Winter Clean Up: Snow, Ice and Yard Care

Winter Clean Up: Snow, Ice and Yard Care
  • Opening Intro -

    Winter offers homeowners a rest from typical yard responsibilities including cutting the grass, trimming bushes, and raking leaves.

    But it also presents something that no other season has to offer: snow and ice.

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It is a pretty scene popularized by Currier and Ives Christmas cards in the 1800s. It is also a scene that may present a big problem for the homeowner if left untended. Here is what you need to know about winter clean up.

1. Bundle Up. First, wear the appropriate attire when heading outdoors in the frigid chill. Layer your clothes, were a hat, muffler and gloves, thick socks, and put on a pair of boots. Jeans with long johns can keep your legs warm; consider wearing waterproof pants if you have them.

Appropriate attire will keep you warm and help you avoid hypothermia and frostbite. Take note of two temperatures: the air temperature and the wind chill temperature. The air temperature may be a bearable 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but if winds are gusting at 25 mph, then the wind chill is 3 degrees. Wind chill temperatures below zero are not only harder to bear but are more likely to cause frostbite. Know the wind chill temperature before heading out; if it is too low then wait until the wind calms down.

2. As Soon As Possible. Even with frigid temperatures, you should not allow snow to sit in place for too long. The snow may have come down lightly, but its heavy weight will only increase as temperatures warm and the snow begins to melt. When it refreezes at night, you’ll be dealing with an even heavier load.

Snow will also pack down wherever you walk or drive over it. If you have a walkway along the street and it isn’t plowed, snow will quickly become tamped down if people begin to walk on it and/or the town’s snowplow throws an additional layer of snow and ice on it. Clear off walkways and the driveway as soon as you can.

3. Get Rid of Ice. Ice can be harder to dissolve and may reappear nightly as snow melt begins to refreeze. You may find yourself working on the driveway and walkways daily to keep them clean.

You can aid the process by scattering rock salt on exposed surfaces. Your town, however, may frown upon its use as the salt can mix with water and pollute streams. Rock salt can also damage concrete, so only use enough to do the job. Calcium chloride is another option as it does less damage and can continue melting ice well below the freezing mark. Sand and kitty litter can also be used, but neither melts ice, rather both provide traction. They’re also messy too.

4. Pace Yourself. There is no need to get the entire driveway and front walk done in one round. Move carefully and lift only enough snow that you can handle. Bend your knees to distribute weight. If you are feeling tired, then go inside and rest.

If the snowfall is particularly deep, consider where you will dump it. Deep piles can obstruct your view when backing out of the driveway. And piles too close to the walkway and driveway can melt, cover treated areas, and refreeze.

Hire Help

Lastly, if you cannot handle the snow and ice yourself, hire someone to do the job. Avoid the strains and possible heart attack that can happen when you do a job you’re just not prepared to handle.

See Also6 Home Preparation Tips for Winter Vacation

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".