Snow removal is a necessary evil when it comes to owning a home, and the bigger your spread, the more snow you'll have to tackle. What most homeowners fail to realize is that there's strategy involved in sound snow removal, and by practicing sound technique you'll reduce your risk of injury, property damage and increase your snow clearing efficiency.
Shoveling: Snow Removal the Old Fashioned Way
Ask any doctor's office and they'll tell you that the number of patients complaining of back and muscle injuries drastically increases right after a big snow. This is primarily because people don't use good technique. Before you shovel, warm up, and stretch so you don't catch your muscles off guard once the work begins. And once you're out in the cold, be sure to push snow aside instead of lifting it whenever possible. Finally, if you do have to lift a shovel full of snow, face your load head on and be sure to lift with your legs instead of your back. By doing so you're chances of sustaining a painful injury drop substantially.
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For larger properties, or if you are unable to shovel because of physical restrictions, you probably want to consider a snow blower for your snow removal needs. Don't be fooled, however. Snow blowers still require a lot of physical effort to guide and maneuver, so you'll still want to warm up and take breaks when you're feeling winded. Finally, you should never feel you're wrestling with a snow blower. Let it do the work, don't rush it, and you'll find the job to be much easier.
If you've got a large driveway or just want a new toy for your truck, think about buying a plow, or hiring a plowing company to perform larger scale snow removal for you. A good snow plowing can do in a matter of minutes what would take a homeowner the better part of a day to do by hand, and an experienced snow plowing company can perform these services safely, efficiently and without causing damage to your drive or pavement (a common result when removal is trusted to an inexperienced plower). If you choose to invest in a plow yourself, be sure to read up on snow plowing strategies such as windrowing, backdragging, and proper angle placement, in order to get the most out of your new investment. And be prepared to be a favorite, and very busy, neighbor when the next big storm hits!