Snow Shoveling Tips

Nov 06 2019

Winter has arrived in Minnesota, and so has your favorite winter chore, shoveling snow! However, a tough job doesn’t have to be a bad one. We’ve assembled some of our favorite shovels, shoveling alternatives, and tips to stay safe this winter, no matter the job.

A snowy neighborhood street

3 Shovels We Recommend

When it comes to shovels, it’s probably time to retire whatever you currently have in your garage. If you want the job done right, you’ll need the best tools, and shovels are no exception. We’ve found a few of our favorite shovels to recommend, with different features like ergonomic handles and wheels. Here are three we highly recommend for the average snow shoveler:

1. Suncast SC3950 Double Grip Ergonomic Snow Shovel/Pusher Combo

This shovel features a double grip, allowing the user more control while shoveling. A higher lift while shoveling also protects the blade from unnecessary wear and tear from a variety of driveway materials. The ergonomic bent handle takes the strain off your back, and the graphite blade pairs for smooth shoveling.

2. Garant 24 in. Sleigh Shovel

If you’re looking to clear large amounts of snow quickly, a sleigh shovel is perfect for the job. This durable blade features a steel wear strip to last any driveway in the winter, and the wide handle allows you to push with both hands comfortably.

3. The Snowcaster 30SNC 36-Inch Bi-Directional Wheeled Snow Pusher

For lighter snow days, a wheeled snow pusher will make any driveway an easy task. While it’s not recommended for snowfall over 4”, we still chose this tool because of the wheels and ease of use. Save your back on those early or late season snow days, and wheel your driveway clean.

Man shoveling snow off his driveway

Shoveling Alternatives

Not everyone is up to the task of shoveling, or it’s simply too much snow for one person. Here are some easy alternatives we recommend to help you out this winter.

Snowblower

A snowblower is the best tool to make any job effortless this winter. Snowblowers are self propelled, much like your lawn mower. This means that once they’re started, they require very little pushing or pulling on your part. Any adult is fully capable of steering a snowblower and getting your driveway clear quickly! Modern snowblowers often feature push buttons, ergonomic handles, and separate gas and oil reservoirs for convenient maintenance.

Man using a snowblower on his driveway

Rock Salt or Ice Melt

Depending on what your needs are, you may want to use rock salt or ice melt. Rock salt is affordable, widely available, and forms grit particles that increases traction on your sidewalks and driveways.

While ice melt differs from rock salt chemically, it has many benefits that rock salt does not offer. Ice melt is pet friendly and more gentle on plant life, and still melts ice quickly. You will want to consider your pets and the health of your yard and existing plants when choosing between rock salt or ice melt.

Staying Safe This Winter

Maybe you’ve been shoveling snow for years, or maybe you’re a new homeowner! Either way, no one wants to take a fall or throw out their back on the driveway. Be sure to follow a few simple tips to keep your driveway, and your back, in good shape!

Stretch & Pace Yourself

Stretching isn’t just for your morning run anymore. Take a few minutes before you head out to make sure everything is loose and ready for a tough workout. You wouldn’t lift at the gym without stretching, so treat lifting snow the same way.

Pace yourself and make sure you have an ample amount of time to clear the snow. Halfway through, even head inside for a quick cup of coffee, you’ll thank yourself later! If you want the job done well, take your time.

Proper Technique

You’ve heard it a million times before, but we’ll stress it again: Lift with your legs. Leave your back alone, and let your arms and legs do the work. According to The American Journal of Emergency Medicine around 11,500 people are injured every year from shoveling snow.

When possible, push the snow instead of lifting it, and don’t throw it over your shoulder. If anything hurts or feels unusually sore, stop. Shoveling your driveway once and getting hurt isn’t worth being out of commission all winter. Want to help a neighbor? Ask around and see if there’s someone you could hire! Chances are, there’s someone young in your neighborhood that is up to the task and could use the spending money.

Look for Ice Dams

Do you notice large icicles on the roof of your home as you’re shoveling? That’s a good sign you have an ice dam. Just like you have to shovel the snow right, it’s important to have the right tools or call professionals to remove it from your home without damaging your roof. Contact us right away if you suspect an ice dam has formed on your roof. We want you to stay safe!

Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

Your driveway is taken care of, be sure to check the rest of your house to make sure it will last through another Minnesotan winter. Check out our blog on how to protect your home from winter storms for more tips, and be sure to contact us should any winter storm damage arise.

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