Handyman: Plan ahead to clear snow and ice successfully

Article by America’s Master Handyman® – Glenn Haege

Prepare to remove ice and snow.

There is no guarantee what this coming winter will be like, but after last year, it would make sense to plan for the worst. That means some proper prior planning is in order to prepare you to remove and melt snow and ice from your walkways and driveway.

Obviously, the first thing you want to do is get your snow thrower tuned up and ready to go, since it got more use last winter than over the previous three or four winters combined. But even with a well-tuned snow thrower, you still need other things like shovels and ice melters to battle to the various levels of snow and ice we get during the winter.

The worst thing you can do for your health is to lift the snow, especially when it is wet and heavy, because that extra strain can cause back problems and increase your risk of a heart attack. That’s why today’s snow shovels are lighter and designed to make it easier to “push” the snow more efficiently.

Mick Hunt of Hunt’s Ace Hardware in Livonia (248) 474-8700, huntsacehardware.com, said that one newer type of pusher available this year is the Snowgrader from JM Enterprises, jmenterprises.com. This unique pusher comes with a 36-inch-wide blade and features two connected handles and wheels in the rear of the pusher blade to make it easier to use.

There are also many other types of the wider pusher shovels available, including ones from Garant, garant.com, and the SnowPusherLite from TRW Innovations, snowpusherlite.com.

Hunt also notes roof rakes have become a necessity after last winter.

“We are stocking a new model from Garant called the Yukon that has a telescoping handle that extends to 16 1/2 feet, making it easier to use,” Hunt said.

Even if you have a snow thrower or good shovel, you also need to stock up on ice melting products. In the old days, that usually meant buying a cheap bag of rock salt. But today, homeowners are using more advanced products for ice melting.

These higher-end products include ice melters made with potassium chloride, which can melt ice down to 12 degrees, and both sodium acetate and calcium magnesium acetate, which are effective down to 5 degrees. The most powerful ice melter is calcium chloride, which melts ice the fastest and is effective down to minus 25 degrees. But remember that many products on the market today keep their cost down by providing a “blend” of ingredients. Make sure you read the package, because some of these blends include rock salt.

Some popular brands of the more advanced ice melters include Ace, Dando, Ice Melt, Qik Joe and Safe Step. If you have pets, Safe Step’s Sure Paws, and Safe Pet Ice Melter from Milazzo Industries are popular pet-friendly brands.

And if you don’t want to use a roof rake to get rid of snow, you can use a product like Roof Melt from KMI, roofmelt.com, which is a hockey-puck sized calcium chloride tablet you can throw onto a roof to melt ice and snow.

Of course, the easiest way to remove snow is to hire the neighborhood teenager or a snow removal company to take care of it. But even if you have made that arrangement, you still need to be prepared to deal with snow before help arrives. So make sure you get to the hardware store to stock up now on the snow removal products you will need, because you probably won’t be able to find what you need after the first big snowstorm hits.

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, email askglenn@masterhandyman.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536, between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.

 

Reprinted from The Detroit News
Publication date: 12/25/2014
URL: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/life/home-garden/2014/12/25/battling-snow-ice/20864769/