Tips for Snow and Ice Removal

Snow and Ice Removal

Winter is slip, trip, and fall season in Pennsylvania—with snow and ice regularly blanketing driveways and sidewalks throughout the Keystone State.

During these cold-weather months, it's important to remember that homeowners (and renters, depending on their lease) are legally responsible for ensuring their property is clear from snow and ice dangers.

To help make the process as simple (and painless) as possible, here's everything you need to know to combat the woes of winter walkways:

Don't Exert Yourself

Shoveling snow and chipping away at ice requires strength and stamina—so make sure you plan accordingly. Before you even think about grabbing a shovel:

  • Do some simple stretches. Loosen up those muscles. The only thing worse than shoveling snow is pulling a muscle while doing so.
  • Use the proper form. Remember: Lift with your knees, not your back.
  • Take breaks. Even though it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't overheat. Your best bet is to wear layers.
  • Stay hydrated.

Have a Plan Before You Begin

Shoveling snow, like most tasks in life, will go more smoothly if you have a plan and stick to it. Don't do more work than you have to—before shoveling, map out a path to clear.

If your driveway is rectangular:

  • First, shovel a line around the outside of the driveway.
  • Then, start in the center, pushing the snow toward the perimeter and lifting it once you've hit the clearing.
  • Remember to also have a plan for where you'll place the shoveled snow—there's nothing worse than having to shovel one pile to create another that needs to be cleared.

Shovels Matter—Choose the Right One

When it comes to shovels, consider this:

  • Some are meant to push snow. These types of shovels often have C-shaped blades and are ideal for clearing fluffy, light snow from sidewalks and driveways.
  • Others are meant to shovel snow. These shovels—that can be either plastic or aluminum—will have a flatter blade that's coated with a non-stick finish.
  • Regardless of the shovel, don't overdo it. Don't be tempted to overload shovels when lifting and moving snow—your back and shoulders will thank you later.

Don't Delay

There are two types of people: Those who shovel snow as it comes, and those who wait until it's done falling before they even begin. We hope you are among the first group—because waiting to start shoveling only makes your job more difficult.

If you're able to clear lighter batches of snow several times over the course of a snow storm rather than all at once, you'll be saving yourself some heavy lifting. Literally.

Still not convinced? Then consider this: In many municipalities, snow must be cleared from public walkways within certain timeframes, or property owners could be fined. In the City of Pittsburgh, for example, you have 24 hours to clear your sidewalks and driveways following a snow storm.

Some Advice on Snow Blowers

Snow blowers are ideal for clearing large areas with minimal effort. Here are some rules of thumb if you own one:

  • Make sure that there's at least an inch and a half of accumulation first. Otherwise, it might not be an effective way to move the snow.
  • Before starting your snow blower, spray the chute with silicone to keep snow from sticking or jamming the opening.
  • When you're finished snow blowing, let your machine run for an extra minute or two to dry out.
  • Always be careful when using a snow blower and never attempt to clear a clogged chute while it's still running.

A Word about De-Icers

There are two important things to remember when considering the use of a de-icer:

  1. It's not a substitute for shoveling.
  2. There are many types of de-icers. Make sure you read the product labels and select one appropriate for how you intend to use it—it can make all the difference in preventing a slip, trip, and fall accident.

Preventing Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents

The best way to prevent slips, trips, and falls on your property is to be proactive with snow and ice removal. We hope you stay safe this winter, but – as always – if you're ever injured in a slip, trip, and fall accident on someone else’s property, call us for a free case review. We're available 24/7, there's never an obligation to use our services, and there's never a fee unless we get money for you.