How Do You Make Snow Easier To Shovel?

Snow removal can be a challenging and arduous task, especially when faced with heavy snowfall. However, there are some simple yet effective strategies that can make your shoveling experience much easier and more efficient. From using the right tools and techniques to practicing preventative measures, this article explores practical tips on how to make snow easier to shovel, ensuring that you breeze through this winter chore with a smile on your face.

How Do You Make Snow Easier To Shovel?

Get your own How Do You Make Snow Easier To Shovel? today.

Choosing the Right Shovel

Consider the Type of Shovel

When it comes to choosing the right shovel for snow removal, one of the first things you need to consider is the type of shovel. There are different types available, each designed for specific purposes. For example, a snow pusher shovel is ideal for moving large volumes of snow quickly, while a snow scoop shovel is better for lifting and throwing snow. A combination shovel, on the other hand, can be used for both pushing and lifting. Think about your specific needs and the size of the area you need to clear before deciding on the type of shovel that will work best for you.

Look for an Ergonomic Design

While the type of shovel is important, it’s also crucial to consider the ergonomic design of the shovel. An ergonomic shovel is designed to minimize strain on your body, making the task of shoveling snow easier and more comfortable. Look for a shovel with an adjustable handle length, as this will allow you to find the most comfortable position for your height. Additionally, choose a shovel with a curved or bent handle, as this can help reduce the strain on your back and wrists. Ergonomic shovels often have a cushioned grip as well, which can provide more comfort during use.

Check the Shovel’s Material

The material of the shovel can also have a significant impact on its effectiveness and durability. Shovels with a metal or aluminum blade are generally considered more durable and better suited for heavy-duty snow removal. However, keep in mind that metal blades can be heavier, which may make shoveling more tiring. If weight is a concern for you, consider a shovel with a plastic blade, as it will be lighter and easier to maneuver. Plastic blades are also less likely to scratch or damage surfaces like wooden decks or concrete. Consider the conditions you’ll be shoveling in and choose a shovel with the appropriate material for your needs.

Preparing Before Shoveling

Warm Up and Stretch

Before tackling the task of shoveling snow, it’s essential to warm up your body and stretch your muscles. Cold muscles are more prone to injury, so take a few minutes to do some light exercises to get your blood flowing. Simple activities such as jumping jacks, lunges, and arm circles can help warm up your muscles. In addition to warming up, don’t forget to stretch your major muscle groups, including your legs, arms, and back. Stretching will help improve your flexibility and reduce the risk of strains or pulls while shoveling.

Dress Properly

Proper attire is crucial when it comes to shoveling snow comfortably and safely. Start by wearing warm, insulated layers to protect yourself from the cold. Dress in breathable fabrics that wick away moisture to keep you dry. Don’t forget to wear a hat, gloves, and warm socks to protect your extremities from icy temperatures. It’s also essential to wear waterproof boots with good traction to avoid slipping on slippery surfaces. Consider investing in snow pants or gaiters to keep your legs dry, especially if you’ll be shoveling in deep snow.

Apply Non-Stick Spray

Applying a non-stick spray on your shovel’s blade can make your shoveling experience much easier. The spray creates a slick surface that prevents snow from sticking to the blade, making it easier to lift and throw. You can find non-stick sprays specifically designed for this purpose at many hardware or home improvement stores. Before each shoveling session, give your shovel’s blade a quick spray, ensuring an even coating. This simple step can save you time and effort by reducing the amount of snow that clings to the shovel.

See also  How Many Cc's Should A Snowblower Have?

Clearing the Path

Divide the Area into Sections

When faced with a large area to clear, it can be overwhelming to tackle it all at once. To make the task more manageable, divide the area into smaller sections. By focusing on one section at a time, you can pace yourself and avoid getting fatigued too quickly. Start with smaller sections, such as the entryway or pathway, before moving on to larger areas like driveways or sidewalks. Working in sections will also allow you to get a sense of progress, giving you a sense of accomplishment as you clear each area.

Remove Fresh Snow First

When shoveling, it’s best to start with fresh, powdery snow rather than compacted or icy snow. Fresh snow is lighter and easier to move, reducing the strain on your muscles. By removing the fresh snow first, you can also prevent it from getting packed down and turning into ice, which can be much more difficult to remove. If there is a significant amount of fresh snow, try to remove it in layers rather than attempting to lift large piles at once. This will help prevent unnecessary strain on your body.

Shovel in Small Increments

In order to avoid excessive strain on your body, it’s important to shovel in small increments. Instead of trying to lift large piles of snow at once, take smaller scoops and shovel in a controlled manner. By using lighter loads, you’ll be able to maintain proper form and reduce the risk of injury. Take your time and focus on maintaining a steady, rhythmic motion as you shovel. It may take a little longer, but it’s much safer and more effective to shovel in smaller increments.

Using Proper Technique

Maintain Good Posture

Maintaining good posture while shoveling is key to preventing back and muscle strain. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and avoid hunching or bending at the waist. Instead, bend at your knees and use your leg muscles to lift the snow. Keep your back straight and upright throughout the shoveling process. Engage your core muscles to provide stability and support to your back. By maintaining good posture, you’ll distribute the workload evenly across your body and reduce the risk of injury.

