared with the right tools.

Importance of Safe Snow Removal

Snow removal may seem like a harmless household activity, but it can actually lead to various injuries. It can sometimes be hazardous. Shoveling snow is associated with severe harm and even fatalities, so you should prioritize your safety. 

Shoveling snow leads to approximately 100 deaths and 11,500 injuries and medical emergencies each year. Some of the most common issues are:

  • Overexertion 
  • Slipping and falling
  • Chest pain/cardiac arrest
  • Back, head, arm and hand injuries. 

With that in mind, here are some snow removal tips to make things easier for the northeastern homeowner.

Place Tall Markers

Put up tall stakes around your driveway and walkways when expecting heavy snowfall. It helps locate them when you get outside to remove snow. It is easy to assume you can go off your memory and waste time searching for the areas that need to be shoveled. 

Use Proper Equipment  

Shoveling snow is usually the go-to removal method. A quality shovel can improve your experience since it can make things easier. However, bigger shovels are not necessarily better because they can cause stiffness in your back and arms. 

It may be tempting to take the cheapest route with a cheap shovel you have lying around, but it can be wise to invest in alternate snow removal methods, especially when dealing with larger areas. If you have a truck, attachments like buckets and snow pushers are good options to get the job done more effectively.

Other homeowners swear by snow blowers if they have expansive driveways and/or heavy winter snows. If going this route, be sure to research your options, learn safe operation rules and balance the cost versus benefits of saving time in the morning.

Good PPE — or rather, winter gear for the layman — is also helpful. Heavy, cold-resistant gloves, good sunglasses for bright days and waterproof boots will help you stay on task and avoid the discomfort and, in extreme cases, health risks of being out in the elements.

Watch Snow Placement 

Many homeowners need to pay more attention to where they place the snow they are removing. Never put it near the side of your home. This will lead to frozen pipes or even damage the house's foundation. Be sure to pile it far enough away so you don’t have to worry about these issues. 

Employ the Right Technique

It is important to use good form when removing snow to prevent injuries. Low back pain affects 70% of people at some point. Strain can come from overexertion and rushing while shoveling since it is not the most enjoyable task, but pacing yourself can reduce the risk of harm. These are some pointers when removing snow:

  • Rely on your legs: Engage your shoulders and legs rather than your back, and push the snow instead of lifting it.
  • Do not twist: Stay upright and use your arms and legs when handling snow. Twisting and tossing may cause back injury.
  • Keep the shovel close: Keep your shovel as close to your body as possible. The further away it is, the heavier it feels.  

Try Ice Melt

It can help to include ice-melting methods for easier removal. Instead of chipping through layers of ice, you can use salt, calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate or urea to melt it before removing it. However, consider the harm it can do to plants, flooring and pets and pay attention to where you use it.

When Needed — Just Go Pro

The above tips should come in handy for the casual shoveler, but if your time and energy is at a premium and you can afford the added expense, hiring a professional snow removal contractor can be the way to go. Many households with early job hours or busy lives would prefer not to wake up an extra 30 minutes earlier just to plow.

Prepare for Northeastern Snowstorms

Snow storms and cold weather is inevitable in the Northeast. However, preparing for snow removal can make your life easier and keep your home protected. Use these tips to stay safe while shoveling so you can get back inside and enjoy some hot chocolate by the fireplace as a reward for your efforts.

Comments (3)

George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

James White these are good tips, but after 60+ years of shoveling or snow blowing snow I think I finally got it right ..... LOL

Nov 16, 2022 02:24 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello James White these are very valuable list of snow removal tips for the Northeastern homeowner.

Nov 16, 2022 08:20 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.

Nov 27, 2022 03:40 AM