Let it Snow: How to Remove Snow and Ice From Your Home

Snow and ice can be brutal to a home and driveway. Don't let this winter take a beating on your home or your spirits. Use these tips for snow and ice removal!

Snow shoveling

Winter can be beautiful, but boy, it can also be brutal, especially to our homes. It’s not enough that we must make sure our heaters stay in tip-top shape during the freezing temperatures to stay comfortable. All the ice and piles of snow can really wreak havoc on the house — and our time sipping hot chocolate by the fire — too.

If you live in a winter wonderland, you may be wondering how to remove snow and ice efficiently and effectively. Here’s a list of some of the typical hazards that come with the elements, as well as helpful remedies and handy tools for getting the job done while keeping your home safe and in good condition throughout the season.

Areas of Ice

Potential Danger: Knowing how to remove ice from your walkways and driveway means avoiding slip-and-fall hazards that can end up sending you to the hospital.

Solution: For areas that have just begun to ice over, spread a deicer, such as rock salt, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride, over the surface. If necessary, chop through thicker ice and then scrape it away with an ice shovel or snow spear (avoid an ice pick, as it can damage your concrete surface). Then, add traction to the surface by dispersing sandbox sand or cat litter over the area.

Recommended Snow Tool(s): Ice shovel/snow spear, deicer, sandbox sand, cat litter

Snow on the Roof

Potential Danger: A snow buildup on your roof doesn’t just interfere with proper venting of your chimney flues; an excessive buildup can even cause your roof to collapse, endangering your family and requiring costly repairs.

Solution: Clear the snow from the roof with a roof or snow rake. With the right one, there’s no need to actually be on the roof to get the job done. Be aware, though, that snow will often slide, especially on steep, sloped roofs. Don’t stand directly below the area that you are cleaning because even a small section of a roof can drop several hundred pounds of snow.

Recommended Snow Tool(s): Roof rake

Related: Keep your home protected against snow - maintenance tips for doors, windows, chimney, etc. live on 12/5

Frozen Gutters/Ice Dams

Potential Danger: As the snow from your roof begins to melt, thanks to the heat rising from your attic, the water begins draining down to your gutters. The attic doesn’t heat your gutters, though, so the water ends up refreezing, causing an ice dam and icicles around your gutters. They may be pretty to look at, but they can end up breaking your gutters, loosening your roofing shingles and causing water to back up into your house — not to mention falling and injuring you.

Solution: First, pull off any excess snow from your roof with a roof rake. Then, fill a pair of nylon stockings with calcium chloride ice melt. Lay it on the roof so it crosses over the dam and hangs off the gutter. The calcium chloride will melt through the ice and create a place for water to flow down into the gutter.

If you already have a leak inside your house, place a box fan under it. The cold air from the fan will refreeze the water, causing the leak to stop.

Recommended Snow Tool(s): Roof rake, calcium chloride/nylon stockings, box fan (if you have a leak)

Blocked Access

Potential Danger: Who wants to be blocked from getting in or out of their house or driveway?

Solution: To stay ahead of the accumulation, you’ll want to redirect the snow with a snow pusher or telescoping shovel every few inches of falling snow. After all, it’s easier to shovel two inches of snow than five. Want to know how to remove snow both quickly and efficiently? Invest in a snow blower. You won’t regret it!

Recommended Snow Tool(s): Snow pusher, telescoping shovel, snow blower

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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