Lift with Your Legs

When lifting snow, it’s crucial to use your leg muscles rather than relying solely on your back. Squat down, keeping your back straight, and use the strength of your legs to push up and lift the snow. Your leg muscles are larger and stronger than your back muscles, so utilizing them will help distribute the workload and prevent strain on your back. Avoid twisting or jerking movements while lifting, as this can put unnecessary stress on your back and increase the risk of injury.

Avoid Twisting Your Body

One common mistake when shoveling snow is twisting the body while lifting or throwing snow. Twisting movements can strain your back and increase the risk of injury. Instead, pivot your feet and move your entire body, keeping it aligned with the direction you’re shoveling in. If you need to change direction, reposition your feet before lifting and throwing the snow. By avoiding twisting movements, you’ll protect your back and maintain proper alignment throughout the shoveling process.

Utilizing Salt or Deicer

Apply Salt Before Shoveling

Using salt or a deicer can help melt snow and ice, making the shoveling process easier. If you’re expecting icy conditions, apply a generous amount of salt or deicer over the area you plan to shovel before the snowfall. The salt will create a brine that prevents snow from sticking to the ground, making it easier to remove later. It’s important to note that salt can be harmful to plants, animals, and pavement surfaces, so use it sparingly and consider eco-friendly alternatives if necessary.

Use Deicer for Packed Ice

If you’re dealing with packed or stubborn ice, a deicer can be a useful tool. Deicers contain chemicals that quickly melt ice and create a slippery surface, making it easier to break up and remove. Follow the instructions on the deicer product carefully and apply it directly to the ice. Give it some time to work its magic before attempting to remove the ice. Remember to wear gloves and avoid contact with your skin to prevent irritation or burns.

See also  Is It Worth Buying A Single Stage Snow Blower?

Be Mindful of Environmental Impact

While salt and deicer can be effective in melting snow and ice, it’s important to be mindful of their environmental impact. Excessive use of salt can lead to water pollution and harm plants, animals, and bodies of water. Consider using alternative deicing products that are less harmful to the environment, such as sand or eco-friendly ice melts. Additionally, shovel and clear snow as soon as possible to minimize the need for deicers. Remember that we all play a part in taking care of the environment, even during winter snow removal.

Using the Right Shoveling Motion

Pushing Rather Than Lifting Snow

When possible, it’s beneficial to push snow rather than lift it. Pushing snow requires less effort and puts less strain on your back and muscles. Use a snow pusher shovel or a wide-bladed shovel to push the snow to the side, creating a clear path. If you encounter a pile of snow that needs to be lifted, try to break it up into smaller sections and push those sections to the side. By minimizing the amount of snow you lift, you’ll reduce the risk of injury and make the shoveling process more efficient.

Scoop Snow Close to Your Body

When you need to lift and throw snow, it’s important to scoop it close to your body. By bringing the snow closer to you, you’ll minimize strain on your arms and back. Keep your hands close to your body and use your leg muscles to lift the snow. Avoid overreaching or extending your arms too far, as this can put unnecessary stress on your shoulders and back. Scooping snow close to your body not only makes the task easier but also improves your stability and control.

Throw Snow Strategically

When it’s time to throw the snow, it’s essential to do so strategically. Aim for an open area where the snow won’t obstruct walkways or create hazards. Avoid throwing snow into the wind, as it can blow back at you or create additional work to remove. If possible, aim for an area where the snow will melt naturally, such as an area with direct sunlight. By throwing the snow strategically, you’ll save time and effort by minimizing the need to go back and clear areas that have been unintentionally covered with snow.

Removing Ice Buildup

Chip Away at Thick Ice

When faced with thick ice buildup, it’s important to tackle it carefully and methodically. Chipping away at the ice with a metal ice chipper or shovel can be effective, but it requires patience and precision. Start by breaking the ice into smaller pieces using the edge of the shovel or a separate ice chipper. Apply firm but controlled force, targeting weak spots or cracks in the ice. Be cautious not to exert excessive force or use sharp objects that can damage surfaces underneath the ice. Take it slowly and continue to chip away until the ice is removed.

Use Ice Melt or Hot Water

If chipping away at the ice is not practical or safe, using ice melt or hot water can help. Ice melt products are specifically formulated to melt ice and create a safe walking surface. Follow the instructions on the ice melt package carefully, as different products may have different application methods and waiting times. Another option is to pour hot water over the ice to melt it away. However, be cautious when using hot water, as it can create slippery surfaces once it cools down. Take the necessary precautions and consider wearing protective gloves to avoid burns.

Prevent Re-Icing with Sand or Kitty Litter

Once the ice is removed, it’s important to take steps to prevent re-icing. Sprinkling sand or kitty litter over the cleared area can provide traction and prevent the formation of slippery surfaces. Sand and kitty litter help create a rough surface that improves traction and reduces the risk of slipping. Additionally, they absorb moisture and prevent the area from becoming too slippery when it refreezes. Keep a bag of sand or kitty litter handy during the winter months to ensure you have a reliable solution to prevent re-icing.

