9 Best Practices for Quick and Efficient Snow Removal in DC

snow removal

Do you battle snow-covered driveways, icy roads, and obscured signage in winter? You’re not alone.

Montgomery County, MD, gets an average of 18 inches of snow every winter. That’s substantial, considering the US average is just 10 inches more.

It’s certainly enough to make snow removal a priority chore for most Montgomery homeowners, commercial property managers, and business owners. But getting rid of snow is a chore most of us hate to do.

What if we told you there were ways to make clearing snow faster, more efficient, and just, well, less of a chore? Read on to learn some best practices now, and be ready when the snow weather hits.

1. Don’t Skip the Prep Work

Well before you even need to start plowing snow, prepare your yard and outdoor areas for the incoming blizzard.

This means removing anything that might get in the way of your tools, like doormats, playground equipment, rocks, and fallen branches. Look carefully at your yard and move anything that could be a hazard.

Ensure your safety and warm weather gear (like goggles and gloves) are in an easy-to-find spot in your mudroom or garden shed.

Clean your tools and hang them in order of use.

2. Get a Snow Shovel

You can use a snow shovel if you don’t have too much outdoor space to clear. However, not all snow shovels are made equal. It’s essential to get the right one for your needs.

If possible, always choose a metal shovel over a plastic shovel. While plastic shovels are lighter, they’re also less durable.

Metal shovels are usually more expensive, but they last a long time and, in many cases, can be repaired if they break. Once a plastic shovel breaks, you have to buy a new one.

If you’re tall, choose a shovel with a longer handle. A handle that’s too short will put unnecessary on your back. If possible, test the shovels out in the shop before you buy them to check the handle length.

Round and flat shovels are used for different purposes. Flat shovels cut into deep snow, while round shovels are suitable for clearing paths. If possible, get one of each.

3. Use Your Tools Correctly

You’ll likely have other tools in your winter arsenal than just a shovel or two. You probably have a snowblower, too!

A snowblower is a powerful machine. Since it’s been a while since you last picked up your snowblower, read through the manual again before the snow hits the ground.

This will give you a refresher on safety and operation.

4. Try Cooking Spray

You’ll need to head to your kitchen for this tip! While you’re there, grab a can of cooking spray.

If you’re having difficulty with melting snow sticking to your shovel, spray it with cooking oil. Then, you’ll be able to push the blade through the snow with less effort.

When you’ve finished, wipe the shovel down well with a rag and store it as usual.

5. Keep Warm While You Work

You can get carried away while clearing out snow and stay out in the cold much longer than expected. You may get hot while working, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe from the dangers of freezing weather.

Create a snow removal uniform consisting of:

  • Sweat-wicking clothing
  • A fleece over-layer
  • A waterproof outer layer
  • Thick socks
  • Gloves
  • A warm hat
  • Waterproof boots

Make sure any extremities are covered to protect them from the cold.

6. Clear Snow From Around Your Pipes

One reason pipes get frozen is that snow accumulates around the perimeter of your house. The piled-up snow takes longer to melt and can lead to cracks and leaks that damage your foundations.

When shoveling snow, pay particular attention to the walls of your home. If there are garden beds or shrubbery right up against your walls, consider clearing the beds before the winter begins.

7. Use a Melt Agent or De-Icer

While rock salt is one of the most common deicing agents, it has detrimental effects on everything from your concrete pavers to your plants.

Instead, consider lower salt liquid sodium, environmentally-friendly sodium acetate, or low-cost calcium chloride.

8. Shovel While the Snow Is Falling

Most people wait until the snow has stopped falling to get out the snow blower or shovel. But the drifts are large by this time, and the snow is heavy.

If you have the time, try to clear the snow from your yard stages—if it’s falling lightly or there’s a break in the snowfall. This might mean getting out there two or three times instead of just once.

9. Know When to Get Professional Help

There are legitimate reasons for investing in professional snow removal.

Perhaps you struggle to use a shovel or snow blower by yourself. You may need to get out the door for work or school in the morning. It could be that your shovel or snow blower broke.

In these cases, calling your local residential or commercial snow removal and plowing service is a good idea.

You can count on these contractors to turn up at your property when snow reaches unmanageable levels. Then, when you leave the house, the snow is cleared for you!

Plus, they use high-grade equipment that does the job quickly, quietly, and without damaging your property.

Snow Removal Tips and Tricks to See You Through Winter

If you want to make the chore of snow removal more manageable, you need to get clever.

Prepare your tools in advance of winter and familiarise yourself with the manuals. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing so you stay warm. Check your pipes regularly and use only safe de-icers.

If you don’t have time or can’t clear all that snow yourself, get in touch with the pros.

Bam’s Landscaping has years of experience cleaning the driveway, pathways, and yards of home and business owners in lower Montgomery County, MD. We’ll be more than happy to schedule a visit with our efficient, cost-effective snow plow.