If it hasn’t already found its way to your home, it no doubt will. Winter is here, and if you live in a part of the country where snow and ice are likely—an increasingly larger swath of the country these days—then you’ll be shoveling, salting, deicing, scraping and blowing or throwing snow on your property soon. Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for whatever winter sends your way.
Upgrade Your Snow Shovel
Buy a Good Windshield Scraper
Treat yourself to the sturdiest scraper you can find. Cheap ones break when you need them most. Opt for one that includes a handle that’s at least 2 feet long and that has a brush or squeegee on one end. If your vehicle is large, get one that extends to 3 feet.
Stock Up On Ice Melter
The best ice melters contain magnesium chloride or calcium chloride. They melt ice at temperatures near 0 degrees Fahrenheit and are generally less harmful to the environment. Rock salt is less expensive, but it melts ice more slowly, ceases to be effective below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and may damage concrete, lawns, and plantings. It may even be harmful to animals.
Invest in a Roof Rake
If you’re plagued with ice dams, consider a snow rake. Use the rake to remove snow buildup from the roof, so that melting snow can drain before ice dams have a chance to build up. Snow rakes are typically fitted with a 2-foot-wide blade that’s perpendicular to the handle. Better models have wheels that protect roof shingles as you push and pull the rake.
Consider a Snow Blower or Thrower
Snow throwers and blowers are an attractive option if you live where average annual snowfalls reach 3 feet or if you are physically impaired. Choose a snow thrower for small- and medium-size clearing, and a snow blower for larger areas. Both options are good for quickly removing large quantities of snow from driveways, sidewalks, and roadways.
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