We are once again dealing with old man winter. Despite the fact that it can transform barren landscapes into winter wonderlands, you still need to be able to get to work, school, or the grocery store. You'll probably have to shovel a bit regardless of whether you hire someone or have a snow blower, so be prepared with these snow shovelling tips.

Don't be in a Hurry

It may be tempting to just grab a shovel and head outside as soon as the snow stops. Snow is light and fluffy anyway, right? Actually, depending on the temperature and density of the snow, you could get quite a workout from simply clearing off a patio or sidewalk. Taking a few minutes to stretch your arms, legs, and back could spare you a strained muscle or more serious injury.

Also, be aware of yourself and your surroundings while you are shovelling. Take note of any unusual fatigue and rest if necessary. Watch out for slippery patches that could cause you or others to slip and fall.

Bundle Up 

It's important to stay warm when working outside in freezing temperatures, but you don't want to get too warm. Your best bet is to dress in layers if you are going to be shovelling for any length of time. This will allow you to adjust your clothing as you warm up from the physical activity.

Pick a Shovel

There are an incredible amount of designs for snow shovels available today. Although this may seem slightly crazy (how many variations can you really come up with?), different designs are good for different jobs. If you only want to own one snow shovel, it is best to get a mid-size shovel with a fiber core handle that has a steel strip on the front edge. A shovel like this has several key benefits:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Multi-purpose

Other types of shovels are better for particular situations. Wide shovels made for pushing are great for removing small amounts of snow from hard surfaces like sidewalks. Large, scoop shovels are great for moving big snow banks, while a coarse broom may be the best thing to get rid of the fresh dusting that has fallen on your front porch. Depending on the circumstances, a roof rake may be perfect for clearing snow off the edge of your roof. There are consumer reports that have tested and rated a variety of different types of shovels. Those findings can help you get the best shovel for your needs.

Beware of Spring Snowmelt

It may seem like a long way off now, but spring will come soon. When it does, snowmelt can cause flooding even if your house doesn't normally flood. If you're dealing with large amounts of snow, it's a good idea to keep it away from your foundation. Take extra care in keeping it away from places like window wells, which are more susceptible to flooding. 

Shovel Smart

  • Purpose: to move snow the shortest possible distance.
  • Shovel in a way that you only have to move the snow one time.

Following these directions will allow you to shovel quickly and effectively. Having the right tools for the job, taking time to warm up physically, and dressing appropriately will make shovelling safe and easy.

Posted by Terry Paranych on


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