Taking Breaks and Hydrating

Take Frequent Breaks

Shoveling snow is physically demanding work, so it’s crucial to listen to your body and take breaks as needed. Pushing through fatigue or overexertion can lead to injuries or health complications. Pace yourself and take frequent breaks to rest and recover. Pay attention to signs of fatigue, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, or muscle weakness. When you take breaks, use the opportunity to stretch and hydrate. Taking regular breaks not only reduces the risk of injury but also allows you to maintain your energy levels and work more efficiently.

See also  Is A Single Stage Snow Blower Worth It?

Hydrate Properly

Staying hydrated is just as important during winter shoveling as it is during physical activities in warmer months. Even though you may not feel as thirsty in cold weather, your body still needs water to function properly. Drink water before, during, and after shoveling to stay hydrated. Avoid excessive caffeine or sugary drinks, as they can cause dehydration. If you’re shoveling for an extended period of time, consider bringing a water bottle with you to ensure easy access to hydration. Remember, proper hydration helps keep your muscles working efficiently and reduces the risk of fatigue or muscle cramps.

Listen to Your Body

While it’s important to follow proper techniques and take breaks, ultimately, it’s crucial to listen to your body. Everyone’s physical abilities and limitations can vary, so pay attention to any pain, discomfort, or unusual sensations. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness, stop shoveling immediately and seek medical attention. Additionally, if you have any pre-existing health conditions or physical limitations, consult with your healthcare provider before engaging in strenuous snow removal activities. Your body’s well-being should always be a top priority.

Check out the How Do You Make Snow Easier To Shovel? here.

Considering Alternative Methods

Using a Snow Blower

If shoveling snow manually feels too physically demanding, using a snow blower can be a great alternative. Snow blowers are powerful machines that can quickly and effectively remove snow from large areas. They come in different sizes and configurations, so choose one that suits the size of your property and the amount of snow you typically receive. However, it’s important to note that snow blowers require regular maintenance and can be noisy. Additionally, they may not be suitable for areas with small or narrow spaces. Consider your needs and preferences before investing in a snow blower.

Hiring Professional Snow Removal

If shoveling snow becomes too challenging or you don’t have the time or physical ability to do it yourself, hiring professional snow removal services is a viable option. Professional snow removal companies have the equipment, experience, and expertise to efficiently clear snow from your property. They often offer different service options, including one-time visits or seasonal contracts. Research and compare different companies in your area to find one that fits your needs and budget. Hiring professionals not only saves you time and effort but also ensures the job is done safely and effectively.

Asking for Help

When faced with a large snow removal task, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Reach out to family members, friends, or neighbors who may be willing to lend a hand. Many hands make light work, and having support can make the snow removal process faster and more enjoyable. Whether it’s sharing the workload or working together as a team, asking for help can alleviate the physical and mental strain of snow removal. Plus, it can be a great opportunity to bond and build a sense of community.

Safety Precautions to Follow

Avoid Overexertion

One of the most important safety precautions to follow during snow shoveling is to avoid overexertion. Shoveling snow is physically demanding, and pushing your body beyond its limits can lead to injuries or health complications. Pace yourself and take breaks as needed. Listen to your body and stop immediately if you experience any chest pain, shortness of breath, or other concerning symptoms. It’s better to take breaks and complete the task gradually than to risk your well-being. Remember, safety should always be a priority.

Be Cautious of Slippery Surfaces

Winter snow and ice can create slippery surfaces that increase the risk of falls and injuries. When shoveling, be cautious of these surfaces and take steps to ensure your safety. Wear boots with good traction to minimize the risk of slipping. Slow down and take shorter steps when walking on icy or uneven surfaces. If possible, spread sand, kitty litter, or ice melt on these surfaces to improve traction. Clear the area of obstacles or debris that can cause trip hazards. By staying aware of your surroundings and being cautious, you can reduce the risk of accidents while shoveling.

Protect Yourself from Cold

Snow removal often takes place in cold and icy conditions, so it’s essential to protect yourself from the cold. Dress in warm, layered clothing to maintain your body heat. Wear a hat, gloves, and warm socks to protect your extremities from frostbite. Consider wearing a face mask or scarf to cover your nose and mouth, especially if the wind is strong or the temperature is extremely low. Stay aware of signs of hypothermia, such as shivering, confusion, or dizziness. Take breaks in a warm environment if needed. By taking the necessary precautions, you can safely brave the cold while shoveling snow.

Shoveling snow can be a challenging task, but with the right techniques, tools, and precautions in place, it doesn’t have to be a strenuous or dangerous endeavor. By choosing the right shovel, preparing properly, using the correct technique, and considering alternative methods, you can make snow removal easier, more efficient, and safer. Remember to prioritize your safety and well-being by listening to your body, taking breaks, and staying hydrated. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the snow and enjoy a clear and safe pathway. Stay warm, stay safe, and happy shoveling!

Click to view the How Do You Make Snow Easier To Shovel?.