The Do's and Don'ts of Snow Removal

This year we have already seen more snow than we have previously seen throughout entire winters! Follow these tips to make sure that you are working smarter, not harder to keep everything clear! Most municipalities have by-laws regarding snow removal and Nanaimo is no exception. City of Nanaimo Bylaw 5000, Section 22(1)states that snow must be removed from sidewalks and footpaths bordering the property within 24 hours of snowfall. If you are outside of the Nanaimo area, be sure to check your municipalities respective bylaws.

Do: Have a strategy

Strategize your snow shoveling plan to make less work Come up with a snow removal strategy and try to stick to it. If the snow looks like it's going to pile up quickly you may decide to shovel more frequently instead of waiting for it to stop. This means more time outside, but you will have an easier go of it with lighter snow that hasn't been packed down or become wet and slushy. The alternative is to wait for all the snow to fall and do one big shovel.

It's also important to make sure that you are shoveling effectively. Make sure that when you remove the snow that you aren't putting it somewhere that you are going to need to shovel or access later. At my house, this snow was used to build a snow fort!

Do: Keep your car clear

Red car covered in snowWhether you're planning to drive or not, keeping your car clear at least gives you the option, just in case something unexpected happens. Also remember that if you are driving somewhere, you should be removing ALL the snow from your vehicle. This helps to keep the roads safer by making sure other drivers aren't having to dodge falling snow and ice.

Check to make sure that your windshield wipers are turned off before starting your car if you haven't brushed the snow from your windshield. This protects your windshield wipers from trying to move heavy snow which can damage the motors that power your wipers. If you aren’t going anywhere also make sure to lift your wipers up. This will keep them from accumulating ice so when you need them, they will work!

Don't: Neglect the Ice

Sidewalk cleared of ice and snowIf keeping up with the snow as it falls is unmanageable, it's important to make sure that you chip away at any ice that may build up. Ice is really the biggest reason to make sure you are shoveling as this is when it starts to get dangerous for you and others!  If the snow has started to get packed and turn to ice you can try to get a shovel between the ice and cement so that it comes away in big chunks. You can also use deicer or salt to help melt the ice and shovel away the slush that is left behind. This helps to minimize the risk of a slip or fall

Don't: Salt without doing your research

Salt your sidewalks to keep snow away and melt any iceWhile salt is great for helping to break up ice and keep snow away, it can also be harmful to pets and plants. If this is something that you are worried about, they do make products that are less harmful, and this can be seen on the warning labels. From experience, the first snowfall of the year always creates a shortage of salt and other deicers so if you were able to find some, make sure that it's not going to wasted by oversalting! If you are shoveling fluffy snow, salt is not required. Once you have gotten to a point that you can see the ground or the packed ice underneath the fluffy snow, sprinkle with salt. If the ground is bare, the salt will help to melt snow before it sticks to the ground and potentially eliminate the need to shovel again. If you are putting salt on top of ice, allow it to sit for some time. The salt will break up the ice making it slushier, and you will be able to shovel easier.

Don't: Forget Other Areas to Remove Snow

Snow can create complications with roofing and guttersSnow doesn't just need to be removed because it's a city bylaw! Snow build up can affect your property in other ways too. Think of how much rain is equivalent to the amount of snow sitting on your rooftop. Where is this all going to go when it melts? If possible, ensure that your gutters and water runoffs are cleared to avoid any potential water issues. If you have a heat pump, you will also want to make sure that the snow is not covering the outdoor unit. If this is covered by snow, it will take more energy to heat the air coming through because it is being filtered through the frozen snow and coming through even colder than it already is outside!

You should also double check that there is nothing on your property that could be damaged by large amounts of snow. Check that any sheds or other outdoor storage areas won’t collapse under the weight of the snow. This also includes any hedges or trees that may come down with all the extra weight. Ensure that there is also no risk of a falling tree damaging your home.

Do: Use Caution!

Use caution when walking on icy surfaces

While snowflakes are light and fluffy, accumulated slush and ice are not! Ensure that you are not lifting more than you can carry and that you aren’t lifting with your back. The only thing worse than shoveling two feet of snow is shoveling two feet of snow after hurting yourself! If there is more snow than you can handle, take your time, and do more smaller shovels.

Also be sure to watch your step to make sure you don't slip. Packed snow and ice are very slippery, but it can also break apart at any moment. Combined with awkward movements and twists, this could be a recipe for disaster. Always make sure to have proper footwear with good grip to prevent slips and falls.

Do: Enjoy It

Get out and enjoy the snow while it lastsSnow doesn't have to be all bad! It's easy to dread having to deal with snow when all you do with it is shovel and stress about driving conditions. Snow is a great to get out sledding and to enjoy other winter activities. It can also be a good excuse to hide away for a movie marathon or any other indoor activities!

Not only will these tips help you to make sure that your property is safer during big snowfalls, but properly removing snow and ice will increase your curb appeal! If you are listing your home in the winter (which in this market can be very beneficial), this will help show your home better than the person down the street who hasn't! You would also be responsible if someone viewing your house were to slip and fall so this helps to mitigate your risk. For more tips on things to consider when you are preparing your house for showings get in touch with us!

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